To achieve Step 11, individuals will show that they can use coaching as a means to support other people.
In the previous step, the focus was on using mentoring as a way to develop people. Coaching builds on this by supporting someone to reach an answer for themselves without being directly told what to do.
The building blocks of this step are learning:
Coaching is about supporting another individual to achieve their potential. Sometimes this is about the coach providing a soundboard, asking questions and helping the individual being coached to work out the answer for themselves.
Individuals might be supported by coaches to help them to achieve professional or personal goals, and often find them invaluable.
In the previous step, we explored the idea of mentoring. This is normally where a more experienced, skilful or knowledgeable individual will give guidance to a more junior person.
Coaching is quite different. The coach is not expected to provide the answer – indeed, they might not even know the correct answer themselves. Instead, their role is to act as a ‘sounding board’ to support the individual to explore ideas for themselves and work through a problem to get to a solution.
This means that they do not necessarily have to be an expert in the field, although that can be helpful in supporting someone to reach a technical solution. Instead, their expertise lies in facilitating the other person to structure their thinking.
It should be noted that coaching in the context here is quite different to sports coaching, which is much more directive and draws on the expertise of the sports coach.
Coaching can be a useful and effective tool, but there need to be certain things in place before it can achieve that potential:
An effective coach has to be a great listener (see Listening). That is because the most critical tool that a coach has is good questioning. The coach can use a careful sequence of open questions to open up and explore a topic, and then encourage the individual towards taking action.
An effective coach uses listening tools along the way like:
Ultimately, to be a good coach, you take the other individual on a journey from uncertainly exploring their idea, through evaluating their thoughts, through to a commitment to action.
Coaching is such a powerful tool for leaders because the leader cannot be expected to know the answer to every possible question. Equally, there is good evidence that individuals who develop their own ideas have a much greater sense of ownership over the solutions and ideas that they have generated. This means they are more motivated to implement those ideas, and tend to need less oversight and direct management.
Coaching in school or college is less common than mentoring and students are currently more likely to be coached by a teacher or external visitor, rather than another student. To support others through coaching requires excellent listening and questioning skills, rather than experience or knowledge, therefore with practise and application a student can master this step and subsequently coach others to achieve their goal.
Coaching in the workplace is an important mechanism used to improve someone’s performance in their role. An individual can be supported, through coaching, to either improve a current skill or learn a new skill. Some businesses may use coaching to introduce a new system, culture or programme. An employee who is performing below expectations may be coached to achieve a higher level of performance. Good coaching can lead to an improvement in business results, in addition team communications, staff well-being and loyalty can also be enhanced.
Top athletes, successful business people and high achievers, set goals to achieve their long term vision. However, increasingly, many individuals establish personal goals to perhaps take greater control of their life, improve the quality of their life, to create focus or to motivate themselves. Coaching is a mechanism which supports the individual to work towards these goals and to be accountable for the steps they are taking. In the wider world, expertise in coaching others to achieve their goals will enable you to constructively support a friend or family member to achieve their goal. Expertise or enjoyment of coaching can lead to a formal role as a coach, through charity work or volunteer organisation like The Prince’s Trust.
To best practise this step of Leadership, apply what you have learnt to a real-life situation. Choose one or more of the activities below, remind yourself of the key points and strategies in the step, and have a go!
To teach this step:
Peer coaching can be an effective mechanism for helping one another to think through ideas and plans, and so can be incorporated into learning where possible.
This step is best assessed through observing a learner coaching another. The teacher should be looking for evidence that they are able to set clear goals at the start of the coaching, and then use active listening, open questions and summarising as a way to support the coaching conversation. The teacher’s observation can be supplemented by a reflective conversation with the learner after the coaching session.
This step is relevant to individuals who want to develop others so that they can make a significant contribution to the team goal.
To build this step in the work environment, managers could:
There are plenty of opportunities for building this skill in the workplace:
For those already employed, this step is best assessed through observing a coaching interaction. For instance:
During the recruitment process, this step could be assessed for by:
We work with a wide range of organisations, who use the Skills Builder approach in lots of different settings – from youth clubs, to STEM organisations, to careers and employability providers.
We have a lot of materials available to support you to use the Skills Builder Universal Framework with the individuals you work with, including:
We also do a lot of work with organisations who join the Skills Builder Partnership to build the Universal Framework into their work and impact measurement systems. You can find out a lot more using the links below.
At home, you can easily support your child to build their essential skills. The good news is that there
are lots of ways that you can have a big impact, including: