A Simple Formula for Coaching

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September 5, 2012

One of the most frequently asked questions coaches ask is "How do I really know if I'm coaching?"  Using a simple formula focuses a coach on what is most important and sets the stage for staying in the coaching role.  Here's the formula:
a simple coaching formula

Relationship + Intention + Purpose = Coaching.

Each of the three variables on the left side of the formula have to be right or you're probably not coaching.  Let's look at each.

Relationship:  First and foremost, coaching is a relationship.  Because of that it has to work like every other relationship between two people.  When things are going well, celebrate but don't get careless and take the relationship for granted.  When things are not going well, do what you need to do to make the relationship right--even if that means admitting you're wrong!  Any experienced coach can think of several powerful situations where a coach owned some bad process in the coaching relationship which set the stage for much higher levels of effectiveness later on!   Because people are involved, coaching relationships work just like other relationships.

Intention is where coaching is different from other relationships.  Both leader and coach have to be committed to using their coaching relationship for a set(s) of intentional outcomes.  You are leveraging your listening and asking questions toward what the leader wants to accomplish.  You choose ahead of time to make your relationship--or this part of your relationship--about what the leader wants to accomplish.  A lack of distinct and clear intentionality is what often throws off track a coaching relationship between people who knew each other before coaching.

Purpose builds on intention and relationship.  The leader--or person being coached--has to be able to name what they want to accomplish.  Without a clear purpose in a coaching relationship, the likelihood of getting nowhere goes up!  The purpose can be anything--from losing weight to planting a church--but the clearer the purpose of the relationship the more effective it will be!

So get at it!

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