TCI Global Toolkit: Coaching EssentialsCoaching Tips & Tools
In this lesson, key characteristics and competencies required for an effective coach are outlined. These competencies were first introduced in Lesson 2: The Transformational Power of Coaching.
While in this lesson, you will hear advice from TCI master coaches who practice these competencies regularly in their engagements with TCI stakeholders and you will have an opportunity to apply these skills through asking powerful questions and active listening exercises.
Characteristics of an effective coach
Building rapport and sustainable systems
Motivating the coachee by preparing for a coaching session
Asking powerful questions
Powerful questions are critical so that you can understand the specific coaching needs of your coachee during each coaching session. As an effective coach, you need to be able to ask questions that reveal information needed to maximize impact for the coachee.
According to research done by Alison Brooks, “asking a lot of questions unlocks learning and improves interpersonal bonding.”
As a result, it’s important to ask open-ended questions, sequence questions and be mindful of your tone.
Powerful questions can be grouped by the main sections of the coaching conversation. See the table below for some illustrative examples.
TIP: Don’t ask close-ended questions that call for a yes or no answer (such as “Did that cause a problem?”). Instead, ask open-ended ones, like “What effect did that have?”
- What do you hope to achieve from our engagement
- What do you need to accomplish from our discussion?
- What would you like to take away from our conversation?
- Based on the priorities of your team, what would you like to focus on?
- How can our engagement help you with the current challenges you are facing?
- What is your desired outcome or goal?
- How will you measure success?
- What will change if you achieve this goal?
- What's worked for you in the past?
- What have you tried so far?
- What strengths can you utilize in making this change?
- What's the current situation?
- What is in your control?
- What can you learn from this situation?
- If you could start over again, what would you do differently?
- What's the cost of not taking action?
- What’s the benefit of taking action?
- What barriers stand in your way?
- What changes are needed to move forward?
- Based on what we have been discussing, what are your next steps towards achieving your goal?
- What are the possible outcomes?
- What are your options moving forward?
- What haven't you considered that might have an impact?
- If you had all the resources you needed, what action would you take?
- What information do you need to move forward?
- What is a first step you can take?
- How will you know that you've succeeded?
- What resources do you need?
- How can I support you with your plan?
- Who do you have to support you?
- How will you hold yourself accountable?
- What can you try?
- How is your plan going?
- What's working?
- What have you learned so far?
- What are the obstacles in your way?
Why powerful questions are necessary
Ask powerful questions exercise
A great way to practice using TCI’s 9-step coaching process is to address your own challenges or pretend to be a leader in your community who is committed to addressing the issue of high rates of teenage pregnancy. Think through the steps and questions that you’d ask and how you might answer. By practicing and getting “stuck” and “unstuck”, you’ll learn how to ask the most helpful questions. Then, write down some stock questions as prompts for future coaching sessions.
Here are a few examples related to TCI programming:
- What are the factors contributing to high rates of teenage pregnancy in your location?
Exploring potential solutions:
- What has been tried before? Why or why not was it successful?
The goal of active listening is to understand the meaning of what is said in the context of the coachee’s desires.
Active listening considers verbal and non-verbal cues that the coachee is communicating. It involves: Reflection and summary, inquiry, acknowledgement and integration of coachee’s words and non-verbal body language (mirroring) and recognizing trends.
Active listening exercise
Active listening helps listeners better understand others’ perspectives and helps speakers feel more understood and less threatened. However, we often listen without really hearing the person speaking to us. In the process, we miss opportunities to connect with the person—and even risk making them feel neglected, disrespected, and resentful.
This exercise helps you express active interest in what the other person, in this case the coachee, has to say and make them feel heard—a way to foster empathy and connection.
HOW TO DO IT
Find a quiet place where you can talk with a conversation partner without interruption or distraction. Invite this person to share what’s on their mind. As they do so, try to follow the steps below. You don’t need to cover every step, but the more you do cover, the more effective this practice is likely to be.
TIP: Let your coachee do most of the talking. Remember that silence provides valuable thinking time: you don’t always have to fill silence with the next question.
Forwarding and deepening
Tips and tricks for this skill include:
- Assist the coachee with defining actions that will enable them to demonstrate new learning and achieve their desired goal(s)
- Focus on and explore opportunities that are central to the coaching goal(s)
- Engage the coachee to explore ideas and solutions
- Promote active experimentation and discovery
- Celebrate coachee’s successes
- Challenge coachee’s assumptions
- Advocate or bring forward points of view that are aligned with coachee’s goals
- Help the client “Do It Now” by prioritizing and agreeing upon actions to be taken
- Define what success means
- Talk about the obstacles
- Wrap up
TIP: The coach should remain coachee-focused and help the coachee figure out their plan for not only actions to be taken/next steps but how they will ensure their accountability to their plans.
Bringing it all together
In this video, TCI coach Albert Bwire brings together all of the critical factors to take into consideration and plan for an effective coaching relationship and session.
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Write down some powerful questions that you can use as prompts for future coaching sessions.
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