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

By Karen Zando

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 in 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, to use 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 more easily discern what is best for a given situation. 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.


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