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Effective Feedback In Coaching

To identify the coaching needs for my team, I needed to consider what the benefits were. I looked at the concerns that one of the team had highlighted when they were informed of their new roles and responsibilities following our organisational review and ascertained that coaching would be beneficial as it is a useful way of developing a person’s skills and abilities by unlocking their potential to maximise their performance. When discussing with the team how we were going to task these new responsibilities, this individual acknowledged that they were unable or did not have confidence or knowledge to undertake these new tasks.

I wanted to encourage the individual to discover the answers as the solutions lay with them as the tasks were not in themselves new or complex. I therefore discussed with them the benefits of coaching as the definition of coaching is to ‘help others to improve and develop their skills and abilities’ . It was beneficial with this member of my team as they were concerned that their performance would not meet the needs of the team and were considering whether their career objectives would need to be reconsidered in light of this new responsibility.

They agreed that this would be a good way of developing the confidence to learn new skill and boost their performance. As coaching is based on trust and can be successful if the coachee is able to discuss every aspect of the issue or challenge identified with their coach, confidentiality is key as the coach may need to listen to personal and private information in order to assist an individual to find solutions.

The GROW model was created by Alexander Graham, Sir John Whitmore and colleagues in the 1980’s; it is an effective tool for problem solving and is used extensively in workplace coaching. This model GROW stands for “Goal, current Reality, Options (for obstacles) and Will (or way forward)” and can be used to help individuals to increase their performance and consider their future career plans.

Using the GROW model helped as the employee had identified the Goal – to learn the skills needed to undertake new responsibilities following our organisational review, Current Reality – they were falling behind the rest of the team with regard to their workload, Options – they could consider looking for other roles within our organisation at a lower grade and Will (or Way Forward) – they could build the confidence to learn these new skills and meet the needs of their team.

When planning how to coach an individual you need to consider which option is best suited to their needs; external coaching, internal coaching or managers using coaching alongside other tools. Core skills for coaches are listening, questioning, good levels of emotional intelligence and an ability to read people. These skills will help to build rapport and a relationship with the coachee. The first discussion between the coach and coachee should define the topic to get an understanding as to what it is specifically that the coachee wants to discuss, the scale of the problem and the importance and significance to their long-term goals.

The coaching plan should include a clear Goal – to be achieved within the limits of the discussion, Reality – where both the coach and coachee will offer specific examples to illustrate their points using self-assessment, Options – the coachee should be encouraged and guided towards making the right choices through asking effective questions and Will – a commitment to action and define a plan and timeframe for their objectives and identifying how to overcome obstacles. As a coach you need to look at the practicalities involved and decide how much time will be set aside, how long each session should be and how many sessions are required.

To do this you need to ascertain what it is the coachee is trying to achieve. You also need to consider where the coaching will take place and whether the environment is suitable. Feedback in coaching is extremely important, it should be effective feedback which is developmental and can encourage the coachee to make positive changes. To do this the feedback needs to be meaningful and personalised and this can be done within the coaching session with the coach giving feedback on what is being said and encouraging an ‘in the moment’ style of feedback.

Feedback should be given and received and should avoid being judgmental. It should always be positive and constructive and one way of ensuring effective feedback is to use the whole message model which is a way of breaking down feedback into four sections to achieve the best possible results; Observations – statements of what you have seen or heard, describing the situation in concrete facts, specific events and behaviors using ‘I saw, I noticed’. Thoughts – your conclusions based on your observations ‘I wonder if/ my perception is’.

Feelings – appropriate expression of the situation ‘I am concerned/ I feel’ and Wants – a clear statement of results, what has changed. Feedback in coaching is very different from performance setting as it should be given in the here and now and should be ongoing and encouraging, the coach should try to get the coachee to reflect back on the feedback and be involved in the process. A good coach should also be open to receiving feedback about the effectiveness of their coaching style.

A method of evaluating the effectiveness of coaching in the workplace is to use the Kirkpatrick Model ; this method was created by Dr. Don Kirkpatrick in the 1950s, the model is applied before, during and after training to both maximize and demonstrate training’s value to the organization. It considers the value of coaching across four levels; Level 1 Reaction – what did the coachee think of the engagement? Level 2 Learning – what did the coachee learn during the engagement. Level 3 Behaviour – what learning, skills etc did the coachee apply on the job, and Level 4 Results what changes in results and productivity have been observed on the job.

Effective coaching is coaching that achieves the right behavioural changes that lead to improvement which impacts results. In summary, when ascertaining whether coaching or training is appropriate, an organisation must consider what they want to achieve and which method best suits the employees and the organisation. Within my own team, I found that there was a requirement for both learning styles and that by applying these appropriately we were able to address the issues which were identified and put in place measures for improvement.

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