How to Bring Up the Subject of a Business Coach

Yes, there is a polite way to do it. Here are a few questions you might consider:

Are you the right person to be broaching this topic with your colleague?

  • What are your reasons and motivations for recommending this action?
  • Have you and your colleague discussed work frustrations and hopes before?
  • Do you know if the person already has a coach or mentor?
  • How would you respond if the roles were reversed?
  • Who might be better positioned to talk about this?

Why might someone use a coach?

  • They are at the beginning of their career:

    They need some help navigating the work environment, clarifying priorities and learning how to adapt to new situations

  • „They are mid career:

    They are looking for work-life balance, considering whether or not they should pursuit new responsibilities or shed old ones

  • „They are closer to the end of their career than the beginning:

    How to stay engaged in a more manageable way, reduce workload or need to prepare for retirement

  • „

    They are experiencing stress:

    How do they sort out competing interests, demands and priorities in order to move forward

  • „They are feeling stuck:

    They are uncertain about "what’s next" and could use some structure and a systematic way to work out some tough questions in order to determine next steps

  • „They are new to leadership:

    How do they achieve success in their new assignment while "learning on the job" as they continue to develop their leadership capabilities

How can you do this properly?

  • „Think about what you want to communicate
  • Find an appropriate place and time: private and unhurried
  • Be non-judgmental – state what you are feeling and seeing – be certain about "you"
  • Ask questions that call for thought and elaboration: "I’ve noticed you seem to be (from list above), would you welcome some help with that? What help would you want?"
  • Keep your emotions in check
  • Do not take offense if your colleague is not interested
  • Do not push the conversation – let your colleague pull you along once the topic is opened
  • Do not revisit the conversation – let your colleague take control and set the pace
  • Do not make either a yes or no "personal" – it’s professional

If you have additional thoughts, questions or comments on this, please leave a comment below.

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