In real life, most coaching happens in some sort of meeting, whether formal or informal, long or short. One of the most important keys to any meeting is to have a plan. This coaching model is that planning tool for coaching.
Consider this model a roadmap for your success in coaching others. It can be used in a micro way to help you determine what you need to do right now in a conversation, and it can be used in a macro way as a roadmap for helping an individual improve (or overcome a performance issue) over a period of days, weeks or months.
This model is circular to show that while there are steps, coaching and learning are more fluid than that. In a given moment you may recognize you need to move to a different place in the model. That is OK. It was built it in a circular way to remind you of and reinforce that fact.
The six steps sit on top of a bed of support. The steps, individually and collectively, work better when done in supportive and caring ways. Whether you use this exact model or not, this concept of using supportive behaviors is critically important to your success in coaching.
Executing these steps successfully requires your communication skills — including thinking about the style and approach of the other person, your listening skills and more. To coach successfully requires understanding why people choose to change and how to help them do so.
Take what you already know and apply what you are learning to this model as you continue to master the craft of coaching:
Step 1: Identify expectations. In order to coach someone successfully, you must be clear on where you are coaching him or her to. What are your expectations for this person’s performance and/or behavior? What are your short-term and long-term expectations for him or her? You need answers to these questions, but you need more than this — you also need to understand this individual’s expectations.
Step 2: Define impact. Remember that people do things for their reasons, not yours (and not the organizational reasons either). The key is to help them develop personal benefits for moving to the new level of performance.
Step 3: Plan for success. Now you have clear expectations and a reason to move toward them. The next logical step is to build a plan to get there. The best plan will be one that is co-created with the people being coached, because it is harder for them to resist or defer a plan they helped create.
Step 4: Gain commitment. Once a plan is in place, you want to gain their commitment to follow it to its intended results. The only way to gain commitment is to ask for it. If you don’t get it, or if you sense there is hesitancy or resistance, stop, slow down and explore the resistance. Your goal is for them to state their commitment to you.
Step 5: Follow up. Once a plan is in place and there is commitment to implementing it, it is your responsibility to check in, to see how things are going, and to offer assistance and feedback as necessary. This is your chance to provide encouragement and reinforcement.
Step 6: Don’t give up. Your people are worth your best efforts. You need their performance, and when you know they are capable of it, you will stick with them. People may start to lose momentum or hope. Their attention or focus might get diverted, but by following the process you should minimize this likelihood.