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Article: How to Have Coaching Conversations that Ignite and Engage People
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Article: How to Have Coaching Conversations that Ignite and Engage People

By Cari Coats

MPACE Review: May 2018
Summary: Chrissy Conde

“Would it surprise you to know that employee engagement has hovered around 30% for years? That means that more than two-thirds of the American workforce is either coasting or significantly disengaged.” This article by Cari Coats, “How to Have Coaching Conversations that Ignite and Engage People,” highlights the importance of employee engagement and its effects on a team and business.  

The full article can be viewed at the following web address: 


Article Summary
Engagement is about creating that buy in, and establishing a culture of training and development. A team’s success is defined by “creating a coaching culture and teaching your leaders and managers to have a coaching conversation.”  Coats references utilizing the GROW model: Goal, Reality, Options and Wrap-Ups, to proactively engage and guide employees in having these candid coaching conversations. Managers can essentially practice the GROW model in any situation that benefits the employees development whether it involve solving issues that may arise, establishing and reaching career goals, and learning how to make better business decisions. 

The first step in any coaching conversation is about establishing a goal. You need to find out what is it that truly needs to be achieved, and make sure to discuss it through active listening and asking clarifying questions. In the reality stage, it’s about focusing on what’s currently happening versus what’s happened in the past, to figure out the who, what, where, when and why of the given situation. As you move into the problem solving phase, ideally this is where options are discussed with the employee. It’s more of an opportunity for them to carefully consider all their options so that they work to achieve the desired goal. It is not about telling them what to do as much as it is about empowering them to “think outside the box” and grow in the process. Wrap-up is the final stage of the GROW model and it is where you as the manager or leader will “gauge commitment and help the employee establish a plan.”  Once action steps are discussed, progress can be tracked and you can hold them accountable.

The GROW model can be a powerful framework in understanding the importance of crucial coaching conversations and its impact to the members of your team. It will take some time and practice until you and your management team builds confidence in the process. And although it won’t always be easy and “doesn’t follow a neat sequential path,” once you ‘ve got it locked down, not only will your team be more empowered and engaged, but it will also impact the overall success of the business as a whole.

Implications for Recruiting Professionals and Employers 
In today’s climate, in order to retain top talent, whether they are candidates or current employees, there has to be a practice of transparency. The GROW model assists in that practice of transparency and ultimately motivating these individuals to do what is right for the company. A manager who coaches candidates they are recruiting or employees on their team, they should see the potential, listen to them and work with them to nurture that potential.  Creating this coaching atmosphere instills motivation amongst a team and results in peak performance because they feel empowered to take ownership.

Implications for Career Center Professionals
Coaching conversations are very relevant in the field of academic advising and student development. The GROW model can also be implemented by career center professionals with students because it gives students an opportunity to really deepen and embrace their learning, take responsibility for their actions, improve their effectiveness and consciously create their own outcomes in their life. It relates back to that sense of transparency from the career center professionals, and the feeling of empowerment for the students. There are also certain skills that are learned through coaching conversations that are valued by employers, so this is a great opportunity to start building on those skills through the implementation of the GROW model in the personal development of students and their future.

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