Here’s what you can say to your boss in order to strengthen your relationship and enable you to address your concerns about being coached in a collaborative way, without putting anyone on the defensive.
While you are positioning the conversation and your agenda in a collaborative way, you are also creating the opportunity to hold up the mirror so that your boss can recognize certain areas they can improve upon and come to that realization on their own, without running the risk of making them wrong, telling them what they’re not doing or not doing well or putting them on the defensive. By doing so, you are, in fact, honoring one of the core principles of coaching.
Addressing the Concerns, Parameters and Boundaries Around Coaching
If you find that you need to address some sensitive concerns (especially if there’s a trust issue), while establishing the parameters around your manager’s coaching efforts, you can use the following approach when speaking to your boss.
“I have a few questions about moving forward in a coaching relationship with you that we have not addressed to date and I don’t want anything to become a barrier to the great work we can accomplish together. So, I felt it important enough to bring this up to you, because I do value our relationship and your support. As we both (read in the article, the book, heard in the training, etc.) coaching is a two way commitment to the process and requires ongoing, open communication and trust on both ends, as well as both parties being open to feedback. Especially when it’s an employer/employee coaching relationship, it’s important that we are very clear on what we will discuss in coaching, what we will not discuss, what information will be kept confidential and never compromised or used beyond our coaching, and what information will be acceptable to use during a performance review.”
“That said, would you be open to discussing these things that, once addressed, would help strengthen our relationship and make the coaching even more effective and valuable?”
Photo Credit: Philip Milne