The Five-Minute Coach

Summary Written by Tracy Shea-Porter
"Establish a shift from problem-thinking to an outcome focus."

- The Five-Minute Coach, page 6

The Big Idea

Ensure a commitment for change originates within the individual

"Moving someone’s thinking from a problem to an outcome – from something unwanted to something wanted – is very potent."- The Five-Minute Coach, page 38

Cooper and Castellino offer ten important five-minute coach behaviours to help underpin a session. They are:

  1. Pay close attention
  2. Use only the Five-Minute Coach questions
  3. Avoid the normal rules of conversation
  4. Repeat the coachee’s words
  5. Disregard grammatical rules
  6. Take notes
  7. Limit eye contact
  8. Encourage the coachee
  9. Use voice to influence
  10. Stay cool, calm and collected

Sitting with these ten behaviours requires an ability to adapt to discomfort, or learn a new way of being in certain situations. This approach means taking the self out of the equation to become a conduit, which creates a new skill for the coach.

How can you use the five-minute coach behaviours to improve performance? Keep reading…

Insight #1

And what would you like to have happen?

"Direct attention to the interviewee’s own words and deepen and develop her thinking."- The Five-Minute Coach, page 7

The first question, “And what would you like to have happen?”, is a powerful tool that the authors suggest the reader practice several times a day, in all kinds of situations. I love this question and have been adding it to conversations regularly. I also ask myself this question to move forward in my own life – personal and professional. By thinking through what you want to have happen you create action steps that move you towards your goals.

The authors offer five stages and a purpose and questions for each stage to take one through the five minute conversation.

  1. Identifying an outcome – And what would you like to have happen?
  2. Choosing the best outcome – And when [outcome in coachee’s words], then what happens?
  3. Discovering more about the outcome – And when [new outcome] what kind of [word or phrase from outcome]?
  4. Action planning – And what needs to happen for [final outcome]?
  5. Motivate to act – And when [first thing] then what happens?

There is lots of repeating of the questions, and more word changes to the questions are shown in the actual book. I found the exercise of looking through all the questions, and case study examples to be quite helpful. This process is definitely an approach that coaches – or anyone – will want to add to their repertoire.

As the questions progress, the coach incorporates the coachee’s words into part of each sentence, like this:

And when [last answer], then what happens?

The bold part of the question stays the same while the parts in the square brackets are the coachee’s words. The word “and” lets the other person know you hear and accept what has been said.

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Insight #2

Developing as a Coach

"Coaching helps people learn from the inside out, not the other way around."- The Five-Minute Coach, page 195

The principles of good coaching is what The Five-Minute Coach is all about. Keeping clear boundaries, from another person, is not even an issue when adopting this approach. Here are the outcomes you can expect:

  • Coaching helps people learn from the inside out, not the other way around. It assumes that people have innate capabilities and therefore do not need to be constantly told what to do.
  • Focusing on outcomes – what could be, rather than what is – is fundamental to the unleashing of people’s potential and upgrading their performance.
  • Coaching encourages individuals, through support and increased self-awareness, to take personal responsibility for creating their own opportunities, making their own choices and deciding on their own actions.
  • An individual’s self-belief grows through the coaching process, and new thinking, feelings and behaviours emerge as a result.

There is a feeling of relief when you realize you do not have to take on other people’s problems – and that you are not really being helpful when you try. And, there is a sense of fulfillment in knowing that simply by asking questions you are enabling another person to grow. I now keep The Five-Minute Coach in sight so I can quickly refer to the questions, and examples, to help me help others. Questions are a powerful tool and when used to empower others they become even more potent.

In the comments below, let us know… And what would you like to have happen?

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Lynne Cooper

Lynne Cooper is an AC Accredited Coach, a team coach and an accredited Coaching Supervisor. She works with individuals, teams and organisations to dramatically change thinking, behaviours and performance. Experienced in the application of NLP, Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling in organisations, She co-developed the Five-Minute Coach as a fast-to-learn and easy-to-use tool for busy managers to transform the way they, and their teams, work.

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