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Elements of a Typical Goodstone Coaching Engagement

While every coaching assignment is unique, engagements tend to follow a similar path and involve similar activities. Here are answers to the questions we’re often asked by prospective clients.

How does the coach matching process work?

The success of any coaching relationship is dependent on trust between coach and leader. We take great care in recruiting our coaches and matching them with clients. Once we have been briefed on the client organization and the leader’s needs, we propose two or three coach candidates who we believe would be a good fit based on the leader’s development goals and style. The leader then screens the coaches’ biographies, interviews one or two candidates by phone, and makes the decision. Nearly always we find the right fit in the first two coaches proposed; when that’s not the case, we provide additional candidates for consideration based on feedback from the leader.

How long will it take?

Behavioral change takes time, and regular practice and reinforcement are critical to altering long-ingrained behavioral patterns. While brief coaching engagements seem to produce changes in behavior, these changes often fail to stick under day-to-day pressures. We therefore ask clients to make an initial commitment to six months of coaching, with an understanding that the engagement may be extended or terminated early, if desired. This allows sufficient time for the coach to help the leader through a sustained, iterative process of testing new behavioral patterns across a wide variety of business circumstances and challenges.

What are the expectations of me as a leader? What are the expectations of the coach? Who else will be involved in this process?

Every coaching engagement includes the following activities:

  • Agreement on specific coaching goals based on an assessment of the leader’s strengths and weaknesses by him/herself as well as by colleagues who are best able to comment on his or her behaviors. In some cases, the client organization has already completed a leadership diagnostic; in other cases, we are asked to manage that process. We are open to using whatever leadership diagnostic tools the client organization uses in-house and/or recommending appropriate tools. We often complement quantitative diagnostics with a set of qualitative interviews that provide additional depth and richness to the assessment.
  • Creation of a written development plan that includes agreed-upon goals, targeted outcomes, action steps, timeframes, and measures.
  • Syndication of the leader’s goals with key stakeholders, and periodic feedback from this group. We usually seek input from six to eight of the leader’s colleagues, including his or her manager, peers, and direct reports. As appropriate, we will also seek input from critical clients or customers.
  • “Homework” assignments between coaching sessions. For example, the coach may recommend reading, assign practice of specific behaviors and reflection, or ask the leader to write down insights into what worked or didn’t work in a given situation.
  • Progress assessment at the end of the engagement (and also at the midpoint for yearlong assignments). Here, we solicit stakeholders’ perceptions of change against goals.

The coach may suggest additional activities based on the situation and the leader’s goals and progress. These might include observing the leader in key meetings and/or helping him or her prepare for critical conversations or presentations as they arise.

How often will I meet with my coach?

Coaching sessions usually take place twice a month, either face-to-face or by phone. The frequency, duration, and type of meeting depend on the leader’s needs and travel schedule. The initial months of an engagement generally require more time together than the later months.

How will we measure success?

We measure success based on the satisfaction of the leader and, more importantly, on the assessment of his or her stakeholders. Specifically, we gauge success based on the stakeholders’ evaluation of how well the leader has progressed against his or her selected goals at the completion of a six-month engagement.

Ongoing quality assurance and a willingness to take accountability for results are key to Goodstone’s ability to produce consistently successful outcomes. We set a very high quality bar for coaching, selecting only the best coaches to join our network. Because we engage multiple stakeholders, including the leader’s boss and often the HR partner, the leader benefits from broad support and potential issues can be flagged early on. The client relationship manager, a part of the central team at the Goodstone Group head office, provides additional quality control by checking in regularly with the coach and the client and is accessible at all times to the leader.
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