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The Five Coaching Conversations: A Research-Based Model for Maximizing People’s Performance and Potential

There is a lot of talk about “coaching” in organizations these days, but that has not always been the case. Just a couple of decades ago, a “coach” was a person who worked with someone in a competitive endeavor, such as an athlete or a team of athletes. Then people realized that the role of a leader in an organization could be thought of as being like that of a coach, at least in some ways.

The comparison between “actual” coaches and “coaches” in organizations ultimately led to countless books and consultants offering approaches to coaching in the organizational context. But over the last several years the way coaching is viewed and practiced in organizations has morphed into a particular approach to interacting with people.

What’s more, this basic method does not always seem to look very much like what actual, successful coaches do. And, most important for coaches working in organizations today, this basic method does not always seem to resonate very well with real-life managers and leaders – people who are expected to be effective at coaching those whom they are responsible for leading.

The Five Coaching Conversations: A Research-Based Model for Maximizing People’s Performance and Potential offers a different way of thinking about coaching and defines a corresponding set of coaching skills that will help coaches in virtually any context to be as effective as possible, and to get the best possible results out of their people.

If you are ––
• A senior decision maker or influencer within an organization who wants to implement an internal coaching practice focused on leadership development and developing, supporting, and elevating human capital at all levels,
• An internal leader and/or coach wanting to expand beyond the theory and practice that dominates coaching in the organizational context today and use different diagnostics, and tools for coaching those you lead or support, or
• An external coach wanting ways to expand and enhance your own coaching practice.
–– you will learn what our Five Coaching Conversations look and sound like, and how and when to use each approach to achieve the outcome of growing and developing people you coach. As we walk you through our model and method, we challenge what we believe is the dominant, question-oriented approach to coaching in organizations today. Our position is that the questioning method is simply one approach to coaching, and there are several others that are equally valid.

Our approach consists of five basic and relatively distinct types of coaching conversations: Explaining, Exploring, Encouraging, Empowering, and Elevating. It is based on quantitative research into what successful coaches actually do and also on interviews with and experiences shared by leaders in various fields, including effective coaches who can point to a demonstrable track record of success when it comes to maximizing people’s performance––whether at the individual, the team, and/or the organizational level.

The Five Coaching Conversations emphasizes the outcomes of coaching throughout, in a way that illustrates how effective coaching is actually provided. The validity of the model and the power of its associated practices can enable anyone to successfully build competence, explore options, restore confidence, motivate, and achieve impact with those they support.

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