Coaching: Taking A.I.M. at Potential

Coaching is a powerful skill that continues to gain momentum in churches and organizations. As ministry and organizational life become increasingly complex, more leaders are turning to coaching as a key to accelerate their performance. So what exactly does a coach do?  Great coaches take A.I.M. at Potential–they provide Assessment, Insight, and Motivation.

Assessment – Coaching begins when an individual’s performance, character, skills, strengths, and weaknesses are adequately assessed. You cannot effectively coach someone if you do not understand their current reality. And you cannot help a person reach their potential if you do not understand their capacity in key areas of life. By asking thoughtful questions, administering strengths assessments, and/or watching performance, you will quickly glean the information necessary to accurately assess an individual’s strengths and gaps.

Insight – Following an accurate assessment, coaches provide valuable insights that will help a leader grow, improve, and accelerate.  This process takes place in three ways. First, the coach asks good questions–this is typically the best coaching tool. Most people will come to the right conclusions about growth steps when a coach asks the right questions. Second, coaches provide perspective.  When a person is being coached, they will share ideas, strategies, and practices they feel compelled to pursue. As a coach, your job is to help leaders process these ideas, serve as a sounding board, and provide perspective. Third, coaches offer insights that serves as the missing ingredient to success. Coaches must be careful not to prematurely jump into “answer mode.” You should ask questions and providing perspective first so the individual can learn to think for themselves and identify solutions best for their context. However, there are times when a leader hits a sticking point and the coach needs to offer ideas and best practices. This is especially true in formal coaching relationships that revolve around professional matters where the individual is seeking specialized expertise.

Motivation – Finally, a good coach serves as a motivator–someone on the sidelines cheering on the individual as they implement new ideas and pursue growth in essential areas of life. Coaches that cannot encourage people will never inspire them to keep going when things get tough. Great coaches balance the right amount of motivation with appropriate accountability–they encourage the people they coach without endorsing excuses.

I’ll say it again, great coaches take A.I.M. at potential. They provide Assessment, Insight, and Motivation. It’s really not all that difficult when you think about it. All of us have helped people gain perspective on their strengths and weaknesses (ASSESSMENT), asked questions and offered valuable thoughts and ideas (INSIGHT), and come alongside to encourage them in the journey (MOTIVATION).

Question: How have you seen these three coaching ingredients implemented in coaching relationships?