Coaching Skills for HR Professionals — NYS SHRM Notes

Thank you for attending the NYS SHRM Conference session on Coaching Skills for HR Professionals.  Here are the summary of slides from the session:

Coaching is: Partnering with a client to increase their awareness about current and possible beliefs and behaviors, then using that awareness to build a plan of action to achieve a desired goal.  (You may be doing only parts of these at a time if working with people less formally.)


What is NOT Coaching?
  • ž  Mentoring/Advising
  • ž  Offering Solutions to Problems
  • ž  Consulting
  • ž  Therapy
  • ž  Succession/Career Planning
  • ž  Performance Review
  • ž  Training/Teaching


International Coach Federation Core Coaching Competencies

ž  Setting the Foundation 
1. Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards
2. Establishing the Coaching Agreement

ž  Co-creating the Relationship
3. Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client
4. Coaching Presence

ž  Communicating Effectively 
5. Active Listening
6. Powerful Questioning
7. Direct Communication

ž  Facilitating Learning and Results 
8. Creating Awareness
9. Designing Actions
10. Planning and Goal Setting
11. Managing Progress and Accountability


 With Notes for HR Professionals:

Setting the Foundation 
1. Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards

* Confidentiality (if not, say so)

* Distinguishing coaching from other modalities

* Referring client to appropriate place as needed

2. Establishing the Coaching Agreement

* Agreeing on parameters of relationship

(esp. important with internal coaching)

Co-creating the Relationship
3. Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client

* Creates a safe and supportive environment

* Asks permission to coach in new or sensitive areas

4. Coaching Presence

* Open, flexible and confident                

* Not getting hung up in client’s emotions

Communicating Effectively 

5. Active Listening 

* Attends to CLIENT agenda, not coach’s agenda

* Supports client in self-expression

6. Powerful Questioning

* Asks OPEN-ENDED questions that

Reflect understanding of client’s perspective

Look forward, Evoke discovery

Create clarity, insight, possibility

7. Direct Communication 

* Uses respectful language

* Uses metaphor/analogy to illustrate

Facilitating Learning and Results 
8. Creating Awareness 

* Integrates multiple levels of listening

* Identifies for client their fixed way of perceiving the world, differences between facts/interpretations, disparities between thoughts, feelings and actions

* Communicates a broader perspective to the client and inspires commitment to shift their viewpoint and find new possibilities for action

9. Designing Actions 

* Brainstorms with client actions to practice new learning and move toward goal

10. Planning and Goal Setting

* Establishes goals with client

* Creates a plan with attainable, measurable, specific  results with target date (S.M.A.R.T. Goal)

* Identifies resources for learning

11. Managing Progress and Accountability 

* Holds client accountable for what they say they’ll do

* Leaves responsibility with client to take action


A big way you can assist your employees is by coaching them to recognize the difference between the FACTS and their INTERPRETATIONS.


Example of How to INCREASE AWARENESS: The Ladder of Inference

Chris Argyris; Harvard Business Review

The Fifth Discipline  by Peter Senge


Questions to help Client see/shift CONTEXT:
  • ž  Reflect the context you hear:
  •   Sounds like you see it as….
  • ž  Make sure they align that that’s their context
  • ž  Create understanding that that’s not the TRUTH and that they can choose their context
  • ž  How is that context limiting?
  • ž  How do you WANT it to go?
  • ž  What context would you need in order to get that?
  • ž  What can you do to practice that NEW context?


Coaching Pitfalls of HR Professionals
  • ž  Not being clear about what is coaching and what is some other HR function
  • ž  Not being clear on what is confidential coaching and what is for the employee’s HR file
  • ž  Giving their own answer/offering advice
  • ž  Running their own agenda vs. the client’s agenda
  • ž  Creating next steps without a larger framework
  • ž  Lack of follow-up/accountability
  • ž  Calling something coaching when it’s actually something else
  • ž  Moving to next steps/actions without deepening the awareness


Coaching Advantages of HR Professionals
ž  You already:
  • ž  Love people
  • ž  See the best in people
  • ž  Are skilled at being a neutral, listening, safe space
  • ž  Are practiced at holding confidentiality
  • ž  Hold a bigger picture than an individual employee
  • ž  Have experience with project management and holding people accountable
  • ž  Have vast experience and knowledge to draw on for resources


  • ž  Co-Active Coaching by Whitworth & Kimsey-House
  • ž  The Last Word on Power by Tracy Goss
  • ž  Immunity to Change by Kegan & Lahey
  • ž  International Coach Federation (ICF):
  • ž  [email protected]
  • ž