The relationship between the coach and the coachee is extremely important and can affect learning in a constructive or destructive way. There needs to be rapport, trust and agreement as the foundation to the relationship.
As you identify the individual learning needs, it is also an important time to get to know them. Notice how quickly they speak and whether they describe things in much detail. This will give you important information. For example, if you are working with someone who speaks very quickly and hates detail, they are unlikely to appreciate lengthy, slow, detailed explanations of how things work. Building a relationship with this person may mean matching, or moving closer in your style towards their natural style.
In developing people they are likely to be trying out new things and won’t always get it right first time. You will need to encourage them without patronising them and direct them without doing it for them. This is the challenge of coaching.
Before you start coaching, ensure that the following have been agreed:
- You both have clear and agreed objectives
- To be in a coaching relationship with each other
- You are competent to coach in this area and they have confidence in you.
If any of these criteria are not possible to meet, see if there is another way of approaching the situation or indeed a more appropriate coach available in the team.