When not to use the Five-Minute Coach

Lynne Cooper

· Five-Minute Coach tips

A question I am sometimes asked is ‘In what coaching scenarios shouldn’t I use the Five-Minute Coach?’

Great question. And so far we've not discovered a definitive answer. Each time I think that maybe we shouldn’t use the Five-Minute Coach in a particular situation I hear a story of someone who has successfully done just that. A recent example was a coach specialising in bereavement coaching with clients presenting with the deep emotions around loss that we would anticipate. The coach was surprised but delighted that the Five-Minute Coach worked well as one of the coaching interventions she used with some clients.

As there is no definitive answer to ‘When shouldn’t I use the Five-Minute Coach?’ here are a few things to look out for:

1. Is the coachee engaged in the process (answering questions, reflecting and thinking well, showing signs of comfort?)If not it may be time to pause and check in whether the coachee is happy to continue to work in this way – but stick with the process for a while before doing this.

2. Have you set up the Five-Minute Coach process in a way that the coachee understands how you will be working with them?If not you have not really contracted in the moment to use the model and you may find some resistance. If necessary pause and have that conversation before moving on.

3 Does the coachee appear to be getting irritated or frustrated with the approach?  If so, check in and ask ‘And what’s happening for you right now?’ The answer will indicate whether it’s time to ask whether the coachee wishes to continue to work this way.

4. Are you feeling distinctly uneasy in using the Five-Minute Coach, especially once you have started?Check in with yourself. What’s that feeling telling you? If you are just new to the process keep coaching, it becomes much easier with practice. If you are more experienced, take your lead from the coachee. If he is engaged then keep on going. Otherwise follow the approach in 1 above.

5. Is the coaching scenario one that may need you to offer feedback on what you are noticing happening for the coachee, or even some mentoring?  Particularly if your coachee is a direct report or is coming to you for guidance at work, consider carefully whether this conversation would best be held through a coaching approach or a more directive stance.

Please do share your stories of the situations where you have successfully used the Five-Minute Coach and those where it hasn’t worked. Just drop an email to cal@thefiveminutecoach.co.uk – you can include a voice note if it’s faster for you. We look forward to hearing from you.