“There are an unlimited number of coaching opportunities within each business. Our role as the coach is to help identify the ones that will have impact on the business and reduce the worry and concern our clients feel.”
PBCA Canada training and networking provides numerous tools and excellent insights from experienced coaches. These are the resources we have as coaches to help our clients thrive and make the most of our time with them. The successful outcome of implementing real and lasting change in our client’s behaviour and management skills is accomplished through the client follow-up report.
When I work with a client we typically meet on-line or in-person twice a month. The starting point for each meeting is what we covered last month. Part of my job as coach is making sure that the client and myself are well-prepared for the time we spend together. It starts with a brief agenda to review our last meeting outcomes, identify progress in on-going projects, and leave some time just to talk about what is important today in their business. I have experimented with this format since my early days of mentoring (and being mentored) in the early 1990’s. My experience is, when I skip this preparation step because I or client or are ‘too busy,’ it seldom results in the same progress. Therefore, by following the method consistently, both my clients and myself come away with a greater feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. Here is what we do:
The coach takes brief notes during each coaching session. What are the issues? What are the range of potential solutions and challenges?
What did we agree was the right course of action? Who would do it and what is an acceptable measure or outcome?
The coach emails a brief report, usually half to one page, detailing what we talked about and any actions or accountabilities we agreed to.
I search my files and the PBCA library for a supporting document and attach it to my report so that the client sees the logic from another perspective.
That report and its accountabilities become the base of the agenda for our next meeting.
As coach, I take the lead in sending out the agenda for our next meeting approximately three days in advance of the meeting date.
Lastly, I do an annual report card for the past years' coaching for each client. This allows both the client and myself a place to assess “Are we making progress through coaching?”
When I first started formal coaching, I took too many notes, and I overwhelmed the client with too many details in my report. The reality is, most clients just need to talk it out. They already have an idea what will work to address current issues. The coaches job really is to hold both parties accountable for moving the discussion forward by helping construct a reasonable action plan and the regular accountability to make sure the new behaviours or ideas are being implemented.
The additional responsibility as a coach is to ‘stay the course’ on the big issues. We start every client with a Business Effectiveness Evaluation (BEE). This is our baseline, and it is my job as coach to keep referencing back to it. The conversation of any meeting may range from human resources issues to government policy or finance but, as a coach we need to keep bringing the big picture back into focus. This means frequently linking daily actions to the Strategic Plan, or drilling down on procedures and processes so they become formalized and shared with staff.
Annually we bring the original BEE up and revisit it, asking ourselves:
Has anything changed? What areas have improved? Or deteriorated?
Is it time to bring other senior staff into the coaching circle, and get them to do their own BEE? That step can be very instructive when major changes to strategy are being contemplated or implemented.
There are an unlimited number of coaching opportunities within each business and our role as the coach is to help identify the ones that will have impact on the business and reduce the worry and concern our client feels toward these issues, and their business. In every sense of the word, we are ‘The Coach’ - bringing out the best in each client, providing insight to help the client fix the issues holding them back, congratulating them on their accomplishments, and, when appropriate, nagging them to become better.
Lee Whittington, CPBC, BSc, MBA
Lee is a Certified Professional Business Coach with the PBCA, and a Leadership Development Professional with GAPLD (Global Alliance of Professional Leadership Development). He's an entrepreneur with senior oversight and ownership responsibility, and held several positions including CEO for an agricultural research organization in his corporate career. Lee currently provides business coaching services for small to mid-sized growing businesses and senior professionals in Canada focusing on one-on-one and team coaching sessions for business owners, senior professionals, and their leadership teams.
Contact Lee or connect with him on LinkedIn
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