The learning process demands a shift from a position of lack of knowledge to a position of knowledge adequacy. This, therefore, requires the analysis of past mistakes and learning from them in order to improve performance in future. Reflection offers the coach and the trainee an opportunity to review their current performance and identify areas in need of improvements (Hargreaves and Page, 2013, p.38).
Reflection can occur before, during, or after practice to enable the assessment of the learning process. Reflection questions are useful in evaluating progress when the coach and the trainee attempt to respond based on their personal experiences. This ensures the personal involvement of parties in the learning process by involvement of their personal feelings, opinions, and experiences. This paper intends to discuss the principles of coaching and their application in the coaching process as well as the reflection of a coach’s journey.
Communication involves the passing of information from one individual to another and the receiving of feedback. The coach needs to recognize the important role played by effective communication when passing ideas and instructions to the trainee (Dembkowski et al., 2006, p.87). He or she needs to understand the personality of the individual in order to determine the most efficient mode of passing information.
Written message, face-to-face conversations, and practice exercises are all communication methods available to the coach. Before communicating, the coach needs to identify the objective of the communication and the key ideas that he intends to inform the trainee. This prevents confusion and misunderstandings that may arise if the coach is not clear on the information. The coach then identifies the most appropriate communication medium to pass the message and to receive feedback from the person undergoing training.
Sometimes, however, the coach need not say a word and actions may adequately communicate his message. In interacting with learners, I ensure the presence of open communication channels between us to encourage them to air their opinions. I offer them my personal contacts and encourage the use of social media since the modern society is very keen on using this platform. I give them instant feedback to encourage continuous communication with them. Communication skills are therefore important assets to a coach since they determine the success of the coaching process (Ulrich, 2007, p.20).
Goal Setting and Motivation
Coaching is a process that involves both the coach and the individual under training hence both are relevant parties to the process. Before the commencement of a coaching session, they need to discuss the purpose of the session and the major objectives (Downey, 2003, p.101). Setting of goals keeps their eyes on the price and acts as a key motivator to the accomplishment of the goals.
The goals have to follow the SMART principle that requires a goal to possess the qualities of specific, measurable, realistic, and time- bound. A goal with these qualities is attainable and not over-ambitious which are the key enemies to goal achievement. The coach guides the trainee in designing the goals by suggesting the possible learning objectives and indicating the contents of the coaching sessions.
Through this, the trainee can derive major objectives that act as a guide to the learning process. He highlights areas in which he requires additional knowledge and those that pose as challenges to the process. I offer learners an opportunity to design their learning objectives before the commencement of a coaching session. I then design learning activities that would facilitate the achievement of the objectives. At the end of the sessions, I encourage feedback on their opinions regarding the learning process.
I use the feedback to improve the next coaching session and once again obtain feedback on the level of performance. Setting goals together enhances teamwork between the two parties and motivate them towards attaining a high level of performance and accomplishment. It also boosts that confidence of the trainee and instills a competitive attitude motivated by achieving the goals or event outperforming them.
The individual receiving training is the most important stakeholder in the coaching process hence the need to ensure his complete involvement (O’connor and Lages, 2007, p.80). He needs to indicate his objectives of the sessions and highlight areas that he requires most training. Involving the trainee ensures the success of the process since it maintains focus on the individual. The coach needs to study him and identify his strengths and weaknesses in order to speed up the process and make it effective.
Even when dealing with a numbers of trainees, the coach must develop a relationship with each one of them in order to understand their point of view on various learning issues. As a coach, I ensure that I know every learner on a personal level in order to identify his or her personalities and attitudes in life. This acts as a guide when designing learning activities in order to allocate one that suits them. Coaching, therefore, revolves around the individual and the sessions must be tailor made to suit his preferences, strengths, and weaknesses.
Confidentiality and Trust
Successful coaching operates in the same manner as a social relationship where the coach and the trainee create a personal relationship (Fuoss and Troppmann, 2005, p.91). Through interaction at a personal level, the coach learns a lot about the individual mostly with an aim to determine the most effective learning approach for him. The issue of confidentiality arises in this case since a problem may arise in the event that the information leaks to others.
Betraying the trainee’s trust may disrupt the coaching process and may lead to the trainee quitting the process. During and after the coaching sessions, I avoid discussing an individual with other learners to avoid breaking the level of trust they place in me as their coach.
Building and maintaining trust in the relationship between the coach and the trainee assures professionalism in the learning process. This encourages the trainee in sharing his concerns and suggestions that may propel the process while extending appreciation for the coach’s efforts. Confidentiality and trust therefore play a major role in enhancing the relationship between the parties to the coaching process and ensuring its success.
Reflection on Delivery of a Coaching Session
A coaching session begins with the prior preparation of notes that cover the key points in need of addressing during the session (Cartwright and Scisco, 2004, p.64). Before the session, I would, therefore, prepare notes that cover the learning objectives, learning procedures and the activities of the session.
Time is an important factor, and I would apportion time for each activity to ensure incorporation of all activities within the time allocated for the session. I ensure every session begins with the engagement of the trainee through greetings, pleasantries, and setting the mood for a highly interactive session. This opens the platform for the trainee to feel at ease and communicate effectively.
Next, the session’s objective would follow, and I would introduce the topic of concern to mark the beginning of the learning process. I would then begin the activities designed for the session and ensure completion within set time. At this point, I take a minute to ask the trainee on his opinion regarding the exercise in order to find out the areas of weakness and strength.
This indicates areas that require more attention in an attempt to attain the session’s goals. I make a keen observation on the reaction of the trainee and the level of enthusiasm while tackling various tasks. Through this, I can identify the activities that motivate the learner in order to use them in improving the efficiency of the learning process. I can also gauge the level of performance for each activity featured in the session. I then record scores for every activity and inform the learner on his performance at every stage.
The learner gives feedback on the challenges they faced in performing various tasks giving them the opportunity to acknowledge the need for improvement. At the end of the session, I collect information on the views and opinions of the learner regarding the facilitation of the session. I enquire on their suggestions for improvement of the learning process, activities they would like incorporated into the session, and I ensure incorporation of these suggestions in the design of the coaching plan for the next session. Finally, I reflect on my performance during the session and evaluate the overall progress of the learning process.
Coaching like other teaching processes is an exciting experience that varies from one session to another. As a coach, I take the process as a learning experience for me and the trainee. Coaching is a fulfilling career since the success of the learner in acquiring intended knowledge is the success of the coach. I have experienced clients who have very low self-confidence at the beginning and improve their confidence as the coaching progresses (Davis, 2014, p.44).
The trainees I have had under my care always turn out better than they came into the program because I ensure that each the sessions cater for their personal differences. I develop a personal relationship with the learners to understand their needs and attitudes towards learning. Through this, I can identify learning activities to use on each learner for them to exploit their potential to the maximum. I have learned that active involvement of the learner in planning and conducting the coaching sessions is the key to successful coaching.
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Davis P. A,. 2014. The psychology of effective coaching and management. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
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