The Four Different Types of Coaching Styles

The Four Different Types of Coaching Styles


Knowing your coaching style creates total team success

The act of coaching is essential in the workplace. Leading managers need to coach lower level staff to get them up to speed and grow as team members. The coach can use their own experiences and personality to coach employees to achieve specific goals. Goals of the coaching process include maximizing management abilities, growing leadership potential, and creative behavioral change. If an employee has a good coach, they are more likely to go far.

Many professions have a specific set of skills that an employee uses throughout their career. However, coaching itself doesn’t have a specific set of skills that are repeated in every coaching situation. Each coaching relationship comes with new challenges and presents different opportunities to learn new skills. This is because no two coachees are alike. Each coachee approaches their coach with different needs and aspirations; so no two coaching relationships are the same. Consequently, coaches need to be skilled in a variety of areas such as goal setting, action planning, questioning skills, listening, and behavioral change techniques.

What are the Definitions of 'Coaching' and 'Style'?

"Coaching" is defined as the process of one individual working with another to help them improve their performance and reach their potential. The role of coaching has evolved to become a critical tool in enhancing performance and increasing retention of the best employees. For these reasons, many Fortune 500 companies send their managers to training to become coaches. As the coaching process aims at maximizing management, leadership potential, and behavioral change, companies are using coaching as a way to individualize training.

Through the use of his or her experience, expertise, and encouragement, a coach can help his or her coachee achieve specific goals. The coach’s aim is to build trust and rapport as he or she acts as a personal advisor and collaborative partner. To develop the skills that are needed to improve the professional career of the coachee, the coach uses goal setting, action planning, questioning skills, listening, and behavioral change techniques.

“Style” is defined as the way a person behaves when he or she is able to do things his or her own way. When you know a person well, it is often easy to predict how he or she will act in a given situation. When you think of significant people in your life, you can probably distinguish between the different ways in which each individual interacted with you. In other words, you are able to recognize his or her individual coaching style.

Coaching + Style = Coaching Style

If you put coaching and style together you get a definition of coaching style: a person’s unique way of working with another individual to help him or her improve performance and reach his or her potential. There are four different types of coaching styles:

  1. Direct. The direct style has high assertiveness and low expressiveness. Direct coaches coach by taking charge of projects and committing to the deadline.
  2. Spirited. The spirited style has high assertiveness and high expressiveness. This style coaches by inspiring, and they visualize the big picture and use their creativity.
  3. Considerate. Considerate style coaches have low assertiveness and high expressiveness. They coach by facilitating a comfortable environment and being empathetic and encouraging.
  4. Systematic. This style has low assertiveness and low expressiveness. Coaches coach by planning carefully and using logic in all their decision-making processes.

The most effective coaches adapt their coaching styles to meet the requirements of individuals and situations. It’s important to know your own style, as well as the styles of the people you’re coaching. For example, if you have a systematic team and you come in as a spirited new manager, it may be difficult to coach this team. While you are expressing spontaneous ideas, they want to focus on systems and plans. There needs to be compromise on both sides- a good manager can appeal to their systematic side while still using their spirited personality to reach goals together.

Assess Your Coaching Style

To learn more about your style and how it can help others, HRDQ's What’s My Coaching Style is a helpful coaching assessment for management development that measures personality style and explores how it relates to coaching and interpersonal relationships.

The assessment measures an individual's preference for the direct, spirited, considerate, and systematic coaching styles. With this knowledge, people can better understand why they behave the way they do, learn how to adapt their behavior to improve interpersonal relationships, develop rapport, and ultimately, become more effective coaches.

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