A constructive workplace coaching relationship (one that serves to improve, is practical and productive) depends on skill for which the coach is responsible and the presence of order, impartiality, trust, safety, and mutual respect for which the parties have equal responsibility. Rather than focus solely on the content of coaching sessions, coach and client should have a shared understanding of their approach to these matters.
Responsibilities of the coach:
While coaching may be arranged following the identification of a need to improve specific performance, normally the client decides what is to be addressed, and when. It’s your responsibility to help hold the focus on the client’s needs, issues, challenges, hopes, development goals and plans in their best interests – within the employer’s intentions for the process and, where known, the client’s assigned or potential path with them.
The coach guides development with a carefully-considered system or methodology. [Systematic means arranged or conducted according to a play or organised method. Methodical means characterised by order.] It is the coach’s responsibility to:
- Understand the conceptual frameworks applied, assumptions made, her/his attitudinal tendencies and levels of interpersonal competence brought to the arrangement
- Work with clients to create and manage a safe and productive working alliance in their mutual best interests
- Encourage clear expression of client needs, concerns, aspirations, challenges and other opportunities for improvement
- Ask searching questions, listen and reflect understanding of the client’s conversation, to encourage learning from experience.
- Introduce frameworks to provide structure to client insights, changes and progress
- Maximise client learning from everyday experiences
- Wherever possible, facilitate opportunities for growth
- Model effective strategies and personal operating systems for problem solving, planning, managing, and professional development
- Encourage clients to take self-responsibility for making progress
- Help clients recognise their own values and development paths, act within them and get back on track if they have diverted
- Encourage the client’s self-evaluation and celebration of progress
- Respect confidences.
Clients should experience coaching as a safe process within which they may free-associate in search of insights or drill-down systematically into their issues as they choose, in the knowledge that they will not be judged but helped to clarify and make sense of their ideas, however disorganised. A trusting relationship is vital and for this, the skill, impartiality and objectivity of the coach are pivotal.
Clients have a responsibility to:
- Self-manage and be accountable for their own development
- Gain increasing clarity about what they perceive as their developmental needs, goals and expectations of coaching sessions
- Prepare themselves for the coaching session especially by researching the causes of problems and challenges they bring to a session’s agenda
- Collaborate with the coach to create and manage an effective working alliance
- Provide the coach with accurate and complete information
- Give honest feedback about the process and the coach’s practices, to help refine and improve them
- Be open to new learning
- Carry out commitments and agreements made and keep track of their own goals and progress.
© Tom Watkins 2011-2014. All rights reserved