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Coaching Conversation Script

Friday, July 31, 2009

There are two common questions that many people ask us about leadership coaching.

One is, ‘What does a coaching conversation sound like?

The other is ‘How long does a typical coaching session last?

The answer to the second question is that coaching conversation can be managed in a structured, formal mode and may last from 30-90 minutes every few weeks. Or they might be short, on-the-run conversations that last only 3-6 minutes. The latter I sometimes call ‘corridor coaching’. Either way, the conversations are designed with a similar purpose: - to help the coachee ‘move forward’ with a particular issue or goal.

The following script demonstrates an example of how a ‘corridor coaching conversation’ might sound. The script also shows how the coach has applied our GROWTH coaching structure, even in an informal situation such as this.

Remember gci’s GROWTH coaching model looks like this:


Leadership Coach (LC) / Coachee (C):

LC Michael, I noticed you’ve seemed a little …..anxious lately. I’ve been concerned for you. What’s that about if you don’t mind me asking. (Build the relationship)
C Yeah well Jane…I’m so busy all the time. I never get time to myself to just stop, think and plan. I feel like I’m doing everything on the run.
LC That must be frustrating... How would you like things to be different?
C Look, even if I could somehow find ten minutes private thinking time, each day – with no interruptions, that would bring back a bit of sanity to my life!
LC OK. So we need to find you 10 minutes private thinking time each day…(“Goal” setting)
C Oh, that’d be great! Not sure it’s possible though. This place is so hectic.
LC Let’s imagine for a moment you could find it. What’s happening already that will help you find it? (“Reality” checking)
C …..I guess I get a couple of private minutes at lunch time most days. But before I know it, everyone comes in and starts asking me questions and needing stuff. You know, all the interruptions start.
LC Yeah, I know what you mean. Are there ways though we might be able to extend those couple of minutes at lunch to 10 minutes of extended thinking time each day? (Explore “Options”)
C Hmm…Well, I guess if I told everyone that I just needed that 10 minutes space each day, most of them would respect that…and maybe if they understood why I needed it, they wouldn’t mind if I closed my office door for that period….Yeah….that’d probably work.
LC Sounds like a couple of workable ideas Michael. And it also sounds like you could really take action on this. Would it work to start taking action this week?
C Actually, it would.
LC So what are you going to do exactly, to get your 10 minutes of thinking / planning time each day? (“Will” step – commit to an action)
C As we talk about it, I realise it’s not too much to ask, is it? I guess I will just explain to my team what and why I plan to take this time out each day. I’m sure they’ll understand. I probably won’t even need to close my office door. Within a few days, they’ll remember….I only want 10 minutes after all.
LC Great! So when will you have this chat with them? (“Tactics” step – how and/or when will you take action?)
C Tomorrow morning’s team meeting would be a good opportunity.
LC It does sound like a good opportunity to start! Let’s assume you explain this to them tomorrow morning and they agree to your request. How are you going to stick to this commitment over the coming weeks and months, particularly when things get really hectic and people start demanding more of your time? (“Habits” – forming questions)
C Actually that’s when I’ll need a bit of regular time-out so I can check that we’re managing things strategically….yet….I’m not sure. What do you think?
LC Well, put it this way. What’s the person you need to be more of to really follow through?
C …Hmm, knowing me, I need to be more determined and disciplined. Otherwise I could easily let others - as well as myself – distract me!
LC Great! More determined and disciplined …You can pull this off! Just think, this is going to give you over 3 hours extra planning time a month. How are you going to celebrate THAT achievement? (Celebrate success – to reinforce long term sustainability)
C Well, this all requires sort of a team effort. Maybe I could suggest to the whole team tomorrow morning that we go out for lunch together at the end of the month to celebrate. That way, they may even be inclined to help me stick to this.
LC Wow, I can feel a weight lifting off you.
C Yeah, it’ll make a huge difference to my sanity, for sure! I feel lighter already – thanks!

by Mandy O'Bree, Director gci