A Structured approach to a Coaching engagement not only allows for the Leader/Coachee to think through and prepare for getting the best advantage from a Coaching intervention, it also allows for key stakeholders to participate and provide their inputs into the process. In addition, both the Coach and the Coachee (including the Sponsor) can objectively measure progress or make course corrections if necessary.
The author’s recommended approach is given below:
- “Chemistry Session”: The Coach and Leader/Coachee get introduced and then spend some time getting to know each other. Both the Coachee and the Coach should be given the flexibility to call off the relationship at this stage if they are not comfortable with each other.
- “Programme Kick-off Meeting”: The Sponsor (and other key stakeholders) and the Leader/Coachees are present in person. The Coach will generally facilitate this meeting and take the group through what to expect from the programme, what Coaching means, the logistics, etc. This meeting is also the forum for the Sponsor (and the key stakeholders) to reiterate the support that the Leader/Coachees will get for the personal changes and the effort they will put into this programme.
- “Setting Coaching Objectives & Outcomes”: Discussion between the Sponsor, Coach and Leader/Coachee to agree on the Coaching Objectives. The Sponsor should be able to articulate to the Leader/Coachee (and the Coach) the outcomes that he/she is looking for and how he/she will know if it has been achieved. The Coach will help facilitate this conversation.
- “Seeking Development Inputs”: This can be done by enabling a 360degree feedback for the Leader/Coachee from key stakeholders. This can be facilitated by the Coach in order to maintain confidentiality of the participants. The organization can also use inputs from the annual appraisal process, Development Centres, etc for this purpose. Psychometric assessments may also be used as long as the Coachee is convinced about what shows up on the report.
- “Contracting”: This is the first One on One session between the Coach and the Leader/Coachee. In this session, based on the inputs from sponsor/stakeholders, 360degree feedback, etc and the Leader/Coachee’s own requirements, the Coach will work with the Coachee to articulate and list down the various outcomes the Coachee would like to see by the end of the Coaching engagement.
- “Coaching Sessions”: One on One sessions between the Coach and the Leader/Coachee. These are confidential conversations and it is recommended that it happens outside the Leader/Coachee’s work place.
- “Mid Term Sponsor Review”: The Leader/Coachee will review the progress with the Sponsor in the presence of the Coach mid-point in the programme. The Sponsor should be able to give the Leader/Coachee specific insights into what changes he/she is seeing vis-à-vis the expected outcomes.
- “Closure Meeting with the Sponsor”: A closure meeting at the end of the contracted number of sessions for the Sponsor and Leader/Coachee to calibrate on where they stand. This is also an opportunity to discuss and agree on what further help or support the Leader/Coachee needs.