Tag: Coaching

How to Begin the Coaching Journey with Your Team

How to Begin the Coaching Journey with Your Team

In this blog, you will learn how to place that stake in the ground, marking the beginning of the coaching journey with your team.

Getting a Picture of Where You Are

Framing the reality of the situation for your team is an important step to accepting the coaching process. It is easier for you to outline your team’s performance problem, but this does not create the most receptive environment. In order to gain acceptance of the problem, it is best to let the team come to the realization themselves. Neglecting to do this could result in a non-responsive team. They may feel apprehensive or defensive and shut down. They may go along with your coaching, but their attitude is that of just getting the coaching session over with in the least amount of time. Involving your team is easy if you are willing to ask questions, listen, and guide your them to where they are in their performance. Here are four simple questions you can ask:

  • What is happening now?
  • How often is this happening?
  • When does it happen?
  • What is the effect?

These questions help you to guide your team to a place where they can see their performance affect the organization. When they realize the impact on their own more buy-in is created. In addition, more information may be obtained on why your team is not performing at the level they should be achieving.

The realization of the problem marks the starting point. It also serves as a marker on performance. For instance, a team member may discover that they are not reaching production goals because they are taking extra time doing something incorrectly. Knowing this, you are able to refer to this issue when improvements occur.

Identifying Obstacles

When coaching, obstacles will arise and you need to be prepared to handle them with efficiency. The last thing you want to happen is your team handing you an obstacle you cannot address because you are not prepared to handle the problem with a consistent response.

Using the IRA steps to obstacle identification and removal is vital to the coaching process. Here is the breakdown of the process.

  • Identify the obstacle: Have a frank discussion with your team and determine what is blocking their performance. Waiting for them to give you the information voluntarily will probably not happen.
  • Root out the cause: Many times underlying emotions or problems may be the cause of the obstacles. Ask probing questions and jot down the answers. You might realize they have a fear that must be addressed.
  • Antidote given: A remedy to the situation is needed in order to get past this obstacle. Brainstorm with your team on ways to remove the obstacles. In some cases, you may have to try several different antidotes. Be patient if the cause is genuine.

No matter what the perceived obstacles are, do not let it stifle you coaching objective. Rarely, you may encounter a team member that throws obstacles constantly your way in an effort to derail you. Identify this and address it with that team member, documenting every conversation.

Exploring the Past

Exploring your team’s past performance and development is a great way to develop the reality of today’s performance. Of course, you want to avoid belaboring a past mistake to the point where it makes the session ineffective. On the other hand, focusing on previous achievements helps to encourage your team.

Here are some things to focus from the past:

  • Goals that were met
  • Great behaviors
  • Great attitudes
  • Problems solved

Using the past helps to recap where your team is at today. It is like telling a story, but the end has not yet been determined. Use this time to speak positively to your team. Avoid being negative or emphasizing the consequences of failure. This will leave an impression on your team that could hinder their success.



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What is the Difference between Coaching and Mentoring your Team?

Difference Between Coaching and Mentoring

Many people wrongly use the terms coaching and mentoring interchangeably. These two concepts are often misunderstood, and as a team leader it is necessary to understand how they differ from each other.

What is Coaching?

A coach is somebody who instructs or tutors a team or person to achieve a goal or improve a skill. In the office environment, for example, you may have sales coaches or customer service coaches. A coach usually specializes on improving one or two areas of development at a time.

What is Mentoring?

Although mentoring is also fundamentally teaching, it is vastly different from coaching and has a different purpose and goal. Mentoring is more voluntary in nature and is less formal than coaching. The mentor and understudy endeavor on a broad development goal such as becoming a leader for example. As a team manager or leader, it should be your goal to develop your team members in a way that furthers their career. Mentoring is one of the best methods to achieve this goal.

The Basic Differences between Coaching and Mentoring.

Characteristics of coaching:

  • Interaction is usually not voluntary.
  • The interaction usually is for a set amount of time.
  • The interaction is structured, and meetings are typically confined to scheduled meetings.
  • A coach does not necessarily have to be an expert on the coaching topic.
  • Generally, the interaction is short-termed and focuses usually in one or two areas of development.
  • The focus is on a specific job function or developmental issue.
  • The goal is to produce a more immediate change or result.
  • Coaching typically targets specific opportunities for improvement.

Characteristics of mentoring:

  • Interaction is usually voluntary.
  • Relationship is usually long-term over an extensive period of time.
  • Interaction is less structured with meetings more causal than structured.
  • A mentor is usually regarded as an expert in their field and is a resource to the understudy.
  • Career growth is the overall goal of mentoring.
  • The goal of mentoring is to develop areas that the understudy deems necessary for the development for future roles.
  • Mentoring targets the entire career path of an understudy.

Blending Coaching with Mentorship

The success of using an approach that combines coaching and mentoring characteristics depends on the circumstances. The work environment, advancement opportunities and the time available, will dictate whether a blend of coaching and mentoring is the right approach. As team leader, you have to determine which of the characteristics to combine. The approach you determine needs to be the best for your team’s situation.

Benefits of combining coaching and mentoring characteristics:

  • Increased flexibility.
  • Allows you to manage your team while acting autonomous.
  • Allows your team members to determine what they want to develop.
  • Your team members will feel more empowered in their development.
  • You can enlist the help of other managers and team leaders in the development of your team.
  • Greater satisfaction for both you and your team.


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