Coaching, mentoring and development activities are underpinned by a strong knowledge base, professional training and qualifications, and supported, where possible, by theory and up-to-date research evidence.

One skill in coaching and consultancy, whether with individuals, teams or groups, is knowing which technique or tool to use. Careful and appropriate selection of techniques can enhance coaching and development at various stages. The process, however, is every bit as important as technical aids, and so care is needed throughout the stages of assessment , review and evaluation.

Through coaching, people are encouraged to reflect on themselves and their behaviour, and to learn from experience. They will sometimes be directed to websites which offer self-assessments, or the diagnostic tools will be provided. As well as this, a wide range of techniques is available. Choice will depend on many factors, including the preferences of the person being coached and their particular situation. Some are more likely in organisational settings, and administered face-to-face; others can be used over the telephone or by e-mail.

Assessments can be used to identify needs, benchmark the present position, and for the evaluation or measurement of change. They can also have a developmental role in supporting the coaching process. There is no assumption that a particular technique or tool is ‘the best’, or should be used on all occasions – what matters is what is right for the individual, right now. Assessment might be through:

  • Carefully selected questions that encourage focus, insight and appropriate challenge
  • Psychometric tests such as MBTI®, 16PF, FIRO™ and various career and interest inventories
  • Techniques such as repertory grids, critical incident and card sorts
  • Interviews
  • Shadowing and observation
  • 360° Feedback
  • Documentary sources, such as appraisal or performance review records

Nor is there an assumption that coaching (or the same coach) will be right for everyone. This is why confidential referrals can be made elsewhere, on request; to other coaches, for example, or perhaps to professional counsellors or psychologists, where needs cannot be met appropriately by coaching, training or facilitation.