Coaching for Success

Coaching is support that happens through ongoing conversation and collaboration. Coaching can happen prior to a challenging event, in the midst of action, after a triumph or defeat, or during a pause between assignments.

Coaching is not just for new volunteer leaders; it should be an ongoing part of your relationship with the volunteer. The key elements of successful coaching are:

  • A trusting, honest, respectful relationship between the coach and project leader
  • Time for preparation and reflection
  • Clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and expectations
  • Effective listening skills
  • Strategic questions that promote thinking
  • Data collection and thoughtful feedback

Active Listening

Active listening is an important part of coaching. To be an active listener, remember these tips:

  • Be calm and patient.
  • Don’t assume you understand what the speaker thinks and feels.
  • Ask clarifying questions.
  • Summarize or paraphrase what you are hearing.
  • Avoid crafting a response while the other person is speaking.
  • Don’t try to solve the project leader's problems immediately through giving advice.

Coaching Questions

Coaching questions are used to help people clarify and develop their thinking. Some examples of helpful coaching questions include:

  • What do you hope to accomplish?
  • How did it go?
  • What happened?
  • What did you think?
  • What worked?
  • Why?
  • How do you know?
  • What have you learned so far?
  • What would you like to do differently next time?