Coaching and mentoring are a way of life. We can turn any conversation into a mentoring opportunity by listening, asking good questions, helping people focus on what’s most important, and empowering them to take next steps (I address these four skills in my blog, Why Being a Mentor Isn’t as Scary as You Think). However, there is also a place for using these skills in structured coaching sessions where we intentionally engage in disciple-making conversations during several planned sessions.
In this blog, I will describe the five stages of a structured coaching conversation using the COACH Model for Christian Leaders by Keith Webb (you will notice that each stage corresponds to the letters in the word COACH).
Connect – build rapport and trust
Every mentoring conversation requires a meaningful connection, so that the other person is willing to share and explore possibilities. At the start of the session, it’s important to take time to build rapport, revisit goals from the previous session, and pray together.
- How have you been?
- What progress have you made on the action steps you identified the last time we spoke?
Outcome – find out what the person would like to discuss
In a coaching session, it is highly beneficial for the coachee to identify an outcome for the conversation. This helps focus the interaction on what’s most important to them, leading to better results. Asking good questions can probe beneath the surface of a presenting issue and uncover something that might be even more critical to discuss. Make sure that the outcome is achievable during the time you have together.
- What would be most helpful for us to work on today?
- What result would you like to take away from our conversation?
Awareness – discover more about the issues and current reality