Follow these coaching steps with coaching conversation questions to help employees reach their maximum potential
Coaching conversations have the power to encourage employees to deliver extraordinary results. Even if a manager has no experience with coaching, there’s a simple process to have a coaching conversation that anyone can follow in any coaching scenario.
Once an opportunity for coaching is identified, managers using the five steps of the Coaching Conversation Model® from The Coaching Clinic® have an opportunity to help their employee determine the next steps to take. Here is a basic outline of the steps:
Step One: Establish focus
The first step of any coaching conversation is to establish the focus for that conversation. This sets the stage for coaching conversations so there is a clear outcome identified, whether the conversations is two minutes or two hours.
Questions to ask: What would you like to get out of this conversation? What’s the real issue we are trying to discuss?
Step Two: Discover possibilities
Once you’ve established the focus of your conversation, it’s time to use good discovery questioning, or powerful open-ended questions, to elicit ideas. This is the brainstorming stage of the conversation, working toward determining all the options that are available to achieve an outcome to the conversation. Spending some time in this step allows a lot of solutions and ideas to surface—exactly what is needed to generate the best ideas to reach goal.
Questions to ask: What are your ideas on how best to reach that goal? What else?
Step Three: Plan action
Every coaching conversation needs to have an action attached to it. Without a planned action, coaching conversations are simply conversations. The manager-coach’s role is to encourage the employee to determine what he or she thinks is the best next step of the most impactful solution identified in step two.
Questions to ask: Of all those potential solutions you’ve identified, which is the one that will take you to your goal? What is the first step you can take to achieve that action?
Step Four: Remove barriers
This is a step that is sometimes forgotten, but is critical to establish forward movement and accountability. It’s critical for the manager-coach to encourage the employee to anticipate problems AND to identify solutions should those barriers come up.
Questions to ask: What might stop you from accomplishing this? How will you adapt and respond?
Step Five: Recap
After following the other steps, the manager-coach asks the employee to recap the decisions and plan of action. This allows both participants to double check their understanding and assumptions about what happens next and when they will meet again AND establishes accountability by ensuring that the coachee has ownership for the actions and follow-up.
Say: Thanks for this conversation today. Go ahead and recap our conversation and your actions; I am here to support you and look forward to seeing you achieve your goals.
If you follow these simple steps, having coaching conversations with employees is a replicable, effective process, instead of something that feels like an insurmountable challenge. The benefits for the manager-coach and employee both are worth the extra time and effort to discuss options and solutions instead of giving answers to questions the employee often already has the answer to.