“If I become a community mentor then I will increase the value of the community for everyone, but what commitment am I making?”
Part 4: Select the appropriate coaching methodology:
Short-term, Crisis, or Long-term Coaching
In addition to having a good match with the learner and a clear coaching role, the developer needs to reach agreements with the learner about the type of coaching that will best suit the learner's needs:
- crisis, or
- long-term coaching.
This is important because each type of coaching requires a different coaching methodology, as described in more detail below.
Short-term coaching occurs over a short period of time-typically two to eight sessions, with the coaching process lasting anywhere from one to four months-and focuses on specific and limited topic areas that can be effectively addressed in a brief period of time. I find that this is the typical type of coaching found within the pmNERDS’ community. However, the other type is also valid and depends on both the developer and learner preferences and needs.
Crisis coaching is needed when a learner is experiencing an acute crisis and is under severe duress as the result of a work or home problem or an external event.
Long-term coaching can be as short as four months or can extend over several years; this allows for outcomes that are larger in scale and deeper in impact than what can normally be achieved with short-term coaching.
Short-Term Coaching sometimes referred to as "problem-solving coaching" or "solution-focused coaching;' focuses on a specific problem or issue that can be quickly resolved. It is a particularly effective methodology to use when the coaching goal is sufficiently precise and narrow in scope and/or when the learner has a limited window of opportunity in which to achieve a result. However, short-term coaching is not effective when the learner is low in self-mastery or has insufficient skills and on-the-job experience to achieve the coaching goal within a limited time period.
Crisis Coaching- A learner who needs crisis coaching can best be described as
- less stable than normal;
- feeling highly threatened and anxious;
- at a major life crossroads and experiencing a myriad of emotions;
- having to examine newly revealed and disturbing feelings, relationships, and information;
- finding that his or her normal functioning and primary defense mechanisms no longer work effectively; and
- being uncertain about the outcome of the crisis but imagining that the worst may occur.
Because of these factors, crisis coaching requires a different approach than short-term or long-term coaching, as seen in the box on the following page.
Long-Term Coaching- occurs over several months or years and requires an extended commitment from both the developer and learner. The developer must be able and willing to engage in coaching of this magnitude, and the learner must have a desire to learn, grow, and take advantage of the coaching experience. The best candidates for long-term coaching are learners with one or more of the following characteristics:
- have serious performance issues that require more coaching than can be provided in short-term coaching;
- have multiple coaching goals that require more extended coaching;
- have a demonstrated commitment to and excitement about ongoing personal and professional development;
- are high-potential candidates for future leadership jobs or high-impact professional positions;
- are in highly stressful, high-pressure jobs for which having a coach as a sounding board and advisor can be extremely beneficial; or
- are senior executives who need someone whom they trust to confide in.
Long-term coaching always involves unpredictable events and new opportunities- for example, the learner receives a promotion or gets fired, a new issue arises that provides a coaching opportunity, or an organizational change alters the coaching requirements. Because of these factors, effective long-term coaching must not only be emergent and spontaneous but must also be predictable. A coherent coaching methodology, combined with enough flexibility to respond to emergent issues, dramatically increases the success of long-term coaching.
REMINDER It is essential to use a coaching methodology-short-term, crisis, or long-term- that best suits the developer's available time and skill set and the learner's specific coaching needs and goals. On occasion, developers may need to meet with learners before the methodology is selected, but developers and learners often know beforehand which approach will work best.