A 2 Minute Refresher on How to Coach Someone

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Coaching is critical both to job performance and to employee retention, but do you know how to coach someone?  When you’re confident that your boss is cheering for you and is working to see you grow, you’re likely happy in your job.  If you’re just left on your own to sink or swim, chances are you feel like a lone ranger and are open to other opportunities.

But most of us aren’t really sure what to say or do in a ‘coaching session.’  So, here’s a simple 6 questions coaching process you can use.  It’s really practical and very effective.  Best of all, anyone can do it:

Coaching Question #1:  What gives you energy in this job?

This is a question I like to dwell on.  Make a list of all the good things.  We should be working on our weaknesses, not in our weaknesses.  Simply put, make sure you’re spending most of your day doing what you’re naturally gifted to do.

Coaching Question #2:  What drains your energy here?

Here’s the shadow side of question #1.  We all have to do things that we find draining, but limiting these activities is key to success.  This brings up possibilities of adjusting the role or delegating away areas of weakness.

Coaching Question #3: What else is on your mind?

This is a great question to find out what the person is thinking about.   This can lead just about anywhere when thinking about how to coach someone.  I’ve had responses like:

  • I’m thinking of going back to school
  • I’m wondering where I’ll be in this company three years from now
  • I hesitate to say this, but I think someone is stealing in my department and I don’t know what to do about it
  • My wife was just diagnosed with a serious disease and it’s dominating my thoughts
  • And just about anything else you can think of

You can also follow this question up with another great one: “And is there anything else on your mind?”

Coaching Questions #4:  What’s the biggest challenge in this job for you right now?

I like this question because it isn’t about company performance.  It’s about the person and the challenges they are facing.  Personally.   It may be something role related, or it may be about their larger life.

They might be wondering if they’re in the right career or if they’re living in the right city.

Coaching Question #5: How can I help?

A good one.  Self explanatory.  Find out how you can assist.

One caveat that I try to remember when thinking about how to coach someone:  The coaching rule of thumb is:

Noses in, fingers out

It’s not my job to do the work, it’s my job to help clear the path to them doing the work.  Not having to do the actual work; what a concept!

Coaching Question #6: What suggestions do you have for me?

Let’s be humble for a minute.  You have areas that you need to grow in too.  So, model transparency and openness, get out your pen and take notes.

Whatever the person says, nod, smile, write, and say thank you!  If you think they’re crazy, remember that even a broken watch is right twice a day.

There’s probably a grain of truth (at least) in whatever they bring up.

Try this simple six step coaching process.  You’ll find that it’s very effective.

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Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at www.professionalleadershipinstitute.com https://www.professionalleadershipinstitute.com/

Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here: https://www.amazon.com/Power-People-Skills-Dramatically-Performance/dp/1632651068

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Written by Trevor Throness
Trevor is a veteran coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book “The Power of People Skills” released by Career Press NY in 2017. He’s also written for or been featured in places like Forbes, Inc, The NY Post, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, CEO Magazine, and numerous podcasts and interviews.


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