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Being an Effective Coach

Jill Campen

I believe everyone needs a coach! Coaches help you reach your destination with the best possible outcome. When you need to make an important decision, a long-term process improvement, complete a project, or change the way you think about and approach things, a coach can work with you to get a more desirable resolution.  

Coaching is all about helping people get what they want. 

There are some misconceptions about what coaches do. Coaches aren’t attorneys, accountants, or mental health professionals, and they don’t give legal or financial advice. 

Coaching is a process in which the coach and client collaborate to identify areas of focus, set goals, and create action plans. 

Together, coach and client create a coaching relationship to ensure the client is making the mindset and skillset adjustments that best support the achievement of their goals. The coach’s role is to ask questions and act as a sounding board, or sometimes a mirror.

Coaching is all about helping people get what they want. Guiding them to answer the questions: What do I want? What will it take to get there? And then supporting them through the process of doing those steps until they reach their goal.

Get ready for a successful negotiation. 

One way a coach may help is with negotiation preparation. When coaching in negotiations, I find it critically important to understand the mindset of the person I am coaching because that is the foundation for their negotiation success. Here are some examples of the sort of things I want to know: 

  • What are they telling themselves about the upcoming negotiation? 
  • Do they believe they have a chance for success? 
  • Are they nervous about what they are asking for? 
  • Have they done research about the marketplace to understand their “highest defendable position?” 

The answers to these questions reveal much about how the client will present themselves in the course of negotiations. In fact, how they present is at least as important as the circumstances and facts of their position. A colleague of mine refers to this as their “swagger.” If I can help my client establish a realistic goal for their negotiation outcome, prepare for what they want, and anticipate the needs, objectives, and challenges of the other side, I can coach them toward a successful outcome.

As a Scotwork consultant, I often use Scotwork’s preparation objective sheet as a reference when preparing for negotiations. It’s not the only tool I’ve used in the course of coaching and training over the years, but it’s one I’ve come to count on. It is a fantastic guideline for anyone to jump-start their thinking about all of the components of a negotiation…but when you bring in a coach, it facilitates a whole new level of preparation. 

Coaches are masters of the art of questioning. 

Part of a coach’s “secret sauce” is their ability to ask additional questions, whether around this negotiation preparation document, or in general. These are questions that the negotiator typically hasn’t thought about and wouldn’t know to ask. A good coach will know how to build on the answer to one question with appropriate follow-up questions and dig past the superficial “first layer” of preparation. 

Even if the negotiator completes every aspect of the preparation document on their own, there will still be additional considerations they have overlooked. For example: 

  • What new information might come into this discussion? 
  • What might come up later that they should be aware of now? 
  • What do they know about the competition? 
  • What do they know about the internal decision making process? 

Each of those questions opens the door to additional conversation. The goal is to be prepared to handle anything that may arise in the course of negotiations, without sacrificing a successful outcome. 

It’s important to note that the coach need not be an expert in the industry, the competitive landscape, or the economic analysis of the negotiation. The coach only needs to be ready to ask every possible question regarding the process and outcomes of the negotiation. 

The beauty and mystery of coaching through negotiation preparation is that there is no single master list of questions to quickly run through—it is an iterative process, and it’s different every time.

Jill Campen


If you would like specialist coaching training join our Coaching program


Now, you can ensure that your people’s Negotiating Skills continue to develop beyond their attendance at a Scotwork Negotiating Skills training course. Negotiating skills can become a core competence within your organization and your business will have an on-going competitive advantage. 

Scotwork-trained coaches will: 

  • Evaluate your negotiators’ skill level and progress 
  • Offer your people constructive feedback using an advanced negotiating skill competency matrix and value-adding coaching guidelines 
  • Bring about a lasting transformation, using a proven coaching method and competency-development tools 
  • Become a key internal resource, enabling you to effectively embed and sustain the development of Advancing Negotiation Skills throughout your business 
  • Learn coaching skills to guide individuals towards their negotiating objectives and personal development goals.

More information on the Coaching program




Jill Campen
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