Quality Resources Coach

The Hard and Soft Side of Coaching


Q: Although I know that Coaching has been around for a long time, I am still skeptical about its effectiveness. Being a go-getter and an expert in my field, I have always used the more direct approach to get people moving. Of course, I want better results but I find the coaching process slow, even time-wasting to a great extent. What is really the point of eliciting answers from people when you can tell them straightaway, which is faster and less time-wasting? What is your view?

A: The rules of Coaching are not rigid as it does not exclude telling and sharing when the situation warrants it. As a matter of fact, Coaching is most unique and flexible, which allows a coach to balance between using a ‘hard’ and a ‘soft’ approach based on the extent of a person’s ‘will and skill’ level.

For those at the lower end of the ‘will and skill’ matrix, the coach can use a more direct approach, like telling them what they should be doing. However, the coach knows that too much spoon-feeding will not do the them any good in the long run. So, he watches out for signs of improvement, such as their growing confidence and/or greater commitment, and he enthuses and praises them along the way. Then slowly, the coach moves from ‘telling’ to more eliciting and persuading them to act on their own (within tolerable limits) until they fully trust their own actions.


How directive is your approach in helping your people? In the long run, have they become more independent or lesser? How can you change your approach a little? What will you get when you do this?


Q: In two years’ time I will be retiring, after almost three decades in various top management positions. But I am not really planning to retire yet as I want to continue to do something worthwhile, to add more meaning to my life compared to before. The trouble now is I do not know what I want. How can I know what suits me? What kind of post retirement career will suit me?

A: It is ironic that many of us spend so much time thinking and doing things for others and yet, when it comes to ourselves, we are lost. Many are brilliant planners and strategists for their companies, but feel inadequate when it comes to themselves! However, it is not too late as you can still start planning for your life with the same principles and strategies you have used for your company.

Start by strategically thinking about yourself. Think of what you have always wanted to do that you never had a chance to do until now. Consider your interests and values, including what you want to leave behind as a legacy to the community. Then work out a meaningful and inspiring two-year personal plan (similar to your organisation’s business plan). Then establish some tangible goals to achieve and a set of actions that will take you there.


What is the vision you want to paint that speaks of your values?

What have you been missing out all these years?

How can this be fulfilled in the next stage of your life in an easy and simple way? What is your two-year action plan for this?

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