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The Dos and Don'ts of Executive Coaching (Part 3: Assessment)

June 16, 2011

The third post in our four-part series from Linkage Master Coach Richard Gauthier addresses a critical phase in the coaching process: assessment.

  • Do assess. At best, use a 360 and interviews; at least, interview. Your clients represent one point of view, and their good intentions color their perception of how they show up in organizations. Only others, who have experienced your clients, can offer an accurate reflection of what they actually do and how and why it translates as effective or ineffective. Reassess informally every three to four months and formally every six to eight months.
  • Don’t quote directly when presenting confidential interview feedback to clients. Repeated phrases, familiar comments, favorite words or expressions will identify the person interviewed and betray the process of anonymity.
  • Do use the following criteria when deciding with your clients whom to interview: People who experience your clients frequently, whom your clients perceive to be honest and forthright, whom your clients trust, and whose opinion your clients value.
  • Don’t move directly into goal setting at the same meeting where you provided assessment and interview feedback. Feedback is never easy and clients need time to absorb and process the information. Give them a week or two. This reflection time is especially important if the feedback was tough and clients are in denial or see no benefit in addressing the obvious development opportunity. If clients are in the same place a week or two later, they are not, at that time, open to coaching and you must patiently bide your time. If possible, avoid talking clients into what they deny has to be done.
  • Do request to see your clients’ prior assessment reports, no matter how dated. People change, yes, but themes will emerge and if strongly evident in former evaluations, they may still be around in varying forms. The sooner you know, the better. That said—you must remain open to the possibility that the issues have been resolved and are not influencing the development opportunity you’re working on.
  • Don’t allow yourself to judge assessment information on your clients as “good” or “bad.” It is for them to react to, not you. When presenting assessment data, remain neutral and objective in mind, attitude, and tone of voice.

About the Author:

Richard Gauthier

Richard Gauthier

Richard is a highly-skilled and respected consultant and executive coach with more than twenty-five years of experience in organizational development, leadership, marketing and communications.  Currently a Principal Consultant at Linkage, Richard addresses a wide spectrum of customer challenges in leadership, customer satisfaction and retention, change management, management development, alignment and total quality. 



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