Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

The Art of Coaching—Coaching on the Run

I had the following article published this morning in our local paper’s business section. Thought I’d share it here. Although formal coaching sessions between a professional and an internal or external coach can yield great results, there are frequent opportunities to coach on the job that can have a significant impact on an individual’s development and success.

Originally published in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Nov 10, 2015- – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Elevate the Art of Coaching by Donna Rawady

In the midst of myriad demands it’s common for professional development to take a back seat to immediate priorities. The art of coaching, however, is about providing real-time professional development in the midst of high demands.
Coaching involves asking effective questions and providing opportunities that engage an individual to explore the power behind his or her own knowledge, intuition, and capabilities. In turn, coachees own and leverage their strengths, build their confidence, and elevate the quality of their contributions.

Here are a few quick ideas or tools that may help you create doable, meaningful, day-to-day coaching opportunities:

1. Value and respect diverse capabilities. Approach delegation as a chance to provide customized opportunities for growth, learning, and successful outcomes for your direct reports or team members.

2. Ask before you tell. Avoid assumptions about what someone may or not know and ask for their perspectives with open-ended questions. Their answers will help you to pinpoint where they may need assistance or support, while they’re in the midst of completing deliverables. Answers to these questions — Where do you feel you have a solid handle on this project? or Where might you appreciate having a little more support or learning? — will immediately guide you to where you might invest applicable development time that will benefit the individual and the project at hand.

3. In addition to making yourself available, when possible, for on-demand questions, schedule 15-minute Q&As where a direct report knows that he or she will have a reliable opportunity to seek answers to pending questions.

4. Hold intermittent debriefing sessions to evaluate progress and current needs for support.

5. Provide quick-hit opportunities for peer coaching. If you’re managing a team, consider holding 10-minute stand-up meetings where everyone has the opportunity to ask questions, offer a successful strategy, and/or get input from each other.

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