Captain Hindsight – Cliff Notes for Coaching – Staying on Track

What I’ve learning (and wish I had known in hindsight) about being a good coach is:

Staying on Track:

Create a checklist in OneNote of all the topics you’ve agreed to cover in the session.

If you see more than ten items on the list for a two hour coaching session, ask yourself if you’re being overly ambitious.

Open the list together at the start of the session to make sure you’re both on the same page before diving in. The scope may of changed since you last talked. Be flexible.

Pull up the list again at the half way mark to see how far you’ve gotten and plan out the last hour of your session.

If they ask you to cover something that is not on the list, be flexible. There is nothing wrong with a few quick tip and trick distractions.

For example, if you use a helpful keyboard shortcut during a session, and they get excited about it, take the time to walk them through how to use it. It may end up being the most useful time-saving tip that changes the way they work and boosts their productivity.

If their request is relevant, but not on the agenda then: pull up the checklist, start a new checklist called Wishlist, and ask them to prioritize it against the order of the items you have not covered yet. Be sure to be sincere when you do this. This isn’t a trick to keep them on track. It’s a legit way to manage scope change and to help you all stay focused.

This also helps you both with preparing a list of topics to cover at a future coaching session.

If their request is 100% not relevant or would take most of the session to cover then practice saying no without saying no.

Try saying: “Yes. I’d love to show you how to use Sway. Let’s add that to the topics list, and once we’re done all the SharePoint Online tasks, we can look at that too, if we have time.”

If their request is completely outside the scope of your knowledge, then be honest.

Try saying: “You know I’d love to learn how to configure Gmail to stay in sync with my Outlook calendar. That’s something I’d have to take some time preparing and testing before I’d be comfortable teaching it. We can research how to do it together if you like or we can save it for another session.”

This is the fourth of five ‘captain hindsight’ blog posts about things I wish I knew when I started coaching. Click here to read the other four posts in the blog series.