8 key practices for managers to coach their teams


1. Clean up your act

This is about understanding your intent before you start a coaching session, and “cleaning it up”. Clean up your act means letting go of assumptions or beliefs you have about yourself, your relationship with the client or the goal of the session.

2. Listen to Understand

Myles Downey - Coaching Done Right

Myles Downey – Coaching Done Right

People listen in a myriad of ways. They sometimes listen out of interest, sometimes for what they want to hear, other times for points they can refute. While coaching, they might be listening for a solution or a way forward, which may distract them from listening and becoming an interference for the client.

3. Follow Interest

Who gets to decide what the client talks and thinks about, where the client should put their attention? If it is the client making the decision, then the effect over time is to develop urgency and self-efficacy in the client. It’s called following interest, the player’s interest.    

4. Use Your Intuition

When the coach accepts it is for the client to make their own choices and decision a tremendous burden is lifted. The coach can relax and give their full attention to the client.

5. Ask Real Questions

A real question is not an observation, opinion or suggestion dressed up as a question. You’ll know a real question when you ask it – because it’s almost certainly a question to which you don’t know the answer. If you do know the answer then doesn’t ask a question, instead speak directly, intentionally.

6. Remove Interference

We all have great potential, but we get in our own way through doubts, fears, anxiety and indecision. It’s called interference. Interference acts on our potential, diminishing it like a closed tap reduces the flow of water, resulting in sub-optimal performance.

7. Stay on Course

It is part of the Coaches role to keep the conversation on course, and the client gets value from it. This is a key practise because listening and flowing interest can result in a conversation that meanders, and the client can get distracted from their goals.

8. Conclude

End the coaching session conclusively and transparently. Clearly, you need to agree on the next steps and time frames but go beyond that. The relationship exists so each party can perform more effectively. In checking that the coaching session has been useful, honestly and transparently, you strengthen the relationship.

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