Coaching is a skill that is rapidly becoming highly sought after in leadership positions such as project managers or team leaders. Your leadership style, i.e. Your beliefs influence what you do as a leader, i.e. how you behave. It is important to believe that your followers have options. They might feel like they don’t have any choice at all times, so it is our job to help them make better choices. Because this is the mindset leaders should adopt, I will refer to them as coaches and followers as coachees in this article.
It’s better to have a choice than not having one
Good coaches help their coachees to realize that they always have the option of choosing. Sometimes, our coaches may choose to be the victim and try to convince us that we have no choice. In the most basic situations, there are at least two options for them: to go to work or not. They may convince you that they don’t have a choice, because they wouldn’t get paid if they didn’t come to work. Well don’t get paid! Making decisions will always require you to deal with the consequences. It is worth having a discussion with your coachees about these consequences. The coach assists the coachee with their decision making process but ultimately the coachee will make the decision and pay the price. They will then reap the benefits of their actions.
Identifying the options
Coaches should help their client see all the options available to them. This example is too extreme because it only offers two options and both are extreme choices. It is a good coaching practice to help coaches identify as many options possible, and then help them to consider each option to find the best one for them. This is the crucial part: the coachee chooses the best option, not you. In the past, I’ve seen poor coaching where the coach gets attached to the “right” option and tries to guide the coachee to take action. This is a problem because once coaching is over, the coachee must take the necessary steps to make the decision.
Coaching is a process that allows the coachee to take action after the session. This may be uncomfortable or new for them. The coachee has to take full responsibility for their actions and any consequences. If the coachee leaves the coaching session feeling that the coaches plan is all they came up with, then they will be less likely to carry out the actions. They may follow through because they want to please their coach, in which case they may have become the parent of the coachee. This will have a negative impact on the performance of the coachee, and will reduce their potential to act from a higher place of potential.
They make it their decision to act
To increase the chances of someone taking action, it is best if they have the idea. We can’t force anyone to do anything, so ideas are only thoughts until they are implemented. It is the coachee that will actually take action. In those instances where the coach may have the original idea, the coach’s job is to help the coachee evaluate the idea until they feel confident that they will take action. As the coachee takes more control over their thinking, feelings and behaviours, the idea becomes theirs. After the action is taken, the learning process can begin. The coach and coachee can then reflect on the results and make adjustments if necessary.
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