This post is part of a series on the 9 competencies of an effective coach, taken originally from Developing Coaching Excellence. To see all entries in this series posted so far, you can search “coach competency” on the main page of my blog. 

Coach competency 9 MonitoringThe strategic competency of monitoring comes into play after the diagnosis and planning have been done and people begin implementing their plans. A lot of coaching breaks down at this point because of the assumption that the process is done once a workable plan has been put into place. No matter how sound a plan may be, it can easily break down without the accountability and celebration that monitoring brings. Monitoring creates a space for evaluating, celebrating progress, and making adjustments along the way.

Many coaches consider monitoring to be passive: if the person being coached needs anything, they’ll let me know. Passive monitoring has been responsible for many good plans sitting on the shelf and never being implemented. So to be proactive about monitoring, what’s important for a coach to know or do?

First, coaches must know the behavioral style of the leader or team they are coaching so they will know what kind of accountability will be needed. A highly task-driven self-starter may not need as much accountability, while someone who is more people or process oriented will need more regular meetings and reporting sessions.

Second, coaches need to understand what key questions need to be asked. There are hundreds of possibilities to choose from, but choosing two or three powerful questions helps people get much more out of the session.

Third, coaches need to know how to help people build in some kind of accountability structure. A planter may be accountable to an internal board, an external supervisor, and their spouse, providing three different angles of accountability. Building in internal mechanisms helps people become self-monitoring in the long-term.

Excellent coaches follow a simple rule of thumb: if you have a date and time to meet, don’t miss it. Consistency is critical. Too much canceling and/or rescheduling will drain energy from the project. Proactive monitoring is real and essential competency of coaches— it’s not an afterthought, but core to being an excellent coach.

How can you go about strengthening the coaching competency of monitoring in your life?