HCI Blog

Five key points to excellent coaching

Nowadays, coaching has become a fundamental centerpiece to the development of leaders within companies. Even so that many companies include in the job description of its new leaders “the ability to coach and develop others”. Unfortunately, many of today’s managers and leaders don’t live up to this.

The 2010 Executive Coaching Survey has shown that 63% of organizations use some form of internal coaching, and half of the rest plan to. But even still, coaching is a small fraction of the job requirement for most managers; half of the interviewed managers spend 10% of their time coaching others.

The central purpose of coaching is to assist individuals on how to retain focus and improve the activities they perform. The growth that coaching stimulates is done by provoking thought rather than giving directions and on holding a person accountable for his or her goals.

In other words, the purpose is to increase effectiveness, broaden thinking, identify strengths and development needs and set and achieve challenging goals.

Here are the five main skills that managers should be able to coach others on:

1)     Constructing a relationship

Simply put, your coach needs to be somebody you trust. Once there is a true link of trust established, learning and coaching will be a smoother process.


2)    Adequate assessment tools

Coaching is no good if you don’t have the right tools to measure the yielded results. This is part of the process of self-awareness that comes from the changes that occur due to coaching. This type of feedback should show all aspects of change (or lack of it).


3)    In depth questioning

This process can be summarized as “the art of thinking about thinking”. In other words, a coach should make the coachee ask himself the correct questions through the usage of open ended questions.


4)    Full support

A coach must always allow for employees and coachees to vent their emotions without judging them. Also, they should encourage them to reach their goal through the recognition of progress which has been made and recognize their success.


5)    Establishing goals

This step is central to coaching. The establishment of reachable and realistic goals is the central pillar of coaching. Reaching each of the set milestones will make the coachee and the coach truly visualize how far they have come since the beginning. Milestones should be set in order to keep tabs on how things progress through time.

You should seed your organization with coaching role models. The key is to create a pool of manager-coaches who can be role models, supporters and sustainers of a coaching mindset.

Always link the purpose and results of coaching to the business. Managers have to know the business case for coaching and developing others if they’re to value it and use it effectively. Where is the business headed? What leadership skills are needed to get us there? How should coaches work with direct reports to provide the feedback, information and experiences they need to build those needed skills? Set strategic coaching goals, tactics and measures for the organization as well as including coaching as an individual metric.

Finally, give it time. It’s not surprising that managers feel they don’t have enough time for coaching. Even if you make learning and coaching explicit priorities, time is tight for everyone. But as your coaching processes and goals become more consistent and more highly valued, in-house coaching will take root.