Is the nature of the problem understood?
Often, the nature of an individual’s performance difficulties are not well understood, and coaching is used to identify manifestations of the problem and explore the root causes.
What competency is to be improved?
Some competencies can best be improved by coaching, others by some other developmental activity. Coaching often works well for the development of skills that require feedback on actual behavior but may be less useful when measures of improvement are not dependent on someone else’s evaluation.
How sensitive is the problem?
Although everyone has strengths and weaknesses, exposing your weaknesses varies in acceptability. While it may be OK to admit that you lack knowledge in an area to which you have never been exposed, it may not be OK to admit that you lack the interpersonal skills to build strong business relationships. Some individuals are resistant to admitting they have any performance deficiencies. Sometimes, just exploring the problem is a delicate matter.
What learning skills does the individual possess?
Acquiring new skills is a function of learning skills as well as the motivation to learn. Sometimes a coach serves simply to help the individual discipline him or herself and spend time on development activities. Other times, a coach assists the individual in analyzing a situation and pointing out the salient elements. Coaching cannot add much value in situations where the person does not have the raw capabilities to succeed.
What motivations does the individual have to participate fully in a coaching relationship?
The essential requirement for effective coaching is simply the individuals desire to improve his or her performance and willingness to work at it. Improving a skill is a challenging task. Unless the individual is motivated to participate fully in a coaching relationship and make significant changes, coaching is not likely to succeed.
Will the individual have the support of others in the organization?
An individual making major changes in his or her approach to work must have the support of the organization. Sometimes, support is in the form of the boss providing detailed feedback. Other times, the organization must be willing to accept new approaches to certain activities. Without organizational support, changes in the individual are unlikely to be sustained over time.