A “Living Guide” of Coaching Steps

Life coaching is a rewarding exercise for employees. Payne (2007) states that employees are coached aiming to enhance their performance, to motivate them, and reduce turnover. Coaches tend to use a “living guide,” also referred to as the “introductory talk”, prior to the formation of a client-coach relationship. In the initial period, the coach reviews every step to ensure cohesiveness and interactive trainee programs (Parsloe & Leedham, 2016). For a successful coaching process, having strategies to tackle various stages, and the knowledge of the skills to apply is vital. After the introductory conversation occurs, the enrollment conversation follows where the coach gets to know a little about the client (Payne, 2007). Elements learned at such a stage include the client’s needs and wants. As Rosha (2014) notes, every coaching step is organized in a way to attain the client’s confidence in allying with his/her coach. With such conversation, a foundation for the instructor and the trainee is established. This paper adopts Payne (2007) seven steps that include;

1. Communicating expectations

2. Accessing the learner’s capability and motivation level

3. Defining the coaching purpose

4. Signing the coaching process contract

5. Conducting coaching talks

6. Creating a coaching plan

7. Monitoring and learning

Step 1: Communicating Expectations

Coaching in a workplace involves the employer talking to the employees about his/her expectations. Employers’ expectations touch on performance, growth, and acquiring of skills. As Payne (2007) argues in his work, influential coaches ensure that they effectively communicate their expectations to the employees. Apart from the coach communicating his/her expectations, the employees can also strive to know the coach’s expectations. They can do so through checking what pleases the coach, what irritates him/her and examining his/her management style. The skills that the coach requires in this step include communication and questioning skills. In this case, the coach should know how to listen effectively and respond to the coachees’ queries and concerns (Parsloe & Leedham, 2016). 

Step 2: Accessing Coachees’ Competence and Motivational Level

Apart from communicating expectations, the coach should effectively analyze the trainee’s competency and motivational level. When a coach succeeds in this, they can effectively give specific instructions to various trainees. The below image shows the nine skill and motivation levels that coaches should categorize his/her trainers. The coach, in this case, requires analysis skills. With such skill, coaches effectively analyze the coachee’s competence and motivational levels.


Step 3: Define the Coaching’s Purpose

Coaching also refers to a conversation with a purpose. Once the skills have accessed, the coach should go ahead to check what the trainees are missing that he/she can offer. Through establishing the coaching purpose, both the coach and the trainees get focused. Examples of coaching purposes include building skills, developing talents, problem-solving, assisting employees in overcome conflicts, and enhancing the employees’ commitment and achievement. Effectively handling this step will require a coach that has excellent planning skills. 

Step 4: Consent on the Coaching Contract

In coaching, every coach-coachee relationship tends to be different. In such a case, contracting, which either can be formal and informal, is crucial. When creating a contract, the coach and the trainee should list coaching goals, schedule, coaching meetings duration, the length of the coaching relationship, coaching format, among other elements. The knowledge on how to formally or informally draft a contract is required in accomplishing this step.

Step 5: Conduct Coaching Conversations

In doing so, the coach should use both listening and questioning techniques. As Cook (2011) argues, such conversations defer from regular communication since one has to be committed to discussing the topic. In training, the coaching should prepare for various discussions, including appraisal, teaching, encouraging, and commitment, correcting, and probing conversations. 

Step 6: Crafting a Coaching Plan

After the above five steps, the coach should look forward to creating a coaching plan. Before beginning the coaching process, the coach should summarize the discussion points and review options. In this case, the coach and the coachee should work together to come up with a realistic action plan. Such a plan should have six elements that include action, anticipated results, coaching end dates, resources, support, and the category review. Applying this step will require coaching to learn skills in drafting a coaching plan (Payne, 2007). Additionally, listening and questioning skills will also enhance the step.

Step 7: Monitor and Learn

The last coaching step involves monitoring the coaching process and learning. In such a step, the coach monitors what is happening with the coachee. Later, he/she plans on how to help them in the subsequent coaching processes (Payne, 2007). Various exercises that the coach can engage in to monitor the coachee’s progress include checking if the trainee is monitoring new skills, observing whether the trainee is fulfilling new responsibilities, and keeping track of instances where the coachee took initiatives and seized opportunities. This step requires a coach to have excellent monitoring skills. 

Effective coaches ensure that they communicate their expectations to the employees. When such is done, chances of miscommunication are minimized that offer the two (coach and coachee) a good start. Through such communication, the coach gets a chance to diagnose the coachees’ competence and motivational level.  After this diagnosis, the coaching purpose is found, and the signing/agreeing on the coaching contract happens. Afterward, coaching conversations occur, and a coaching plan created. Later, implementing the steps, monitoring and learning happen that tend to guide subsequent coaching processes.


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Cook, S. (2011). Coaching for high performance: How to develop exceptional results through coaching. Norwood Mass: Books24x7.com.

Parsloe, E., & Leedham, M. (2016). Coaching and Mentoring: Practical Techniques for Developing Learning and Performance. Kogan Page.

Payne, V. (2007). Coaching for High Performance: EBook Edition. New York, NY, USA : Amacom.

Rosha, A. (2014). Peculiarities of Manifestation of Coaching in Organisations. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 110(2014), 852-860. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.12.930Bottom of Form