A key element of the business coaching process involves making performance plans between the coach and the individual receiving the coaching. A number of important issues and necessary changes are likely to have been identified during the discussions rather than all at the start, which will require thorough planning in order to put these modifications into practice. Without an effective plan of action regarding what to do and when, a lot of vital work will not get done and positive change will come about much more slowly, if at all.
As well as the plans themselves, it is also critically important that the plans are created as a joint collaboration between the coach and the individual, rather than one side dictating to the other everything that is going to happen. It can be tempting for inexperienced business coaches who have had little formal training to try and teach the individual everything they know in order to solve their problems for them. In order for the person to take ownership of the situation and be highly motivated to make the alterations that are needed in their professional lives, they will need to be involved significantly in the creation of these plans. If they simply have instructions dictated to them, they may feel highly reluctant and resistant to having to put in the hard work necessary to make the changes come about. If they have been highly involved in their creation, they will be much more determined to make their achievement come about.
The performance plans - and the targets set to measure success - should be difficult enough that they will require work and effort to achieve, but not so hard that the person does not believe that they can ever be achieved and so becomes disheartened and loses motivation. The challenge in achieving them also means that when they are successfully implemented and targets accomplished, there will be a much greater sense of achievement felt and experienced.
The plans need to be written down to prevent them being forgotten, as there may be quite a long period of time needed in order to achieve the targets if they entail a complicated and fairly radical overhaul of methods of working. Without a definitive plan and targets written down, the goals and objectives may either be forgotten altogether, or be unintentionally altered during the implementation process. If this happens, the overall success of the business coaching programme and the effectiveness of the individual going forward in the future may be severely limited as a consequence.
Just as a failure to plan can cause significant problems, confusion and a general lack of success in achieving goals and targets, so too can making these plans but failing to adequately record them. Therefore when making performance plans in business coaching, as indeed is the case with any other types of plans, they should be accurately written down and recorded so that progress can be easily checked and monitored. Similarly, regular progress meetings need to be scheduled so that the business coach can ensure that the individual is still on the right course and has not begun to go off at a tangent as they endeavour to make changes in their professional life.