When coaching someone to improve, improvising rarely works to your advantage. It’s better to rely on a proven system to guide your actions.
The right system enables you to plan what you say and how you say it. By mapping out your approach, you can communicate with confidence and increase your ability to help others succeed.
One of the simplest, most reliable coaching systems boils down to three steps:
1. Define the issue. Why are you coaching someone in the first place? What problem are you helping that person solve?
Identify the challenge that’s front and center. Work with the person to characterize the situation accurately and fully so that there’s no ambiguity about why you’re stepping in as a coach.
2. Describe the action you’ll take. To help someone improve, you must choose an effective strategy. Examples include demonstrating a better technique, giving a lecture or arranging for the individual to run a series of experiments.
Weigh what tactic might work best for that particular person. Some people respond well to praise, while others catch on if given a pep talk or a chance to observe you modeling the right way to proceed.
3. Measure the results. Hold yourself accountable as coach by tracking the outcome. To what extent did your efforts lead the person to improve? Did the situation resolve itself in a satisfactory manner?
— Adapted from Million Dollar Maverick, Alan Weiss, Bibliomotion.