Creating a Coaching Framework: Getting Started

by Lauren Short, an Art of Coaching Conference presenter and guest blogger 

Creating a coaching framework can be a tedious and time-consuming project especially depending on the various challenges, structures, and beliefs within your own organization. At The Art of Coaching Conference in February, I am excited to share about my own journey as I led a team of network coaches while developing a framework to support coaching with all stakeholders. The reality of my situation was that I was flying the plane while building the plane. I am sure you can imagine some of the bumps and joys of that ride! Ultimately, this session will provide you tools and think time to begin planning or refining your journey to create a coaching framework or the road map to a consistent coaching structure in your organization.

Whether you are attending the conference or not, I wanted to share some questions to reflect on in order to get started. When developing a framework there are several factors to consider: the systemic structures, the beliefs of the organization, and your own power to create change.

Questions to ponder:

1. What influence do I have on developing a coaching framework for my organization? Who are my stakeholders? Who are my allies in this work that can help me leverage movement with this framework?

2. What are the opportunities and challenges in my organization for a consistent coaching framework?

3. What is the current organizational message/belief on coaching? What is your belief about coaching?

4. Does your organization have a shared vision for coaching? If so, how was that vision created? Who upholds that vision?

5. What is the current coaching structure of your organization? Who is considered a “coach”? What are the expected outcomes of the “coach”? How does a “coach” develop?

6. What structures, resources, tools, professional development, etc. does your organization currently have to support coaching?

Once you have taken the time to reflect on these questions, start to notice trends in your responses. Is your organization in a place where these things exist? Does it just need some work in a couple of areas? Or are you starting from scratch? When I first started this work with my team, I realized we were in a place where some of these things existed. We had structures to support coaching, but we needed to align our vision, beliefs about coaching, and clearly define the structures that would support coaching at both the school and network level.

This work is really hard to do alone! I highly recommend finding a team with varying roles to help you create your coaching framework. I named two buckets I needed help with to my team: writers and reviewers. A teammate, helped to co-write sections and used her artistic talents to make my research-driven and structural information pop off the pages in ways I couldn’t have imagined. My other teammates and colleagues gave valuable feedback throughout the process that helped us to create a user friendly and in depth framework for our network who we gratefully credited in our finalized version.

If you are ready to start this work, my best advice is to start with your vision and mission. Work with your team to clearly define what coaching is in your organization and what you want it to be! This gives you your team a point of reference throughout your work. As soon as you are clear on what your shared vision for coaching will be, define your mission. How will you all accomplish this vision? This is a great place to go back to your reflection on the structures and resources you may already have available.

My next piece of advice is to define your criteria for success. If you already have a coaching rubric in place then make sure that it reflects your vision and mission. If you don’t have one in place, start looking for organizations that do have them! Elena’s website is a great place to start searching. If you come to the conference, you’ll see how I pieced together rubrics from several organizations to fit my team’s vision and mission.

Something I wish I had done beforehand is to have taken some time and think about ALL the stakeholders. Think about who will be part of the coaching team, who will benefit from coaching, who will work with coaches, and who will support coaching. We found at times our implementation had gaps because we didn’t strategically involve all stakeholders in the process of development. If I could do it over again, I would think of how to create focus groups, use the Mind the Gap framework to define development needs for each stakeholder, and strategically roll out the framework in phases so people could be well versed before implementation.

Always remember, our greatest asset is each other! See you all in February.

The views and opinions expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion or position of Bright Morning or any of its employees.