Coaching conversations are fluid, dynamic acts of co-creation where the coach and the coachee are equal partners. Coaching is an important component of our 360 review process and for guidance on feedback. Coaching can occur during one-on-one meetings or at any time. It is an important component of career development, leading teams, building an inclusive culture, mentoring, and much more.
There are various ways to find a coach at GitLab:
|Coaching Right Now||Professional coaching by external coaches is offered for managers and IC's Job Grade 8 and above using the Growth and Development Benefit. We work with Coaching Right Now as our vendor of choice to pair team members with coaches who have been reviewed by the GitLab L&D team. More information about this program with Coaching Right Now can be found here.|
|Modern Health||Using our Modern Health Employee Assistance Program provides professional coaching to all team members. Coaches on Modern Health specialize in professional/career, mental health, and financial coaching.|
|Manager Coaching||Your manager can be a coach that steers you towards future goals. Ensure that your Manager can take you on in a coaching capacity. However, coaching can also be a type of interaction you have with your Manager during 1:1 discussions.|
|Internal Coach||Consider a senior to you in your larger team or someone outside of your team that has inspired you on the specific areas you are working and developing on. Consider searching on this list of available mentors.|
|Alternative Professional Coach||If some reason the coaches offered via Coaching Right Now or Modern Health do not fit your needs, team members with a Job Grade 8+ can seek and get approval for alternate external coaches.|
Coaching is a powerful career growth tool. Individual contributors and people leaders can both benefit from coaching. It's a common misconception that coaches are a last resort resource, or only for team members who are on a performance improvement plan. It's also a misconception that coaching is only for senior leaders.
Review examples of why you might want to, or benefit from, meeting with a professional coach. This list is not exhaustive.
Coaches help team members focus their attention on the future while recognizing their strengths and areas for development. Coaches help the coachee tap into their potential, identify desired outcomes, and achieve goals.
Key attributes of a coach include:
Effective coaches use a defined set of skills to enable coaching coversations. Those skills include:
How to structure questions
Questioning - What to avoid
Listening like a coach
What to listen for
When to Encourage
Strategies to practice encouraging
When to challenge
Strategies on how to be present
Coaching is just one mode of conversation you might use as a leader. You may be a team lead running an engineering program. You may be managing one of our TMRG's. You may be a mentor or an onboarding buddy. You are also most likely a direct report of someone else. Think of these roles as wearing
You may wear multiple hats in any given day:
Building trust is an important ingredient in coaching and team dynamics. Trust lies at the heart of a functioning and cohesive team. There are five dysfunctions of a team according to Patrick Lencioni that can break down trust throughout the team:
The Trust Equation™ is a concept to help increase trustworthiness with your team. The more trust you have with team members, the easier it will be to have coaching conversations.
The trust equation uses four objective variables to measure trustworthiness:
|Credibility:||My word is believable. Put simply, credibility rates "what you say and how believable you are to others." In other words, you must be credible if you are asking others to follow your lead.|
|Reliability:||I do what I say I will do. Reliability measures "actions, and how dependable you appear." Can you be counted on? People need to know that their leaders will come through for them.|
|Intimacy:||I empathize with others. Intimacy considers 'how safe people are sharing information with you." When you are presented with confidential information, you need to keep it so.|
|Self-Orientation:||My focus is on my team, not personal gain. Self-orientation is a personal focus on yourself or others. Too much self-focus will lower your degree of trustworthiness.|
The trust equation has one variable in the denominator (self-orientation) and three in the numerator (credibility, reliability, intimacy). Increasing the value of the factors in the numerator increases the value of trust. Increasing the denominator (self-orientation) decreases the value of trust.
The neuroscience studies show that recognition has the largest effect on trust when it occurs after a goal has been met. The neuroscience of trust can help team members increase empathy, plann efficiently, and decrease thread and fear responses.
Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high trust companies report the following according to a study from Accenture:
The GROW Model is a four-step method for holding coaching conversations with a coachee. You can apply it during coaching sessions to guide the coachee through future-focused discussions.
G - Goals: Identify the inspirational goal to drive success and keep energy and motivation high.
R - Reality: Discuss the current situation and what barriers currently exist to achieve future goals
O - Options: Explore the options for moving forward
W - Way Forward: Agree on specific actions and timeframe to set accountability for the coachee
As a coach uses their core coaching skills, a coachee can access their own set of skills and activities to get the most out of the coaching conversation through the following:
The planning for the action phase is about enabling the coachee to make a plan with action steps that support their goals.
How to plan for action:
When you are planning for action while wearing your coaching hat, you are not evaluating or judging or driving your agenda. The coachee should ultimately decide the action steps, committing to their path forward. As a coach, you are curious and non-judgemental while living up to GitLab values.
When a coaching session is completed, it is essential to review the goal of the conversation with the outcome by asking:
The coach might also want to end the conversation with a few statements about what this session has reminded them of and what they truly appreciate in the coachee. Coaching is about empowering. They are helping team members to increase and balance their self-confidence and self-worth:
A recording of the first of two sessions can be found here:
In an all-remote organization, coaching is a critical skill for managers to develop and improve upon as they progress in their careers. Coaching helps to facilitate the career development of team members through regular coaching conversations. Coaching helps team members change behavior, improve performance, and sustain commitment through encouragement, support, collaborative problem-solving, goal setting, and feedback.
Skills and behavior of the coaching competency for managers: