Tag Archives: coachee

10 pitfalls for coaching success

Bad coachingNot all will end well. Following are impediments for coaching I have experienced:

  1. There are no clear objectives for coaching.
  2. The coach has no mandate for coaching.
  3. There’s no designated time for coaching (coach + coachee).
  4. There’s too long time between event and coaching feedback.
  5. Coach nor coachee are measuring results (effectiveness).
  6. There’s no “walk the talk“: management is not coached themselves.
  7. There’s no support from line management.
  8. The coachee is not open for feedback.
  9. The coachee is not open for change.
  10. The coach has no empathy.
  11. The coach is using assumptions and slander instead of objective facts.


Please submit yours too!

Now let’s translate these pitfalls to positive ones and you have your checklist for coaching success!

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

How do you measure success as a coach?

Success kidA question where many people are defeated on is: How do you measure success as a coach?
Since we’re spending a lot of money and time on it: how can we know that it’s paying off? What is your ROI (Return-On-Investment)?

The LORE International Institute uses following definition for coaching effectiveness:

Effective coaching is coaching that creates the right behavioral changes that lead to improvement in the client’s ability to impact bottom-line business results.

Further, LORE also acknowledges:

One of the biggest challenges in measuring coaching is that tangible, behavioral change is usually linked to intangible mindsets and beliefs.

So how can we measure our coaching effectiveness?

Lagging measurements

Lagging measurements are findings. They’re history.
But they are suited to check if you did well.

Measurement indications on feeling:

  • Is the coachee satisfied with the coaching?
  • Is the quality of life of your coachee improved?

Measurement indications on behavior:

  • Can you see your coachee changing his behavior?
  • Are other people telling you your coachee has changed his behavior?

Measurement indications on results:

  • Is your coachee reaching their results?
  • Is the quality of work of your coachee improved?
  • Is the customer feedback improved?
  • Is there more benefits or waste identified?

Leading measurements

The disadvantage of lagging measurements is that they’re recorded after the facts.
Once you have the data, it’s already a fact and you can only react upon it.

Leading measurement are predictors and can be used for proactive steering for success.

  • Time spent coaching (bi-laterals, workshops, content meetings, performance meetings, …).
  • Counting the number of “thank you” and “thank your for your time” you get back after your coaching talks.
  • Progress in coaching action plan (reaching milestones on time in full).

As you can see, it’s harder to find the leading measurement for effective coaching.

Suggestions are welcome!

Additional reading

Can coaching effectiveness be measured – http://www.coachfederation.org/includes/docs/025CanCoachingEffectivenessBeMeasuredBacon.ppt

The success of coaching depends on clear objectives and rigorous measurement – http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hro/features/1017535/the-success-coaching-depends-objectives-rigorous-measurement

Tagged , , ,

Help your coachee realize his Impossible Future

The “Impossible Future” is a concept which Robert Hartgrove describes in his book “Masterful coaching” and can be reformulated as a very ambitious goal, a big challenge.

Too often we lay stretch targets which are too easy to reach. You have to work a bit harder or a bit different to get there, but there’s nothing fundamental changed in your approach or behavior. Because of this, the stretch targets can be considered as a Predictable Future. The concept of the “Impossible Future” is used to let your coachee think about realizing more than his Predictable Future and see how coaching can get him there.

Let’s take a closer look at it.

What’s the Impossible Future?

Currently, your coachee is in the “now” state, expressed by the house in the picture. His current habits and behavior took him so far and he knows it’s working what he doing.  If we create a stretch target for him, expressed by the second house in the picture, he will have to change his behavior, his approach, etc. a bit, but probably still can reach the target.

Compare it with the Hawthorne effect: changing behavior because you’re just paying attention to it.

If we create an Impossible Future for him to realize, expressed by the castle in the picture, his current behavior and approach won’t get him there. A radical change is needed, expressed by the “new me” in the picture.

The Impossible Future

The Impossible Future

Your task as coach

Your coachee needs to be a bigger version of himself and you need to help him with it. Hartgrove describes in his book an approach that has worked for me in real life:

  1. Help the coachee imagine that he currently stands in the Impossible Future to find out what got him there.
  2. Let him describe the leader which he has to be in the Impossible Future:
    1. Which characteristics does he need?
    2. Which behavior does he need (to model)?
    3. What is the gap between him as current leader and his future me?
    4. As a coach, find out how you can get him there. What is your added value? How much of your time does your coachee need for it?

When you have your target leader(ship behavior), you can create an action plan for it: which steps are you going to take to realize that future target? Which are the intermediary milestones?

