Monday, 22 October 2007

Establishing rapport at a coaching session

Establishing rapport at a coaching session.

Establishing good rapport with your coachee is absolutely crucial and fundamental to producing and developing an effective coaching relationship. This seems to be self-evident but WHAT do we mean by this, WHY is it so important and HOW should we set about achieving this? For more imformation on Management training click here.

Good rapport is about you as the coach understanding your coachee and about being in harmony and aware of their thoughts and feelings about their work, relationships, objectives and broader life agenda. It helps to have empathy with them – the power to imaginatively enter into their feelings – but this doesn’t mean that you should over identify with them and become totally sympathetic and complicit with them and their situation. If you do this then there is the danger that you will lose objectivity and clarity about them and their issues, collude with them and their situation and not be able to challenge them appropriately.

It is crucial for the following reasons:-
You need to understand them as a person, their reality and their issues, goals and objectives.
You need to be able to support and challenge them as necessary – but not just in equal measure.
They need to feel confident in you as a person and to be able to be honest and open with you about their innermost thoughts and feelings. Equally you need to be able to be honest, authentic and direct but sensitive with your communication to them.
They don’t have to like you or you to like them (although this helps) but they do need to respect you and the skills that you and bring to them and their situation.
You need to be able to sense and understand what is going on in their mind and emotional self. To recognise mood shifts and to sense the signs of discomfort, concern or elation. You need to know what question to ask next or when to remain silent and wait for a response.
In essence you need to be closely in touch with and attentive to your coachee – it is all about the quality of the relationship that you can establish.

The way that you do this is by using the following approach:-
To explain the approach that you are taking right up front to the coachee even before you start the process. (I give all of my new or prospective coachees a copy of a What, Why,Who, When ,How, Where document explaining this when we first meet.)
To understand their background, how they got to be where they are today, key formative events and relationships for them. It also helps to understand their current sphere of activity – their home life and interests as well as ther work life, in order to understand them as a whole person and to see their work issues and goals within the context of their whole life.
To ask key questions as the coaching process progresses and to actively, really listen to the answers and to observe the body language and behaviours of the coachee. (It is this face to face interaction with the coachee which in my view is so important. This is the primary reason why I think that telephone or e mail coaching processes are a very inadequate substitute for the clarity and quality of communication and relationship that you can derive face to face.)
To summarise in an accurate way or to rephrase in a helpful new way the key thoughts, feelings, issues, objectives, options and ACTIONS that a coachee is facing. I do this both verbally within the coaching session and by writing up and sending them the notes of the session highlighting key points, issues and actions to be taken.

These are the reasons why and how to establish rapport with your coachees. If you achieve this at the outset and reinforce it at each coaching session then you can be a highly effective coach.
If you cannot or don’t establish this essential rapport then you will not get past first base.

Management Training Course, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching
Developing People offer first class management training and development, with a business training course for every level of personnel, helping you increase productivity through employee training, leadership training

Performance Management Appraisal – Practical Hints and Tips for Managers

Many managers (and indeed staff!), dread Performance Appraisals, yet they are a valuable tool in helping people understand how they are currently performing as well as what they need to focus on to improve performance. Often the problem is that managers just don’t have the confidence or haven’t received adequate training to conduct appraisals properly. Sadly, the consequence of this is that too often staff leave an appraisal meeting feeling de-motivated or even angry and managers wonder why they didn’t get the result they wanted!

If you struggle with conducting appraisals, try using the following hints and tips to dramatically improve your ability to conduct an effective performance appraisal.

1) Understand your responsibilities, as a manager it is your responsibility to prepare fully and take a lead role during the appraisal meeting in a way that that encourages the individual to participate fully.
2) Organise review meetings for a mutually convenient time that allows both parties to prepare fully for the development and performance discussions. Don’t do it at 4pm on a Friday in McDonalds!
3) Prepare an informal agenda outlining any critical steps you want to cover. Show this to the individual at the start of the review.
4) Ensure that the room is arranged informally and is free from all interruptions - including the telephone - throughout the discussions.
5) Keep the discussions positive and use open questions to encourage discussion.
6) Ensure that any feedback you give supporting your assessment of an individual is specific (NOT – you did that well/badly!). Stick to observations and facts not inferences. Provide examples of when and how specific work standards were or were not met. If you cannot be specific and factual do not use it.
7) Avoid overstating your case – do not use words such as ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘every time’ and ‘all the time’. Using these words will overstate your points. Overstatements are invariably untrue and people tend to fight them.
8) Consider what training or personal development the individual has been undertaken in the past. How have they used their learning? What does this tell you about their commitment to learning and improvement?
9) When preparing a learning plan, make sure it doesn’t cover more than the next 12 months. It should also concentrate upon the areas of highest priority, where progress and success can be demonstrated. Above all, a plan should be practical and realistic. It is misguided to believe that an overwhelmingly comprehensive plan is better. Such plans are likely to prove very daunting and tend to be put aside as soon as work pressures increase. It is far better to have a small-scale plan that is achievable and can be regularly updated.
10) Finally, avoid "back-to-back" meetings. Give yourself time to reflect on what has been said and also time to prepare for the next meeting.

Performance appraisals will always be a source of challenge and pressure for a manager. However, an effective appraisal is a vital part of improving an employee’s performance. By following the hints and tips above, your chances of getting the right result will be dramatically improved.

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Developing People offer first class management training and development, with a business training course for every level of personnel, helping you increase productivity through employee training, leadership training