There are many definitions and uses for ‘Coaching’ and as Whitmore (2011) eloquently outlines; “Coaching is not merely a technique to be wheeled out and rigidly applied in certain prescribed circumstances. It is a way of thinking, a way of being. ” (WHITMORE J. 2011. Coaching for Performance) What are the skills and qualities of a Coach and how are these defined considering behaviours as well as technique? The Association for Coaching sets out the core capabilities of a Coach under the headings of; • Knowledge • skills • behaviours http://www. ssociationforcoaching. com/memb/ACCorrCo. doc (Appendix A). Capabilities such as rapport are established by respecting an individuals values and beliefs, matching/mirroring body and language patterns. O’Conner & Lages (2004) explores the matching of thinking to enhance rapport through visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory and gustatory language patterns. These can be another tool in help to establish learning preferences of a client, removing barriers to learning, building trust and forming the basis for the Coaching relationship.
Its important to outline boundaries and codes of conduct for both parties, forming the ground rules and a Coaching Contract is considered to be good practice setting out expectations, timescales, preparation and commitment. They can also outline an organisations involvement in the relationship if there’s been financial investment in the procument of coaching support. An example of this can be found at; http://www. associationforcoaching. com/pub/SampleContract. pdf Ethical boundaries need to be considered as the relationship is built on trust, confidentiality and openness between Coach and Client.
Professional bodies such as the International Coaching Federation (ICF) set out standards of conduct for members, e. g. around conflict of interest, professional conduct and confidentiality. http://www. coachfederation. org. uk/ An effective coaching environment involves both parties putting aside the ‘noise’ of the working day, with the Coach focusing fully on the client and the client coming prepared to partipate. A Coach must be careful not to impose their emotional state/responses and judgements on their explorations, projecting a calm and positive state;
Passmore and Marianetti (2007) suggest the following: • Preparation: Ensure you arrive at the coaching location 5 or 10 minutes early, manage your diary to account for your preparation time. Use this time to perform a relaxation technique which you find works for you. Review your notes or action plans from the previous session. • Maintain focus: Concentrate on the task you are doing. Remain consciously aware of your thoughts and continually bring back your focus on the discussion at hand if you feel your mind start to wander.
For coaching to become part of the organisational culture Clutterbuck (2005) recommends the following steps; • Ensure managers have, at a minimum, the basic skills of coaching. • Equip all employees with the information and skills to be effectively coached. • Equip senior managers and HR staff with advanced coaching skills. • Provide opportunities to review good coaching practice. • Set up rewards and recognition processes for managers who demonstrate commitment to coaching. • Provide feedback on coaching and establish how to measure the effects (e. g. mployee attitude surveys). • Identify and overcome barriers within the organisation which are preventing effective coaching. • Ensure top level staff provide positive, strong role models committed to coaching. The Coach can assist the client in clarifying their goals and options through the use of models such as GROW - Goal, Reality, Options, Ways forward/Will. This utilises the clients own resources to achieve goals with options defined through effective questioning. The GROW model also allows for effective and challenging feedback in a non-confrontational way as the lient audits their own plans through facilitation. Coaching can target the individual needs of a learner in an educational context, e. g ; leadership/managerial skills – the delivery of the leadership courses would allow for a broadbased knowledge delivery but if there was disparity in a learner’s baseline then coaching can provide an intervention for specific development areas. This would also provide inclusive learning encompassing a confidential, supportive and encouraging mechanism to promote performance improvement.
Its considered good practice to review progress as well as gain feedback on the effectiveness of the coaching intervention; • At the start to clarify progress and review goals from the previous session. • Reviews via phone or email contact at agreed points between sessions. • At the end of a session to consolidate new goals and timescales set, the aim of which is to end the session with a positive motivational frame of mind. • The client is expected to reflect and reveiew their own progress and feedback to the Coach, e. g. developmental plans set, reasons for slippage in goals.
Word count - 754 Bibliography; WHITMORE J. 2011. Coaching for Performance - GROWing human potential and purpose. Nicolas Brealey Publishing. http://www. associationforcoaching. com/memb/ACCorrCo. doc http://www. coachfederation. org. uk http://www. coachfederation. org/ethics/ http://www. associationforcoaching. com/pub/SampleContract. pdf O’CONNER J. LAGES A. 2004. Coaching with NLP. Harpers Collins Publishers PASSMORE, J. & MARIANETTI, O. 2007. The role of mindfulness in coaching. MEGGINSON D. CLUTTERBUCK D. 2005. Tecniques for Coaching and Mentoring. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinmanne Publications