Tip #480: One-on-One Coaching Tips

“The most successful coaches on any level teach the fundamentals.” John McKay

A company with a number of franchises recently assessed the franchise managers to determine their competencies in various business management areas. On the basis of that assessment, one-on-one coaching sessions were scheduled in order to augment the individual managers’ knowledge by helping them to either develop or strengthen specific business management skills.

I drafted the following one-on-one coaching tips for the subject matter experts who will be conducting the coaching sessions.

In General:

1.  Approach each coaching session with respect for the manager’s knowledge and expertise.

2.  The coaching session should essentially be a dialogue between you and the manager. You want to create a constructive collaborative rapport.

3.  Make sure to have two copies of the training materials, one for you and one for the manager.

4.  Set the manager up for successful learning. The session needs to be tailored to the manager’s specific needs, interests and learning style. The learning activities have been structured to be interactive and enjoyable, and to appeal to all learning styles.

5.  Use the coaching time as effectively and efficiently as possible.

6.  Take careful notes during and after a session. If you are coaching a busy manager, there may be long intervals between coaching sessions. These notes will help you remember what went on during the session and make it easier for you to write your report.

In Specific:

1.     Create a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere.

2.   Introduce yourself in a way that will establish trust and respect.

3.   Explain the purpose of the session.

4.   Give the manager a copy of the training materials that will be used during the session.

5.    Go over how the materials are laid out.

6.    Make it clear that you will be reporting the manager’s progress to the umbrella organization, but that what is said during the session will be kept confidential.

7.     Ask if the manager has any questions.

8.    Outline the agenda and expected timeframe.

9.   Explain that the coaching format is cooperative.

10.   Begin by asking the manager to tell you:

a.   what the manager already knows about the topic

b.   why the manager thinks the topic will/is supposed to be of value

c.   what current challenges the manager faces that relate to the topic

d.   how the manager learns best (reading, listening, trying things out)?

11.    Whenever possible, ask a question instead of stating something. In this way, you can validate what the manager already knows or can discover for him or herself.

12.       When it is necessary to “teach” new content, make sure to stop every few minutes to ask a content-related question to check comprehension or to see if the manager has a question.

13.     Work through any “hands on” activity so that the manager becomes more confident in his or her competence to perform the activity independently after the session. There are worksheets on which the manager can work out problem questions and take notes.

14.    Do not be too hasty to fill in silence or provide the correct answer. Give the manager a specific amount of time to complete an activity. If the manager appears “stuck” and needs assistance, see it as a coaching opportunity. Instead of providing answers, ask questions that will help the manager “discover” the answers whenever possible.

15.   Approximately halfway through the session, check how the manager is feeling about the session content and the process. Is the pace all right? Does the information make sense? Are the activities useful? Is there anything you can do to make the session more comfortable, more meaningful, more tailored to the manager’s needs?

16.   At the close of the session, summarize what the manager has accomplished. Also identify any additional coaching needs that were discovered during the course of the session.

17.  Hold the manager accountable by asking the manager to indicate how he or she plans to use what has been learned.

18.  Ask the manager to indicate what went well during the session and what the manager would like to see done differently during any future sessions.

19. Thank the manager for working with you during the session and make follow up plans or schedule future coaching sessions as needed.

20.  After the session, prepare a written report for the manager and for the umbrella organization regarding the content, approach, and relative success of the coaching session. The report should include observations of the manager’s skill level, what additional coaching or training you think is necessary and appropriate, and how and when you suggest that those needs should be met.

Now it’s your turn. What tips do you give your coaches?

May your learning be sweet.


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