November 2020
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November TD Quick Tips
TD Magazine

5 Steps to Improve Coaching Responses

Monday, November 2, 2020

Coaching is not about giving advice but responding with questions that help people find their own solutions. The next time someone asks you for advice, respond as a coach.

1. Pause before responding.


Practice stopping for a moment after a request for advice, and then consider whether you should coach the person to find their own solution or give them your answer.

2. Probe for perspective.

Ask the person what their view is on the issue.

3. Place importance on emotions.

People with problems are not machines, hence the importance of recognizing emotions. Try asking: How do you feel about this problem?


4. Promote ownership and accountability.

Encourage the person to own their part of the problem; ask: What's in your control to influence the outcome here?

5. Propel the coachee toward action.

Finish your conversation with a tangible, concrete action—for example, ask: What's one small and safe step you can take to move forward toward solving this issue?

About the Author

Niall McShane has been a coach for decades: He’s worked with elite athletes up the Olympic level; as a professional leadership coach and change management consultant working across numerous industries, and most recently in agile coaching across company-level initiatives for large corporations all the way down to small companies. He is the author of Responsive Agile Coaching: How to Accelerate Your Coaching Outcomes with Meaningful Conversations. It is for anyone looking to change the way they work; managers, leaders, change agents as well as agile coaches needing insights and inspiration.

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