On this page we are going to review the GitLab coaching framework and approach for people leaders and direct reports to apply during coaching conversations with their team. Use this page as a guide to starting and executing a coaching conversation.
Coaching is about helping others help themselves. It is not about giving advice, instruction, or telling someone what to do. Coaching is about focusing on the future and identifying where the coachee wants to be and what they want to achieve. As a coach, your role is to clarify the pathway from the current state to the future. Coaches do this by enabling the coachee to make informed choices based on deeper insight.
Coaching conversations are fluid, dynamic acts of co-creation where the coach and the coachee are equal partners. The Gitlab coaching framework has both a coach and coachee side, and each side is a reflection of the other. 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:
Coaches help team members by focusing their attention on the future while recognizing their unique strengths and areas for development. A coach is there to help the coachee tap into their potential and to reflect and learn by identifying desired outcomes to acheive future goals.
Key attributes of a coach include some of the following:
When we think about coaching as a mode of conversation, you may also be thinking about all the other modes of conversation you might use as a leader in multiple types of roles. You may be a team lead running an engineering program. You may be managing one of our ERG's. You may be a mentor or a buddy. You are also most likely a direct report of someone else. Whatever it is you need to flex your leadership style and adopt different approaches to engage in meaningful conversations. You can think of this as wearing "different hats."
You may wear multiple hats in any given day:
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
What else to do when you are listening
When to Encourage
Strategies to practice encouraging
When to challenge
As a coach uses their core coaching skills, a coachee can access their own set of skills and action to get the most out of the coaching conversation through the following:
The planning for 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 own agenda. The coachee should ultimately decide the action steps, committing to their own 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: