A Day in the Life of a Coach

Every time, I go to an organization for coaching, many wonder as to what do I do as a Coach and what are the various activities or tasks (Work Break Down Structure) for day? Also, many are curious about, how do I measure my work? In the 1st Article “Who is a Coach”, I spoke about being Coachable, a Student etc which are more like attributes needed for being a Coach.

In this article, I am trying to articulate how my average day would look like. Is this the final truth? Of course, Not, nor does it explain every point of how my day goes to in minute detail.

What we do depends on who is getting coached

Broadly speaking as Coach, I can split my work as follows for either an Individual, Team or Organization.

  1. Direct Coaching ( Related to their work )
  2. Soft Skill Coaching ( Related to their behaviors )
  3. Focusing around the Big Picture ( Making sure that all layers of the Organization are working for their Business Outcomes though it may differ from one to another person, team organization depending on the context. )

In this blog, I am focusing on the 1st Aspect of Direct Coaching. Direct Coaching happens when a Coach is involved in the Transformation journey of an Individual, Team or Organizational. Here the Coach usually starts from Training to Hand holding to Coaching in most scenarios for Organization or Team level.

This does change especially when it comes to an Individual. Here there may or may not be a formal Training nor may be a on the job Hand holding. It may or may not happen and also though the approach does not change the technique may vary.

Direct Coaching

Let’s look at Direct Coaching in detail which broadly has the following things common:

  1. Training
  2. Mentoring
  3. Hand holding
  4. Coaching
  5. Motivating
  6. Negotiating

So now let’s look at the first aspect Training:

For me training could be defined as simple as a 30 minutes talk with an Individual or a 2-day classroom session offered to a Team or various members of an Organization.

It’s of utmost importance for me to remember that no two-human being thinks alike. What is important to understand here is what is the intent behind training which impacts that individual or team or Organization in terms of personal or Business outcomes. My job is to ensure that everyone gets trained on subject which matters to them for their learning or their outcomes. I also ensure that while I am in a training I do not get disturbed by phone calls or emails and my participants have a 100% attention from my side.

That is because each of us bring our past experiences, thoughts and inference of our past actions in the training and understanding of the new subject. So, while I am training, I remember that my participants are processing that information as I speak and drawing their own inferences.

This thus brings us to an interesting point that while I may be the subject matter expert as a Coach, it’s not necessary that every student’s understanding is at the same level.

Training

Every time I conduct a training, 2 days before that are a high activity period for me. I start preparing for my topic. I do the following:

  • I make every attempt to understand the profile of my participants by engaging in talking to the organization. I try to understand their domain, their backgrounds as much as possible.
  • I make efforts of thinking how can I relate examples in my training to match to those my participants would face in their domains while doing their job.
  • The next step I do is read all the topic and practice the delivery of the topic in front of the mirror. This helps me to learn and improve on my choice of words, voice modulation etc.
  • I record my timings so that am aware how I can manage my time while I deliver the training.
  • I spend some time giving and making a list of all the supplies on other material I need and in fact try to keep them ready at least a day in advance if not earlier.
  • I also work out my travel schedule in advance.
    1. Especially if my training involves an out of station travel, I usually prefer to reach my destination the night before. It gives me enough sleep and I have the passion and energy to be able to deliver for my participants.
    2. If it is within the city (I belong to Bangalore) then I work out my routes and time I would need to reach the venue. Also, I factor in various bottlenecks I could encounter and I prefer to take a cab or a bus rather than drive. I have found this mode of transport the best 😊 to beat the traffic stress.
    3. I try to give myself at least 30 minutes before time so that I am settled before the training starts. I keep the training room organized with all the supplies and other information radiators needed to enable smooth sailing of the course.
  •  I always focus on what and how I deliver, that matters to the participants. I focus on the choice of words, which I believe is the most critical aspect of training. Also, I try to sense the mood of my participants to understand what they are dealing with and may start with an icebreaker session.
    1. Many a times I start by asking if my participants had their breakfast, or maybe I crack a joke to lighten the environment and create an atmosphere of openness with me. I try to ask if they are dealing with something which needs their time and attention before the start of the training, this has helped me a lot too.
    2. I keep my focus to deliver in a form that my participant rather than just getting a Wow effect also get a learning that is easily grasped and they can action them as soon as possible.

As a Coach I focus on what matters either to the Organization or team or the individual and how I deliver that matters to them respectively.