Coach. Coaching. Coaching Approach. What am I being asked to do?

As a new staff trainer, you have been entrusted to develop a new staff member. This will require that you fulfill the role of Coach as it is described in the Leadership Framework. You must 1) prepare and equip the new staff member to pursue the mission, 2) ensure the new staff member is developing in confidence, competence, and the capacity they need for their role, and 3) create an environment for their growth.

There are a variety of tools you can use to accomplish this task. Sometimes, it may be difficult to know what is most appropriate. Do you use a coaching approach, or do you simply tell them what needs to happen? Telling someone what needs to happen seems expedient, but we may pass up an opportunity to instill confidence, impart ownership, and see the staff member move forward in their development. On the other hand, using a coaching approach when someone sincerely needs to be instructed can be frustrating and demoralizing to the new staff member.

So, how can you decide what to do?
A few basic guidelines may prove helpful.
I do not use a coaching approach if:

  1. The new staff definitely does not know what to do.
  2. They do not have the information they need.
  3. It is a crisis situation, and clear, direct instruction is needed.

Using a coaching approach may be appropriate if:

  1. The individual is ready to move to the next level of development.
  2. Specific goals or tasks need to be completed.
  3. The individual has had some prior experience, and you believe they have the information needed to make a good decision.

Developing others is more of an art than a science. As you gain experience, you will begin to discern what is best for a given situation more easily. In the meantime, refer to the guidelines above to help you and use a coaching approach as often as you can.

What questions do you have about the coach role or using a coaching approach?
What ideas or tips about coaching can you offer to others?

Feel free to write Karen Zando with any questions you have about coaching!

Image used by Shutterstock license.

Karen Zando

Karen has served many years in Cru, both with Athletes in Action and Leadership Development and HR (LDHR). She specializes in coaching current and emerging leaders and facilitating (Keith Webb) Coaching trainings. She also enjoys emceeing and facilitating group discussions.

6 thoughts on “Coach. Coaching. Coaching Approach. What am I being asked to do?”

  1. So true Steve. Sometimes we are not certain which tool is best until we get into the conversation. We need to learn to be flexible and adjust our approach as needed.

  2. Great thoughts, Karen. Thanks for sharing. We need to continue to ask God for discernment not only in what to say, but which approach to use.

    1. I so agree Jan. Our approaches need to be led by the Spirit. As we walk in the Spirit and seek His wisdom He will give it.

  3. Thanks Karen – this is really helpful. I was trying to use a coach approach with my son this week with a homework assignment and his response was \”I don\’t know! That\’s why I\’m asking you!! will you just tell me what I need to do!\”. It struck me that using coaching inappropriately can be really frustrating, whereas used well it really accelerates learning.

  4. Great post Karen and Terry. The emphasis we have had on coaching and asking questions is very necessary because we all like to teach and tell. It is much easier at times to tell someone what to do instead of leading them through a coaching process. It can be confusing for both the trainer and New Staff if asking questions and coaching is all they do. Coaching is really an important tool in our training box, but certainly not the only tool we should use. Thanks for your post.

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