Road block: the Possible Future

If you define an Impossible Future that is not challenging enough, it will be no problem for your coachee to make a big change. He knows that it’s possible without major changes, without really leaving his comfort zone, and it will become his Predictable Future.

But what if it really seems impossible?

Ok, the target seems impossible, but let’s find out anyway to see what you need (to change) to get there.

Examples of Impossible Futures

  • Become product leader in your industry.
  • Deliver the same value to you customer with 30% fewer resources.
  • Become the top of mind brand in the finance industry.

Additional reading

Masterful Coaching by Robert Hartgrove

Tagged , , , , ,

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Teacher“Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood” is one of the 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey.

I was reminded by it by a story an elementary teacher told me. She had had a difficult day at school and was pouring her heart out to me. Since I’m a professional coach and I know she hates it when (she notices) I coach her, so I made the promise to her to only listen and ask a question now and then to understand.

She started her story.

*Ring ring*
The bell goes off and all children are guided to their class room. It was a cold day and all children hang their coats on the pegs in the hallway. Next, they all enter the class. Except for three.
Three kids were standing in the hallway, looking at the window.
Teacher: “Please come inside.”
The kids are not reacting and keep staring out of the window.
Teacher: “John, Jane, Smith, please come inside now. We’re starting with calculus.”
No reaction.
Teacher: “That’s it! All three of you, come along to the teachers room”.
In the teachers room the students get a penalty and are not allowed to participate the next hour in art class.

Me: “So, you were angry because of the students not following your directions?”
Teacher: “Yes, I was.”
Me: “Why is it that big of a deal?”
Teacher: “They have to come in the class. I want to keep order and don’t lose time for teaching.”
Me: “I understand that you feel this is important. Is it the first time that this happens?”
Teacher: “No, they do it all week and they know as the problem stokers in class. Let me tell you what happened later that week.”

*Ring ring*
Two days later the same story unravels.
Our three problem stokers are looking at the window again when the rest of the kids are entering their class room.
This time, Jane says: “He look at that: they moved the big world map to the other side of the hallway.”

Me: “Wait. What does the world map has to do with this?”
Teacher: “They were watching at the map all the time, instead of entering the class room in time.”
Me: “But why are they so interested in this world map?”
Teacher: “I don’t know and I don’t care: I just want to start calculus.”
Me: “I understand that starting calculus in time is important to you. On the other hand, it looks to me that they were genuinely interested in the world map. Could it be an opportunity to give a demo in class?”
Teacher: “I never thought of that. It could be interesting for the rest too”.
Me: “It could be added value for the rest of the class, but also for the relationship you have with our three little problem stokers. As you show interest in their interests”.
Teacher: “Great idea, I will give it a try next week.”


When I heard the first version of the story, it was easier to me to give advice.

Have you tried this?
Why don’t you try this?
What are other options?
Is punishment necessary?

But in this way I would have started coaching without understanding the problem completely. We would have dived into finding solutions, instead of getting the problem right at first.

When I explicitly promised to step out of my role of coach in this case, I was not focused on asking the right questions, I was not focused in thinking along with the coachee and I was not focused to find solutions for her case (and guide her to it).

My only focus was to listen and try to understand. This made it possible to really empathize with here and make a connection.

Double lesson

I’m not sure if you noticed, but there was a lesson here for the teacher too. The same fifth principles of Steven Covey, Seek First to Understand Then to be Understood, is valid for the teacher too as she could have responded in another, more successful way to the situation.

Empathic listening

The theory (see Additional Reading) describes are four levels to true empathic listening:

  1. Repeat what the other person is saying.
  2. Rephrase the content.
  3. Reflect the feelings and emotions.
  4. Rephrase the content and reflect the feelings.

With using these steps you can build report with your coachee and establish a connection.

In the story above I didn’t use the four levels in a strict way, but I tried to rephrase and confirm emotions when appropriate.

Additional reading

The Fifth Habit in 20 slides –


The Fith Habit by Steven Covey – https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits-habit5.php

Tagged , , , , ,

Is this the mirror of myself?

In the song Everybody, Martin Solveig sings:
        Is this the mirror of myself?
        Am I somebody else?
        I don’t want to be…

MirrorThis describes the effect of an efficient coach: people getting conscious about their behavior and the effect it has on others.
The job of a coach is to help grow your coachee and one of the tools in his tool box, is giving feedback

With giving feedback to your coachee, you have the opportunity (pfew, just avoided to say “power” here) to hold the mirror in front of your coachee. As a coach you can observe the behavior of your coachee, note facts, record interactions, body language, the effect is has on others, … 

When these facts are objective, you can use them (with the feedback framework) to give constructive feedback to your coachee.

