A Coaching Conversation Checklist for Smart Managers

In spite of wide-spread coach training, most of the time managers aren’t using coaching skills to grow and develop their people. Instead, many managers still believe their role is that of a problem solver, cutting short conversations with employees by providing solutions, advice, and answers.

I often observe managers who don’t use coaching conversations in the work I do in organizations. Yet managers who do use a coaching style usually find that their employees are more committed, willing to put in greater effort, and are less likely to leave.

“Clearly, the benefits of building a coaching culture and increasing the effectiveness of coaching are great. There are both tangible benefits (increased employee engagement and productivity) and intangible benefits (improved culture and finding meaning and purpose in work).” ~ John H. Zenger and Kathleen Stinnett, The Extraordinary Coach: How the Best Leaders Help Others Grow, McGraw-Hill, 2010

In spite of learning coaching skills, many managers struggle to have effective coaching conversations that lead to insights and change. A checklist for coaching conversations can help.  Zenger and Stinnett suggest using the FUEL model in The Extraordinary Coach:

  • F = Frame the Conversation.  Set the context by agreeing on the discussion’s purpose, process, and desired outcome.
  • U = Understand the Current State.  Explore the current state from the coachee’s point of view. Expand the coachee’s awareness of the situation to determine the real coaching issue.
  • E = Explore the Desired State.  Help the coachee to articulate a vision of success in this scenario.  Explore multiple alternative paths before prioritizing methods of achieving this vision.
  • L = Lay Out a Success Plan.  Identify the specific, time-bounded action steps to be taken to achieve the desired results. Determine milestones for follow-up and accountability.

Are you using checklists or frameworks in your work? I’d love to hear from you!  I can be reached here and on LinkedIn.

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