Here’s how we optimized our coaching engagements to communicate better, action plan better and measure better. You can do the same.
I was recently talking to a coach at a major global coaching company.
“How do your coachees create action plans?” I asked.
“I email my coachees a word document.” She responded.
“How do you and your coachees prepare for a coaching session?” I asked.
“I email another word document to my coachees a few days prior to a coaching session with pre-coaching session reflection questions so that was we can both be prepared.” She said.
“How do you measure your coaching results?” I continued.
“I email my coachees an excel spreadsheet. The coachee self assesses progress by periodically completing the spreadsheet throughout the coaching engagement.” She responded again.
Now, put yourself in the shoes of the coachee. Emails to search. Word documents to find. Excel spreadsheets to complete.
I used to do the same thing. It was all well intended and designed to make the coaching process more effective.
But it didn’t. I realized the confusion and lack of accountability and transparency that resulted.
There is a better way – for both you the coach and your coachees. And the intent of this blog post is to show you how to use Coachmetrix to optimize not just the measurement of your coaching engagement, but your entire coaching engagement from project startup to the engagement completion.
Here’s how we do it.
Our coaching engagements typically begin with an intake session where we gather a coachee’s goals, share expectations and co-create agreements. During this session, we let our coachees know that we use Coachmetrix as our one-stop portal for all project communication, action planning and measurement. No more searching through emails or looking for the latest resource. Everything is centralized in one location making it more efficient for the coach and coachee, enabling them to spend more of their valuable time actually coaching and being coached.
After the intake session, we send our Coaching Welcome Kit Resource that we created in Coachmetrix. We built this once and re-use it on every coaching engagement. It includes (1) our coaching agreements, (2) a leadership dashboard tool that our coachee will use throughout the coaching engagement, and (3) instructions on how to begin the verbal and online 360 process. You can create an unlimited number of Resources of your own, enabling you to automate your coaching process and re-purpose your content over time.
Data Gathering and Action Planning
Most of our leadership and executive coaching engagements progress toward a data gathering phase where we launch an online 360 process and/or conduct confidential verbal interviews. We present the results in a follow-up coaching session and help our coachees interpret the data. As fieldwork, coachees begin developing their action plan directly in Coachmetrix where they enter goals, behaviors they will track and additional details such as action items and support needed. We’ve found over the years that when action plans are paper based, 80% of participants failed to complete them in enough detail to be supportive of leadership change. Additionally, we often didn’t have the transparency or accountability to even know if they were completed or not. Coachmetrix makes it easy to get the plan online.
After our coachees have a draft action plan, we ask them to calibrate their action plans with their managers to ensure their coaching goals are aligned with business needs. Using a new feature in Coachmetrix, the coachee can email their action plan to their manager (or anyone they choose) directly from Coachmetrix.
Ongoing Communication Before, After and In Between
Throughout the coaching engagement, we use Coachmetrix as the main communication platform.
- Before each coaching session we create a discussion asking the coachee to reflect on key questions so that both the coachee and coach can be prepared.
- After each coaching session, we create a discussion in Coachmetrix with follow-up notes (notes, take-aways, plus/delta feedback, and other information from the session). We often upload whiteboard images, articles or other tools that were referenced in the coaching session.
- In between coaching sessions we check-in privately and securely online – adding value to the coaching process by providing the reinforcement and structure that is often lacking in traditional coaching. Best of all, it doesn’t take much time.
As the coaching engagement progresses, the coachee can go to their discussions page to see a nice stream of communication from the coach to coachee with pre-messages, notes, and check-ins. No more searching high and low for emails and random documents.
After a coachee’s action plan is finalized, it’s time to enroll others to help support the coachee make changes. We use a supporter involved approach, similar to the Stakeholder Centered Coaching Approach created by Marshall Goldsmith. In our approach, we enroll a small number of supporters who are willing to provide feedback and feedforward on how the coachee is progressing on their goals. This changes the measurement from a self-assessment only process to both a self and others assessment, providing a better indication on whether the coachee is moving the needle on true behavior change.
On a typical 6-month coaching engagement, we use six rounds of pulse feedback that are automatically emailed to each supporter every 30 days. The system even sends reminders when supporters haven’t completed their feedback. This gives the coachee the ongoing support they need to (1) change behavior and (2) accelerate the perception change others have of their leadership.
The coachee also has the ability to kick-off pulse feedback in real-time. For example, if one of the coachee’s goals is to “create an open environment of communication”, they may leave a meeting, pull out their mobile device and click “request pulse feedback”, sending a request to the supporters who attended the meeting.
Take Private Notes
After each coaching session we add coaching notes to Coachmetrix using the notes feature. The coach can do this at the project and individual coachee levels. Notes are private to the coach only, and if you have multiple coaches on a project, they remain private to the coach who created the notes.
How to Apply These Tools in Your Leadership Development and Coaching Programs
My intent is to share how Coachmetrix can help you make your coaching engagements more efficient and make the experience for your coachees smoother, easier and more valuable.
Coachmetrix is flexible enough to work with your coaching processes.
And, while there’s a short learning curve to get started, imagine managing all of your clients from one central platform.
You can always try your first project on Coachmetrix for free. It’s a small monthly investment to make a bigger impact with your clients and in this world.
As always, I’d love your perspective on how you run your coaching engagements.