Creating a Step by Step Coaching Plan

Before effective coaching can take place, a step by step coaching plan must be established. Rather than you writing a plan, both you and the person you’re coaching need to jointly identify a set of goals and activities. This ensures that both parties will be invested in the plan’s success and move you away from the coach/client relationship and towards the peer-to-peer relationship of coaching.

Creating a Step by Step Coaching Plan

Understanding Your Client’s Coaching Needs

Coaching focuses on developing, not “fixing” the person being coached. It is a fluid relationship that can be initiated by either the person who sees an opportunity to help (the coach) or by the person looking for help (the coachee). 

One of the keys to successful coaching is the ability to foster self-motivation. This requires a coach who understands the elements of motivation and de-motivation in their coachees and their impact on behaviours. Creating a coaching plan can help establish clear expectations that are communicated well and supported with timely oversight.

A Step by Step Coaching Plan

Regardless of whether you’re coaching an executive who aims to excel at work or an individual who is facing a midlife crisis, formalizing a step by step coaching plan is useful. When goals and expectations are clearly defined in the coaching plan, your coachees are given the tools to perform above their previous potential. Here’s how you can develop your step by step coaching plan:

  1. Set the tone. If you’re initiating the relationship, know that coaching isn’t a sign that the coachee is lacking in some skill or doing something wrong. In fact, coaching means that you see hidden potential in the coachee and are invested in their success.
  2. Establish the goals. You and your coachee must set the goals for the relationship. As the coach in the relationship, you have two responsibilities in goal setting. One is to identify the goals you would like to see the coachee achieve. The other responsibility is to solicit from the coachee what goals they want to work toward. Without your active solicitation, you may end up being the only person setting the goals, which moves you back to the coach/client relationship.
  3. Set responsibilities. The two of you must then decide how you can help each other develop. As a coach, you have an additional responsibility beyond what you agree to in this part of the plan. You must also model the desired behaviors you want to see—you must “walk your talk.” If you don’t model the behaviour you want to help develop, then your credibility and your effectiveness as a coach are diminished.
  4. Define the process. At a minimum, the two of you must decide when, where and how often you’ll meet to check in with each other. One caveat: coaching isn’t about friendship. You can be friendly, but coaching is about improving performance. As part of deciding how you’ll work together, you must also decide how you’ll address conflict or disagreement.
  5. Acknowledge the results you will get. You’ll probably learn a great deal from the coaching relationship. Make sure that you acknowledge the benefits that you expect to get. For instance, being able to have “difficult” conversations (conversations that include constructive criticism) is an invaluable skill. If you intend to develop that skill as part of this coaching relationship, point out that you will be using this opportunity to practice in a safe environment.
  6. Establish benchmarks. The plan must include clear “measures of progress” or benchmarks and a schedule of when those measures will be met. Benchmarks provide both of you with markers to determine how well things are progressing. However, be aware that not reaching the benchmarks isn’t a sign of failure—it just means that things might need to be adjusted or course correction may be needed.
  7. Review the relationship. When looking at a course correction or a major achievement, take the time to assess if the coaching relationship should continue. If you decide to discontinue the formal coaching relationship, be sure to debrief both the work you did together and how the coaching experience played out for each of you.

As successful coaching collaborations grow and thrive, your work becomes more productive and less stressful—knowing that all your coachees are being given the tools and following your step by step coaching plan to take things to the next level. Ultimately, your role as a coach is to create individuals with improved skills who can thrive in life or at work.

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Jeannie Cotter
Editor/Writer
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

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