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Coaching in the Workplace

Understanding good Practice in workplace coaching.
1.1 Describe and define the purpose of workplace coaching:
The definition of ???Coaching??? can be different from person to person, and place to place. To be able to write this assignment, firstly I need to decide what my definition of coaching is. The term Coaching is relatively new in this context lacks as yet official defining standards and means different things to different people. There are many different definitions for example
???Unlocking a person??™s potential to maximise their own performance. It is “helping them to learn rather than teaching them,??? (Gallwey, 1975);? 
???A process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve,???? (Parsloe, 1999);
a flexible process ???whereby an individual, through direct discussion and guided activity, helps a colleague to learn to solve a problem or to do a task better than would be otherwise the case,??? (Megginson and Baydell, 1979);? 
As a recent recipient of coaching from a supervisor at work, I reflected upon my experience and decided that coaching, for me, was a chance (and maybe the first chance) for me to actually look at everything I have done in my life, to evaluate the experiences I have had and what skills I have acquired. At first, I felt quite selfish in doing the activities as they were all about me, me and more me. I soon relaxed into this and actually looked forward to the sessions and found that I was realising my potential and starting to map out a plan for my future.
For the purpose of my assignment I am going to concentrate on coaching as being an enabling activity and experience. In researching this it has helped me gain a better understanding of what is to be expected by my experience, but also to expand my knowledge base upon the subject. I believe that everyone??™s definition of coaching will be a different as it is a personal experience and that my idea of this will mainly be a type of reflection upon what I understand, interpret and see. One of the meanings of the word ???Coach??? is a moving vehicle, the idea of moving from A to B. This is along the lines of my though of the meaning of coaching and I hope to enable the person I am coaching to map out their person route and help them realise their destination is viable, even if they need to change buses on the way and try different buses/forms of transport to get there. Coaching is definitely about getting a result and helping our client through the problems they will face. There are many different types of coaching these include
* Life Coaching
* Sports coaching
* Health Coaching (occupational health)
* Conflict coaching
For this assignment I am concentrating upon coaching in the workplace. It is a short term and quite intense relationship (unlike mentoring) that is formed between two people. The coach??™s aim is to help their client through a process of activities and thought processes to help them give time to realise/unlock their potential to serve a mutually agreed purpose. There would be no point to meet with a client who really does not want to be coached it is therefore a two way process. It is a process where the coach will not be telling, but instead will be asking questions and holding purposeful conversations to help the client to reach and unlock their potential; helping the individual unlock and explore their ideas. Through analysis and explanation, the coach should facilitate the client to be able to formalise and understand their own ideas and to come to a solution. Coaching, however, should not just be to try to solve a problem that may come to light, it is about focusing upon the strengths and weaknesses of the individual and helping them realise how great they can (and they probably do not realise yet) and will be.
Coaching is not mentoring, supervising or counselling. In your coaching sessions you may find that this person would benefit from one of these and you can refer them onto these, but coaching is very unique. It relies on
* specific skills
* a one off sequence of sessions
* Immediate feedback is required
* Both people being focussed upon an activity
We are not teaching them new skills, we are just pulling out of them what is already there. They have the answers inside them, but have not had the time or the confidence to actually face these issues head on. It is a specific service for the clients benefit rather than for our benefit.
1.2 Explain the role and responsibilities of an effective workplace coach

To be an effective coach you must be able to build a strong purposeful relationship with your client and have a mutual respect for each other. The coach must be able to inspire their client to be able to think at their best and to practice their best. They must help the individual realise that they need to put something in to get something out and to help the client realise this themselves. We, as a coach must enable the client to question the norm and to support them so they feel they challenge assumptions made by and about them. We must show the client the benefits of effective reflection and how to use this. Areas that may be covered in sessions include
* Skills/development of
* Influence
* Persuasion
* Decision making
* Past experiences
* Cognitive thinking
Our ultimate aim as a coach is to enable a productive stream and path of conversation, provoking thought and reflection. Without training or mentoring them we are simply asking questions, where needed to bring out the potential in our client. At the end of this there should have been many thoughts shared expressed, questions and answers challenged and the client will have got to know themselves a lot better. The client should feel empowered, valued and in control of their hopes and plans; ultimately it should make them feel like they have been part of a purposeful and useful group of sessions with their coach, whom they have built a respectful relationship within a relatively short space of time.

