Asking for the “Conversation Outcome” is only the first step in determining the end result of the conversation. Next you need to help the coachee think through what he wants to work on, and determine the outcome for the conversation. Through dialogue, the coach and coachee shape the outcome into something that is both useful for the coachee and achievable during the coaching conversation.
Look at the example below to see how the coachee’s outcome is brought into sharper focus with a few additional questions.
Coach: “What would you like to work on?”
Coachee: “I want to grow in my relationship with my wife.”
Coach: “That’s a big topic! What part of this would you like to talk about to move you forward this week?
Coachee: “I want the relationship we had when we were first married.”
Coach: “Could you give me a specific example of that kind of relationship?”
Coachee: “Sure. Everything was new and fresh. We had time for each other and it was exciting just to be together. It just doesn’t feel like that anymore. It seems like everything we do is focused on the kids or doing work around the house.”
Coach: “So, what result would you like to take away from our conversation?”
Coachee: “I want time together with my wife that’s focused on just us.”
Coach: “And what makes this topic meaningful for you?”
Coachee: “I feel like we’re drifting apart, and don’t like it.”
Coach: “What does moving together rather than drifting apart look like?”
Coachee: “We would be together. Not just physically, but mentally present. We’d be growing more internally connected, at a heart level. Right now we’re just dividing up the tasks of running our family.
Coach: “So, in a nutshell, what do you want?”
Coachee: “I would like to create a plan to help me and regularly connect in heart and mind with my wife.”
Coach: “All right.”
In this example the coachee gives two general answers: “I want to grow in my relationship with my wife” and “I want the relationship we had when we were first married.” It took a few questions to reveal the coachee’s actual goal of connecting at a deeper level with his wife. Most likely the coachee wasn’t fully aware that connecting with his wife in heart and mind was his real need. Already, the coaching process produced additional clarity for the coachee. If the coach had not continued digging for the desired outcome, the conversation may have moved to any number of other aspects of his marriage rather than the result the coachee actually desired.
Use questions to explore, clarify, and focus the coachee’s topic, problem, or goal. As the coachee defines his intended results through a dialogue, he increases his own awareness and gains clarity on the issue even before thoroughly discussing the topic. Just defining an outcome is often a welcome relief for an overwhelmed coachee.
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