I recently attended a 3-day coaching institute, Coaching for Greater Effectiveness, at the Center for Creative Leadership. It was a highly effective learning experience that covered CCL’s process for becoming a successful coach. The workshop focused on their coaching model, RACSR (Relationship, Assessment, Challenge, Support, and Results). We were introduced to each of the components of the model that helps coaches understand, give effective feedback, and help the person being coached move from conversation to action. The institute was organized to include a great deal of practice time in our coaching groups led by an experienced executive coach. The structure was well suited to learning and applying the RACSR model
With respect to giving effective feedback, we were introduced to ten common mistakes coaches generally make when giving feedback. The mistakes are:
- the feedback judges individuals not actions (judgment feedback puts people on the defensive)
- the feedback is too vague (the feedback doesn’t guide their actions towards new behaviors to improve)
- the feedback speaks to what others think (leaves people wondering about where the feedback has come from)
- the feedback that challenges is sandwiched (challenging or negative feedback gets sandwiched between positive feedback and is lost)
- the feedback is exaggerated by generalities (“always” or “never”)
- the feedback projects a motive behind the behaviors witnessed
- the person giving feedback goes on too long (when giving feedback make it specific and concise, focusing on observations you made)
- The feedback is associated with a threat (”if you don’t do this, then this will happen.”)
- the feedback is laced with humor (use humor sparingly)
- the feedback is offered as a question not a statement of observation (questions can be too indirect)
In order to minimize making these mistakes they introduced us to the SBI model for giving feedback. Situation, Behavior, and Impact (SBI) model provides a structure to give feedback that focuses on behavior’s the impact they have on others. SBI is a simple process that provides direct feedback: the person captures and clarifies the situation, describes the specific behaviors and explains the impact of the behaviors. We were able to practice this technique in our coaching groups to great effectiveness. Using the SBI tool can be one way to avoid many of the mistakes coaches make.
Applying the structure of the RACSR model to a coaching relationship helps the coach focus on building the relationship, assessing what the person being coached wants to work on, challenging the person to move deeper into their work, supporting the person throughout the process, and helping the person move from thinking to action. While the coaching cycle doesn’t have to go in that specific order, the model does make sense when you think about helping someone grow.
If you don’t currently use a coaching model, RACSR and SBI are two tools to think about using. At Westminster, we have also been actively engaged in learning and using Elena Aguilar’s Art of Coaching process, as well as her Art of Coaching Teams process for team development. Aguilar describes her coaching model as transformative coaching, built somewhat from Robert Hargrove’s work, Masterful Coaching. At this point in our school’s development, we are trying to blend the best of these different models into our coaching framework. The driver for us is to use coaching as a way to support faculty growth and development.