Client Readiness for Coaching: Assessment protocol

The task for the preparation stage is to assist the client in envisaging her future life, verbalizing her intrinsic goals in detail, and converting the goals into action plans. This turns the change intention achieved in the previous contemplation stage into a concrete commitment to the proposed change. The client will set goals, determine her priorities, and develop an action plan.

“Converting intention into action, ” is the motto.

Assessment protocol

Is the confidence level, or self-efficacy, commensurate to the anticipated change?

Is the client verbalizing concrete commitment toward change?

Is the client verbalizing a clear action plan toward change?

Is the client already involved in self-regulating behavior toward change?

Is the client firmly in the preparation stage?

Is the client speaking about taking action soon? Or, is the client speaking about the possibility of change, indicating her ambivalence tipping to the contemplation stage rather than the preparation stage?

Is the client verbalizing the benefits the change can offer compared to retaining the status quo?

Is the client engaged in verbalizing the vision of a future life?

Is the client actively developing goals and action plans?

Is the client setting goals according to the principles of Goal-setting theory?

Is the client actively developing implementation intentions to help her foresee and proactively cope with potential obstacles?

Is the client developing her learning agenda and learning plan?

Is the client enthusiastic about verbalizing intrinsic goals and aligning these goals with an action plan?

Is the action plan realistic and actionable?

Is the client preparing for action?

Is the client ready to move into action and seeks the support of a coach for goal attainment?

Has the client verbally committed to following through with the chosen plan?

Is the client’s confidence strong enough to realize the action plan?

Has the client considered and anticipated pitfalls and possible setbacks in advance?

Has the client discussed previous failed attempts and identified potentially valuable lessons learned?

How will you deal with potential obstacles to attain your goals?

What options do you have, and what will you choose?

Can you state clearly your chosen goals concerning the new behaviors?

Can you announce your commitment to the new behaviors and the anticipated change?

Coaching Readiness

Questions to assess individual “readiness” for coaching.

(The Coaching and Philanthropy Project;

Rate as (Y/N) or (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Undecided, Agree, Strongly Agree).

I’m at a point in my life where I’m ready to work on personal or leadership issues related to my work.

I’m open to new ideas and new ways of doing things to facilitate positive change and growth.

I understand that in coaching, the “client does the work,” not the coach.

I’m prepared to devote the time needed to make coaching work, including time for meetings and homework in between.

I’m prepared to tackle the tough issues to close the gap between where I am now and where I want to be.

My learning needs are unique. I only want relevant concepts and skills that help me address strategic issues and immediate concerns.

I can commit to keeping my regularly scheduled appointment with my coach, even if it means rescheduling an appointment.

If something is not working in my relationship with my coach, I will let my coach know immediately so we can immediately take action to improve the situation.

My coach can count on me to always tell the truth, even when it’s difficult for the coach or me.

I see coaching as an investment in my leadership and personal growth vs. a punitive measure or a “mandate” from others in my organization or my board.

I need additional tools, resources, or concrete approaches to various leadership and organizational challenges.

I’m looking for a partner who can share my successes and help me cope with my challenges.

Something out of the ordinary going on in my personal life might negatively affect my ability to work with a coach. (Flag) 

{If you answered “yes” to the flagged question, coaching may not be the right fit at this point in time.}

Questions to assess organizational “readiness” for coaching.

My board members and staff leaders support coaching for me or the organization.

Others in the organization understand the reasons for and goals of coaching.

The organization is experiencing a change in strategy, leadership, or external conditions that can become a focal point for coaching.

The organization is seeking opportunities for leaders and key staff members to think about and plan to implement new learning.

The organization is suffering because of interpersonal conflicts or other problems that might hinder the effects of coaching. (Flag)

Readiness for Change Assessment Scale

These items, taken from the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale, can be used as indicators in the client’s speech of their current thinking and feeling concerning their attitudes and activities about their goal or the planned change. Changes in speech patterns will indicate progress during the coaching and might be used as predictors of end-of-coaching outcomes.

An individual enters the Contemplation stage when she becomes aware of a desire to change a particular behavior (typically defined as within the next six months). In this stage, individuals weigh the pros and cons of changing their behavior.

The ambivalence between the pros and cons of change keeps many people immobilized in this stage. Resolving this ambivalence is one way to help Contemplators progress toward taking action to change their behavior.

As the individual explores her willingness and perceived ability to adapt, her attitude, thinking, and feeling may progress toward an enhanced focus on intrinsic, self-concordant goals and enhanced self-efficacy beliefs about her ability to change.

This exploration is greatly supported by the individual’s awareness of the needs and drives for change, her own and that of the environment. These needs and drives for change are now translated into goal intentions by aligning these needs and drives with intrinsic, self-concordant goals and self-efficacy beliefs in pursuing the desired change.

Indicators of the Contemplation stage include speech such as,

“I think I might be ready for some self-improvement.”

“I’ve been thinking that I might want to change something about myself.”

“I have a problem and I think I should work on it.”

“I wish I had more ideas on how to solve my problem.”

“Maybe coaching will be able to help me.”

“I’m hoping coaching will help me to better understand myself.”

“I hope that someone here will have some good advice for me.”

When individuals enter the Preparation stage, the pros of attempting to change a problem behavior outweigh the cons. Action is intended soon, typically measured as within the next thirty days. Previous attempts to change their behavior may have been made, and they may have been unsuccessful in maintaining that change. Preparers often have an action plan but may not entirely commit to it. Many traditional action-oriented behavior change programs are appropriate for individuals in this stage.

It is important to note that many individuals make unsuccessful change attempts becoming discouraged and regressing to the Pre-contemplation stage.

The Action stage marks the beginning of the actual change in the criterion behavior, typically within the past six months. By this point, an individual is halfway through the process of behavior change according to the Transtheoretical Model (TTM). This is also where relapse is most likely and subsequently regressing to an earlier stage. If an individual has not sufficiently prepared for change and committed to their chosen plan of action, relapse back to the problem behavior is likely.

Indicators of the Action stage include speech such as,

“I’m doing something about the problems that had been bothering me.”

“I’m finally doing some work on my problem.”

“At times my problem is difficult, but I’m working on it.”

“I’m really working hard to change.”

“Even though I’m not always successful in changing, I am at least working on my problem.”

“Anyone can talk about changing; I’m actually doing something about it.”

“I’m actively working on my problem.”

Individuals are thought to be in the Maintenance stage when they have successfully attained and maintained behavior change for at least six months. While the risk of relapse is still present in this stage, it is less so, and as such, individuals need to exert less effort in engaging in change processes.

Indicators of the Maintenance stage include speech such as,

“It worries me that I might slip back on a problem I have already changed, so I am here to seek help.”

“I may need a boost right now to help me maintain the changes I’ve already made.”

“I’m here to prevent myself from having a relapse of my problem.”

“After all that I had done to try to change my problem, now and then it comes back to haunt me.”

“I thought once I had resolved the problem I would be free of it, but sometimes I still find myself struggling with it.”

“I’m not following through with what I had already changed as well as I had hoped, and I’m here to prevent a relapse of the problem.”

“It is frustrating, but I feel I might be having a recurrence of a problem I thought I had resolved.”