The success of a coaching session depends on the individual needs of the client. It is important to evaluate the strengths and skill gaps of the client in order to determine how to get from where they are now to where they want to be. This process must be tailored to the person and their work environment, as it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Choosing the right problem-solving techniques can help prevent a leader from “getting stuck” in the problems they're working on.
The leadership coach can help create a “road map” for the client by defining specific actions that should be developed and practiced until they become natural. This could include communication, delegation, or other skills that need improvement. The transformation processes used in leadership coaching are uniquely customized to the client and their particular needs. Without proven transformational processes, customer improvement can be short-lived. Structure is key in training, as many people are doing a very vague, abstract and unstructured process.
It is important for the coach to approach the problem from an equal position in order to develop a connection with the person and understand their role and challenges. The coach should help the client develop more detailed answers to questions, rather than simply answering with a “yes” or “no”. The challenge is to do more research and advance to a deeper level of understanding on the subject. Establishing a training agreement is essential for success, as it gives the coach time to establish a connection with their client and discover their mental state at the start of the session. It also gives customers time to be present and bring focus and clarity to the session. The five steps to effective training are: letting the client choose the topic; helping them develop more detailed answers; establishing a training agreement; asking powerful questions; and following an improvement cycle of planning, doing, testing and acting.
Asking powerful questions is a key step in any coaching conversation and requires the coach to listen actively, be comfortable with silence, and view the situation from multiple perspectives. Objectivity is important when working as an in-house coach, but this can be a challenge. By mastering these elements of successful coaching sessions, coaches can help their clients reach their goals and improve their skills.