Getting ready to coach

For performance coaching to have impact, there are some basics that need to be in place first.

This tool is for the person who’s the coach and it will help make sure those foundations are laid down.

Reading time: 4 minutes

What will it do?

Use it at the start of any coaching to check in that your mindset is right, that you’re ready to start the coaching and to prompt you to do what’s necessary to make sure you’re in good shape.

It’ll take you 10 to 15 minutes to really do it justice, with potentially a bit of follow up action if you need it. There might be some stuff in here that you’d want to share with the person you’re coaching before you get going.

Three steps to take

Get focused on the things that will make the most impact for you

1. The conditions you create for your coaching, your mindset and your agenda as a coach are all important. Give a rating to each of the list of statements below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being “yes, that’s absolutely true”, 1 being “no, that’s not at all true”)

True or not?!
My sole intention and mindset here is to help this person improve their performance and support them getting better. I have no other vested interest or agenda – I don’t want or need them to do something or improve in a particular way
My mindset for this relationship is that they’re in charge. They set the agenda and goals for coaching. I’m here to support not drive.
My mindset is that I’m here to help the performer understand how to be more ready to perform in their role, know how to be practically great at being ready and then be disciplined about doing that
I’ve got a performance coaching framework that I’m confident I know how to use in my coaching
My role with this performer is not to instruct, tell or show. It’s to support, guide, challenge, and share expertise when useful
There’s a shared understanding that coaching is taking place (it’s not by stealth!) and we’re both clear on our roles in making this work

2. Ok, time to check in on your scores and get ready to focus on a few things that will make a big difference. Items 1 to 3 above are all about your mindset. If you’ve given yourself a score of 7 or below on any of these, it’s time to think about what you can do to readjust these. For example, if you scored yourself a 6 on Item No 2 (because you’re aware that your mindset is to drive the coaching), stop a minute and write down some things you can do to change that.

Mindset changes – actions to take

If you’ve given yourself a score of 7 or below for no 1, you might want to consider whether you’re the best person to coach them – or whether you’re really in a true coaching role. If you think you are the best person to coach them, what can you do to make sure their agenda, not yours, is followed through the coaching?

3. No’s 3 to 6 are a bit more practical. They’re things you’d need to make sure you know, skills you need to have or stuff to have in place before you get going. Again, if you’ve rated yourself 7 or below on each (or you’ve rated yourself 9 but think you can get to a 10!), then write down some actions you’re going to take. For example, if you’re not sure you and the performance have got a shared understanding of your roles, there’s definitely some actions and conversations to be had!

Practical stuff – what to do

Your plan

Get a plan Stan. The basics you need to have in your plan are set out below.

Plan basics

  1. What are you going to do? This bit is easy – it’s the stuff in no 2 and 3 (Hint: Something to add here might be to chat to the person you’re coaching about some of this!)

    My actions:

  2. When are you going to do these things? You don’t have to be great to get going, but you better get going if you want to be great.

    My start date:

  3. How often will you be doing it? You’ll probably be doing this as a one off, but it could be useful to do it more often.

    Check in dates:

Get serious

The difference between having a plan and making it work is about action. So get this in your diary now. Tell the people who need to know so that they can support you and won’t just think you’re being weird. Do it now.

Remember, it’s progress not perfection. You’re looking for gradual improvement, not for Rome to be built in a day.