Effective Coaching, What Are The Coachee’s Responsibilities?


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Lots of us write about coaching, I’m in the middle of a series on coaching, but I haven’t read anything about the responsibilities of the “coachee,”  the person being coached, Since the coaching process is two way, a dialog, the person being coached has to hold up his or her end of the bargain, otherwise coaching is not effective.

The best coaching sessions I’ve been a part of, is where there has been a strong give and take on the part of both the coach and the coachee.  Many of us have been part of bad coaching sessions.  Perhaps it’s our manager commanding us–telling us what to do, not answering our questions, then leaving–probably to “coach’ one of our peers.  These hardly qualify as coaching.  Maybe it’s been the manager who just went to a class on non directive coaching, and they pummel us with questions, leaving us to ponder the path to enlightenment, but not really getting it.

Coaching requires engagement on both the part of the coach and the coachee.  So what’s this mean to the coachee?

Active listening is critical for the coachee.  Trying to understand what the coach is saying, probing and digging deeper to make sure what is being heard is what is being said.  Playing back what the coach is saying to clarify.  Asking for clarification, asking for examples are all critical for the coachee in listening.

Pushing back and challenging the coach is an important part of the coachee’s responsibilities–and an expectation coaches should have.  By pushing back, I don’t mean to be resisting, but pushing back to explore the issues more deeply, to look at alternatives, to enrich the conversation, to help clarify thinking on both the part of the coach and the coachee.  In great coaching, both the coach and the coachee learn and explore new things together.  Healthy push back and challenging creates greater results for each person involved in the process.

Commitment on the part of the coachee is critical.  The coachee must be committed to being coached and engaged in the process.  Additionally, the coachee must commit to and own whatever agreements or changes may result.  Coaching is about reinforcing good behaviors–looking at how you might do better, changing incorrect behaviors, trying new things, developing new skills.  If the coachee does nothing after being coached, then a tremendous opportunity has been lost.  Too often, I observe good coaching going on, but then people revert back to doing things the way they were before.  Coaching is not about idle conversations, but it is about accomplishing something, it’s about constantly improving performance.

What have I missed?  What other responsibilities does the coachee have to really get the greatest value and growth from coaching?

I wonder, do these responsibilities also apply to the coach?  Somehow it seems like a good idea.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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