Ten top tips for being an effective coach in the workplace

Workplace coaching

Improve your workplace coaching skills by reading this week’s top ten tips article.

Coaching is a valuable skill which can have a big impact on the people around you. Taking the time to coach an individual or group at work by offering them advice and guidance can support their professional development while increasing their productivity and motivation.

In this week’s article, we’re focusing on how to be an effective coach in the workplace with our Ten Top Tips.

1. Be open to opportunities (to coach)

Let people know they can come to you with questions and concerns. Use one-to-one discussions to understand the challenges people are facing and help them decide on the next steps.

2. Actively listen

Listening is an important aspect of being a coach. It helps you understand the challenges facing the people you are coaching while making them feel valued and appreciated. Sometimes people just need someone to act as a sounding board as they work through problems.

3. Be positive

Things can go wrong and people can get stuck working on a task. When they do, you can use your coaching skills to discuss their problems and help them to reflect on how they could be dealt with going forward. This may involve helping them consider any additional learning or development that is required.

4. Avoid giving advice or direction

It can be tempting to take matters into your own hands or give away the answers when you see someone struggling; however, this doesn’t help people to learn. Ask leading questions to help them navigate the challenges they face such as “what are your options?” or “what would you advise yourself to do?”

5. Build confidence and self-belief

Create an open and supportive environment by recognising improvements and acknowledging contributions. Confident people are more likely to achieve their goals.

6. Be empathetic

Not everyone finds it easy to share the obstacles they are facing. They may not even be work-related. Our home lives and emotions can have a significant impact on our work. As a coach, you can be empathetic and provide a confidential space where people can work through their problems.

7. Ask challenging questions

You don’t want to overwhelm but encouraging the person you are coaching to get out of their comfort zone can help them grow. When a person identifies a challenge or problem that needs addressing, ask them questions that will help them reflect and work towards a solution. For example, you could ask “tell me more about it,” “what have you tried?” or “how important is this compared to the other things you are working on?”

8. Tailor your approach

Everyone has different skills, experiences, and personalities so you may find what works with one person will not work with another. Take the time to think about the person, role, skills, and experience so you can tailor your coaching to meet their requirements.

9. Agree on next steps

Set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely (SMART) goals to help the individual or group develop and grow. Get them to think about any additional support or resources they will need to accomplish their goals. 

10. Follow up

Make sure that you take the time to follow up with the person you are coaching. Set a date for your next meeting and expectations for what they will have accomplished.

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