1.3 Describe the behaviours and characteristics of an effective workplace coach.

To be an effective workplace coach, you must be a good listener, and a certain type of listener. To be able to be a good listener, you must also have someone to listen to and be able to help that person talk and hold a purposeful conversation around the client. There are four main types of listening these are
* Cosmetic
* Conversational
* Active
* Deep
Within coaching it should be a mix of the last three of these, and will dip in and out of them. When looking at behaviours and characteristics it is evident that sometimes the two can become intertwined. Ultimately behaviours are how we behave; they are normally measurable, observable and intuitive. Characteristics are not so measurable and are normally seen as an inert quality and are more of a description. Behaviours that are effective include; organised, attentive, empowering, confident and realistic. Characteristics of an effective coach may include; knowledgeable, observant, empathetic, realistic, respectful and patient.
As a coach we must be able to support the client, but to also challenge them and to encourage them to challenge themselves. Even though during the coaching, we are not ???Training/teaching??? them, it is understood that the coaching experience should be a learning experience for the client (and for the coach too in some circumstances). The client should feel comfortable with the sessions and both parties should be able to question each other and themselves but with compassion. By stretching the client (but not so as it becomes uncomfortable) we are helping their development enabling them to find a balance and to take them on a bit further in their hopes, plans and facilitation of this. As coaching is a two way process some characteristics of an effective client are

* Honest, realistic, challenging feedback.
* Good listening.
* Good action points ideas.
* Clear objectives.
* Accessibility, availability.
* Straight feedback.
* Competence, sophistication.
* Seeing a good model of effectiveness.

1.4 Explain how coaches should contract and manage confidentiality to coach ethically

The EMCC (European, mentoring and coaching council) was established to promote best practice and to ensure that the highest standards are met. They promote ethical ways to coach effectively by explaining why there needs to be a contract in order to protect the client and the coach. When designing your contract we use the word ???Client??? is the person using the service of a coach. The word client can be renamed (i.e. colleague, learner) if this is more comfortable/acceptable. The term ???Coach??? is the person embarking upon providing a service (Coaching). When drawing up a contract we should adhere to the following
* Working in a dignified way
* Provide best service without causing the client any harm (in any way)
* Respect diversity and promote equality
* Competency (do I know enough)
* Reality of service provided (May need to signpost client)
* Professional
* Context (For both parties)
* Integrity/confidentiality
This covers a vast amount of factors to be taking into consideration. The first thing we must decide is who to coach. It is advised that you know this person, that you like them and that they are willing to be coached. The next step is to arrange a meeting and draw up a contract. Much of what we do in coaching will be verbal, but a contract must be in place prior to coaching to facilitate a meeting we must decide a time and a place for a first meeting that suits both parties. Whether this is in the setting where they work or somewhere else will be dependent upon the place where you work. In this first meeting you will ensure the person has the commitment to come to and do some work for a number of sessions. In doing this they are letting you know if they are suitable and willing to be contracted in this two way process. When drawing up a contract it is essential that the following factors are considered and raised by the coach, but mutually decided

* What is acceptable to both parties
* What they feel comfortable with and not
* Are they happy to talk with me/am I the right coach
* Are they right to be coached
* Is the topic for coaching relevant and SWAT
* Time we meet is protected
* Away/at the workplace
* Booking a room if needed
* The best place to coach is??¦..
* Appropriate time and way of contact
* Professional rather than friendly boundaries
* What is recorded and why
We are still duty bound in the form of safeguarding and must raise this issue with the client. Even though we tell the client that what we will say will remain confidential and we will respect their confidentiality, we are still professionals and if anything said raises questions in safeguarding issues we will have to report it to the relevant people. Above all we must ensure that in the design of our coaching we act behave in a way that reflects the following qualities so as to promote the professional nature of coaching,
* Integrity
* Honesty
* Transparency
* Excellence
* Care
* Professionalism
* Accountability
We as a coach have a duty of care towards our client and ensure they fully understand the coaching agreement and they have the right to stop the sessions at any time.

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