Even when the coach is (much) younger than the coachee, it shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve experienced some reluctance in that situation at start: “What are you going to learn me? I almost twice as old as you!”

To quote Robert S. Kaplan:

Subordinates don’t want to offend the boss. Therefore, as you become more senior in an organization, you tend to get less feedback. Over time, you risk growing confused about your development needs and becoming isolated from criticism

But most coachees will start to appreciate your feedback when they notice it’s based on truth and can do something with it.

Let’s grow

A tool I like to use during coaching talks, it the GROW model: Goal – Reality – Options – Wrap-up.
The GROW model will set focus for observation and coaching talks.
Instead of giving all possible feedback you have recorded, you can pick your battles. 
These battles are agreed on with your coachee and can change during time.

And what about myself?

It would not be efficient if I wasn’t using this technique for growing myself.
After each workshop I ask feedback from the participants: what went well? What could go better?

Additionally, we as lean coaches started with asking feedback from our customers too about our change management skills.
Though sometimes the results are confronting, they give me the opportunity to improve myself.
Nobody’s perfect, right?

Additional reading

What to Ask the Person in the Mirror: Critical Questions for Becoming a More Effective Leader and Reaching Your Potential“, by Robert S. Kaplan

Tagged , , , , ,

Applications for MBTI on the work floor

The MBTI indicator (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) is used for assessing people personality types. There are 16 different types and there is no one perfect type, although there are popular types in companies (like ESTJ). The origins lead to two related researches and even back to Carl Jung.

MBTI can be use to get familiar with … yourself, and is considered eye opening but also a confirmation in some cases.

Beside from some inside insights, what other appliances does the MBTI framework offer?

MBTI with coaching

MBTI can be used to attune your coaching efforts to your coachee. When you know (or self-assessed) the MBTI score of your coachee, you can adjust your coaching approach. Try to understand what works best for your coachee. Try to understand his reaction.

Can you ask your coachees MBTI score? Why not? Since there are no good or “to be” types, there is no goal in hiding your MBTI score. Your coachee might ask you why and then you can use the explanation above.

Be careful with making assessments yourself. People who know their MBTI score also know what their extreme indicators, pitfalls and stress inhibitors are. When aware they might attune their personal style to one that is more suited for people where they work with. When somebody is an extreme J (Judging), he can be aware of this and give himself some slack to the F (Feeling) side so he doesn’t overload his coworkers with his recht und ordnung.

Build diverse teams

When building teams some MBTI awareness is needed for HR and team leaders. If you would build a team with only ESTJ profiles for example, you are missing people with gut feeling, people who recognize patterns and connections, people with spontaneity, …

Building a MBTI diverse team contributes to success.

MBTI team building exercise

MBTI can also be used as a team building exercise.

  • First, distribute the MBTI assessment (digital or analog) and let your team fill it in. Emphasize that there is no right answer, there is no right type.
  • Next, discuss the results in group. Make sure you have a separate meeting room and enough time (depending on your team 1 to 2 hours). If you are not comfortable as team leader to lead the exercise, ask a consultant.
  • During the meeting do a tour de table and let them explain their MBTI score, their insights and also how other coworkers can see what this means on the work floor. As a team lead, take the example and you first. It will confirm that this information needs to be shared and the personal insights make you as a team also show some vulnerability.
  • Afterwards, distribute the scores of the team members together with a fiche with short descriptions of the scores. This way the output of the team building exercise can be reused and is not forgotten.

When sharing the public information (I consider MBTI rather public) with personal insights, the team gets to know each other on a personal level and learns to understand each other. You will get more from this exercise than 2 hours of path finding challenges in the woods.

MBTI at your home?

Like they say: opposites attract! Why not try the MBTI assessment with your partner? You might discover why he or she is acting like that in different situations, how your partner takes their decision, …

Remark: i explicitly stated WITH your partner here. My personal advise is not to try it ON your partner, because they could not like you applying those techniques at home 🙂

Get into it!

You can find an online assessment in English here: http://similarminds.com/jung.html

The assessment takes about 10 minutes and gives your own personality type. You cannot compare this with an actual MBTI assessment exercise lead by a MBTI certified consultant (which also does live assessments next to the one on paper), but for me the test leads to the same type.

When filling in the test it is important to focus on who you ARE and not who you want TO BE. Especially the first indicator, Extroversion vs Introversion, is one where our community has taught us that being extrovert is expected from you. It is actually not bad to have the introversion indicator. Introvert and introversion are not the same: introvert means being inward oriented (often referred to as shy) and introversion describes your thinking process and your way of getting energy.

By the way, I am an ISTJ.

Tagged , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: