Creating the Future: Using the ‘6 Coaching Personas’ to get results

by Mar 31, 2023Coaching0 comments

At Thinka, we consistently view our team members as independent individuals with a huge capacity for change across a variety of contexts. We’re drawn to people with unique characteristics, and make the most of these at every opportunity.  

But we’re also highly pragmatic when it comes to each team member’s specific skill set. People don’t begin at Thinka knowing everything they need to know. And with the nature of work evolving so rapidly, developing new abilities is an inevitable part of life.  

Each team member is therefore a work in progress, not a finished product. That’s not only OK, but also desirable.  

Taking this idea seriously involves major responsibility. As leaders, we have to make sure we’re extracting every last gram of our team members’ capacity to grow, learn, and transform over time. 

In this vein, let’s do a deep dive into the idea of coaching. 

Coaching is a concept that’s often oversimplified or taken for granted. It’s assumed that transferring information from one head to another is just like transferring water between jars.  

But coaching isn’t like that at all. It’s a highly complex process, with as many outcomes as there are individuals.  

The act of coaching is far from transparent. There’s no such thing as a ‘neutral’ coaching style, because coaching contains just as much of the coach’s personality as their protégé’s. So, even if you don’t think you have a coaching style … you do. We’re not robots, after all, and we all bring our own personalities to the table.  

It’s only when we consider each person in the coaching equation as unique that coaching can reach its potential.

Let’s venture into Thinka’s six coaching styles, each designed for a different situation. Rather than seeing coaching as a neat, jigsaw-puzzle fit, we understand these boundaries are fluid. Coaching is often more like dancing than mathematics, because it revolves around that all-important human factor.  

We’ve split coaching into six distinct approaches, each for a different situation. 

  • The motivator is about uplift. With a breath of fresh air, this type of coach will boost their protégé’s spirits and unlock new horizons, offering a fresh perspective on their work that will stretch their development.

  • The goal-setter is about results. This persona is perfect for coaching someone with a genuine desire for expansion and tangible skills improvement. It’s ideal for coaching people who respond to precise targets, rather than a more general ‘vibe’. 

  • The technical expert is about information. This is the logical style to use when you’re teaching someone to master something complex and highly specific, like a new computer program. 

  • The accountability driver is about responsibility. This direct, assertive coaching style matches people with ambitious goals. It’s especially useful when a team member’s performance needs improvement, because it provides practical advice on lifting standards. 

  • The empathiser is about feelings. As a supportive coaching style, this approach is most suited to removing a person’s resistance to a task or experience. This is an ideal approach if a person is apprehensive or demoralised at work, as its gently supportive vibe offers comfort and stability. 

  • The fact-finder is about logic. If you’re taking this coaching style, you’re keeping your protégé firmly anchored in reality. This means you’re functioning as an anchor, keeping the person’s challenges firmly in perspective. 

How do you know which coaching style applies to each situation, though? There’s obviously no hard- and-fast guide – but you do have two clues. 

The first is the task itself. Often, your coaching style will be determined by the task. If you’re coaching someone during a performance review, for example, the accountability driver is a workable option.  

The second is the team member. You may find yourself in a situation where two coaching styles apply equally to a situation. For example, when coaching an unmotivated team member, should you be a motivation maker, a goal setter, an empathiser … or a blend of all three?  

The answer obviously depends on the context, including the type of person you’re coaching. Are they a matter-of-fact person who’s likely to be alienated by the emotional approach of a motivation-maker? Or would they find the goal-setter persona incredibly stressful?  

It’s your call – and the only way to know for sure is to be deeply aware of your team’s capacities, strengths, weaknesses and quirks. Coaching is a deeply human process, so it’s always essential to include this factor in your approach. Only by factoring in human diversity, then, will your coaching approach come close to activating your coachee’s potential. 

Learn more about the 6 Coaching Personas in this short video: How to use different coaching styles (Using the ‘Six Coaching Styles’)