Dear Manager, coaching isn’t your ‘night job’

Whenever I lead Zoomly’s ‘How to coach your people’ workshop, there are a few things we need to clear up early on. For starters, what coaching is – and isn’t (for example, mentoring, counselling, consulting to name a few). After that, a perfectly reasonable question always comes up: When on earth am I supposed to… Read more

Ask or tell? Which works best?

    One of the first things that any decent coaching course will cover is the ‘ask-tell’ continuum. Over on the far right we tell people things – from a straightforward answer through to details of what to do and how to do it. On the left we ask them. Both have their uses; each… Read more

1:1s with your team – worthwhile or waste of time?

  What’s your reaction to that question: do you relish the time you spend having a 1:1 conversation with one of your team members to discuss their progress? Or do you find 1:1s a waste of time, a tick-box exercise? Or maybe, you find 1:1s a little uncomfortable? Welcome to your job. If you’ve progressed… Read more

Reflection exercises: writing from the future

Reflection is essential to make sense of our everyday lived experiences. Without reflection, we’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over. Reflection helps us process our experiences, thoughts and feelings; we can spot patterns of behaviour that may be helpful or unhelpful. With methodical reflection we can begin to plan new and more… Read more

Tools for mentors and mentees

Q. Why do mentors and their mentees need tools? A. Because in a professional context, mentoring isn’t ‘just a chat’: it’s a process through which people gain clarity, insights and self-knowledge, enabling mentees to achieve goals. If you’re a newcomer to mentoring (mentor or mentee), I recommend you read my posts ‘Essential questions mentors need… Read more

Boost your team’s confidence with coaching

A question I sometimes hear from participants in Zoomly’s workshops is ‘How can I convince someone to step up?’ When we explore this it’s often the case that the person in question seems to lack confidence – even though their manager sees them as very capable. For example, they: Seek approval for every step of… Read more

Improve your appraisals with one small word

Something that’s been coming up in Zoomly’s workshops recently is goals. Not in a good way; we’re talking about goals that are unclear, too vague and utterly unhelpful. Whether the topic is appraisal discussions, coaching skills for 1:1 conversations or simply giving feedback (yes, you can have a Zoomly workshop on each of those topics),… Read more

Is coaching right for you?

1. What’s your understanding of ‘coaching’? Maybe you know someone who’s worked with a professional coach; it may have been on an aspect of their personal life, or to focus on their performance and success at work. As the ‘coachee’ (clunky word, but we know what it means) told you how it was working for… Read more

When to coach (and when not to)?

It’s great when participants on Zoomly’s ‘How to coach your people’ workshop start to see the difference they can make when they add a coaching approach to their toolkit. They experience the power of switching from being in ‘tell’ mode all the time to ‘ask’ mode. Indeed they can get a bit evangelical and want… Read more