Tailor your coaching – one size doesn’t fit all

Tailor your coaching – one size doesn’t fit all

Nurturing your team to grow can come in many different guises. But getting better isn’t always a simple process, and ensuring you have a clear plan for coaching in place can help make it much smoother all round.

Many business experts consider coaching a necessity; no matter what stage of your career or business journey you are at, coaching helps maximise your potential.

What is coaching?

Well, let’s discuss what it isn’t – telling people what to do. By giving people the answers, they’ll never have the room to grow. But giving them the right tools, and empowering them to ask the right questions (both of themselves and the people around them – including you as a line manager), will allow them to flourish.

Coaching should be embedded into your culture, and it can be done with various different methods, from one-to-one engagement with your team, to books (not unlike the one you’re reading now) that share tried and tested methods, to hiring specialised coaches, dependent on the areas you want to focus on.

One size doesn’t fit all

Your team will be made up of different people with different skills and experience, and different personalities too. Why would you try and use the same methods with one as you would with another?

Does a football coach work in the same way as a life coach?

There is no one method that will work for everyone, and it’s important to tailor the training required to each person. Think about the job role and the person in it. What skills are they lacking or might they need to improve on in order to both grow themselves and your business?

This fits in and sits nicely with the PDP. If you apply the coaching plan to the specifics of what each person requires, not only will it be more effective, but your team member will be more engaged.

Understand who you’re coaching and engage with them on a personal level. Trust me, it’ll work

What is good coaching?

Educating your team isn’t something you should do in isolation. All coaching should come back to the needs of the business and your overall goals. What are you trying to achieve? Where are you headed? What about skill gaps that coaching could seek to close? When you know that, then you can think about the direction and aims of your coaching.

Let’s use the example of wanting better communication in the workplace. First you need to think about what people are doing, and what they aren’t doing. Is it that your team aren’t talking to one another or not asking the right questions? It’s often a mindset change that needs to be embedded to make a difference, but this can’t be done until you’ve identified what it is that needs to change.

Remember, as I said above, coaching isn’t about telling people what to do, but rather giving them the tools to understand what needs to be done, and see them through to that point.

The best coaching out there will build confidence in your team. Think about ways you can use coaching to recognise achievement and their efforts in their work.

Listen, listen, listen – opening a dialogue for feedback, both given and received, is one of the most important things about coaching.

Don’t stop at the top!

Do you think there’s a point where you’ve learned all you can learn? Is there no way you can improve? Of course not. So why would you stop coaching team members when they hit a certain level? Does that mean you no longer want your business to grow?

An individuals development plan is something that must implemented continuously, both in line with a team member’s personal development plan, and the overall business growth aims.

Think about how small shifts in the right direction could equal big changes

in the long run.

It’s a two way street

Coaching goes both ways, and just as you are spending time to help a a team member grow, they can coach you in return. Opening a dialogue for conversation, giving people the opportunity to speak and challenge one another, can be a learning exercise for yourself as much as for the person you’re coaching.

It’s not about doing someone’s work!

Remember, it’s about growth and learning. Don’t fall into the trap as a coach of thinking it means you need to do someone’s work for them. You’re there to guide them and to help them improve, but ultimately, it’s their role to improve their skills and knowledge. If you’re doing it for them, they aren’t learning at all.

When was the last time you saw a football coach go on for a player at half time? It doesn’t help your team member improve if they’re sitting on the benches.

Dig a little deeper:

Visit The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) – the best source for coaching in the workplace, in my opinion. 

Chew on this:

Can you think of some barriers to effective mentoring and coaching?


Author: Safaraz Ali
My career began in the financial services sector and since 1999, I have been involved in the world of business. I am Head of Pathway Group, which is a workforce development solutions provider. Pathway Group specialise in apprenticeship training and recruitment. I also offer independent strategy, advice, and investment for a wide range of private business sector. These include: social care, education, training, and recruitment.