Flexing Your Coaching Style

Effective coaches understand and manage power dynamics in the coaching relationship.  As a leader, you may have an opportunity to coach a peer, an employee, a boss, a client or a business partner.  Before engaging in the coaching conversation, consider the following:

  • Is there a ‘power imbalance’ in the relationship? If so, how will you manage this dynamic?
  • Do you have a vested interest in the outcome? If so, how will you balance supportive inquiry with the desire to advocate for a particular outcome?
  • Are you able to maintain strict confidentiality?
  • Given your responses to the above questions, is it appropriate for you to enter into the coaching conversation?

Flexing your coaching style

 Coaching leaders understand that the coaching process is all about empowering the person they are coaching. They get out of their own head and truly listen to the other person’s perspective. Coaching leaders flex their coaching style to meet the needs of the person being coached, using the following techniques:

 Clarify your intent to ‘empower’ (use the ‘power-to’ approach).

  1. Focus on the vision. What does the person being coached hope to accomplish?
  2. Respect the person’s ability to choose, to make their own decisions and to solve their own problems.
  3. Balance inquiry and advocacy to serve the best interests of the person being coached and
  4. Maintain strict confidentiality around the coaching conversation.

 “In the past a leader was a boss. Today’s leaders must be partners with their people…they no longer can lead solely based on positional power.” – Ken Blanchard


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