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10 Steps to Successful Coaching

Before you can coach others, you have to spend some time thinking about what coaching means to you, what your coaching goals are, and what characteristics you need to embody to achieve those goals.

Step 2: Remove personal obstacles

Aside from the practical considerations of being a coach to your employees addressed in Step 1, there is some deeper preparation that it would benefit you to undertake. Being a coach demands focus and mental energy. If you really want to coach, you have to be willing to look inward. You have to know yourself, what you're capable of, and what you want to avoid. You have to be able to be present with whatever your coachee brings your way. You may need to unload some emotional baggage - including a lack of confidence in your ability to coach - before you can be effective. Only after you've considered these issues yourself will you be able to address them with your coachees.

Step 3: Create your coaching relationship(s)

It's one thing to ready yourself for coaching; it's another thing completely to articulate what you want to do for others and to find the right people to coach. When you put yourself out there as a coach, you are displaying vulnerability, strength, and marketing savvy all at once. This is also the step during which you'll discuss how you and your coachee will work together - a very important foundation for the coaching process.

Step 4: Find out about your coachee

A coaching relationship can be a powerful engine for growth and change, but only if there is a deep sense of trust between coach and coachee and if the coachee truly feels known by the coach. Creating this in-depth relationship is the foundation of coaching and will set you and your coachee on the path to success. You'll use this knowledge of your coachee and how he works over and over again in the later steps.

Step 5: Agree on what you want to accomplish

Even some of the most eager coachees sometimes enter a coaching relationship unsure about their focus issues and goals. They may be unaware of some of the areas in which they need coaching, although their bosses, colleagues, or friends can see them clearly. Coaching goals need to focus not only on what coachees want to accomplish, but also on who they want to become as they accomplish these things. As such, agreeing on what the two of you want to accomplish through your work together is more than just standard goal setting. To ensure that coaching actually is closing the gap between where the coachee is and where he wants to be, accountability that comes from establishing these expectations has to be built into the relationship.

Step 6: Use the power of possibility

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Coaching comes from an expansive rather than a limiting place. Coaches need to help their coachees think more broadly about themselves and what they're capable of accomplishing. Responding to powerful questions posed by their coaches, coachees come to recognize their own greatness and the possibilities that are available to them.

Step 7: Partner to enhance growth between sessions

A goal of coaching is to help your coachee become self-sufficient. You can jump-start this process with assignments for coachees to complete between coaching sessions. Assignments serve to help the coachee notice what is happening for her, try out new approaches, or take action toward achieving specific goals. The way these assignments are created and given is quite different from the way you remember getting homework!

Step 8: Realign when things go bad

Coaching relationships can unleash more emotion than your standard manager - employee conversation; so, by their very nature, they have the potential to hit potholes. This step will help you recognize the signs that coaching is derailed and then help you learn how to realign the relationship and troubleshoot a variety of problems that can crop up in the coaching process.

Step 9: Maintain positive changes

The beginning of a coaching relationship can be exciting and invigorating for both parties. There comes a point, however, when the initial energy is wearing off; when the coachee, who's made significant changes early on in the process, starts to revert to the way he used to be or used to do things. Knowing how to coach at this step helps keep your time together from growing stale and helps your coachee continue to move forward.

Step 10: Complete the coaching cycle

Many coaching relationships continue long after they've ceased being beneficial. Knowing when and how to end a coaching relationship ensures that the progress you and your coachee have made together is integrated into how the coachee lives and works going forward. Likewise, from each coaching relationship you complete you learn much that will help you continue to be engaged and excited about yourself and your coaching. Bringing an appropriate end to the coaching relationship will help both parties confirm achievements made and lessons learned.

After reading and working through these 10 steps once, review them periodically. They'll inspire you with new questions to ask and new tools to use in your coaching.

About the Author
As founder of Full Experience Coaching, Sophie Oberstein currently coaches individuals across the country. Her background includes consulting for numerous Fortune 500 companies, a master's degree in human resources management, postgraduate certification in training and development, college-level teaching, and certifications by the Coaches Training Institute and International Coach Federation.
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