Behavioral Coaching – 11 Facts Checklist (2024)

Behavior responses are learned early and become habitual when repetition fuses the neurocircuitry in the brain.

Once that fusion happens, changing those habits or behaviors can be extremely challenging.

That’s life coaching to behaviors by many highly degreed coaches often say, “coaching my clients to change their behavior is impossible”. But is it true?

Let’s dive right into it.

#1 What Is Behavioral Coaching?

Behavioral coaching is traditionally used to change behaviors in sports or athletic performance.

Most recently Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) has been valuable for team leaders at work, executives, and managers with respect to their interaction with colleagues and employees.

Behavioural coaching emphasizes behavioral change based on strengthening a client’s self-identity and values. 

The use of new or reframed visions and goals help clients visualize a practical and achievable reality.

Once a person understands how the behavior was created, they can be shown how to take action to change it to the behavior they’d rather have.

Behavioral coaching helps people effectively achieve change on a wide range of levels, such as:

  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Skillful
  • Intellectual
  • Self-conceptual
  • Motivational
  • Valueful

Strong business based and leadership traits like honesty, integrity, or diligence are difficult to measure. The role of the coach is to draw these traits out for behavioral change in people within leadership roles.

Behavioral Coaching
Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

#2 Behavioral Coaching Strategies

Behavioral coaching strategies are based on the ways in which a coach can help their client reach effectual and desired change in their lives.

15 Behavioral Coaching Strategies:

  1. Create a safe supportive environment for a client to have their “internal conversation” out loud
  2. Defining individuals’ current status and progress of behavior, rather than personality traits or styles
  3. Understanding all behavior results in positive or negative consequences for the individual and those around them
  4. Specifying the impact of behavioral change; a professional skill, business position, task, etc.
  5. Use of language to create change and to change language
  6. Uncovering key emotional drivers of behavior
  7. Accessing and assessing emotional events; “soul talk” not just “self talk”
  8. Exploring and changing core values, motivations, beliefs and attitudes, resulting in significant behavioral change
  9. Assessing covert behaviors (e.g., limiting beliefs, anxiety) in relation to overt behaviors (e.g., speaking at a meeting) 
  10. Assessing how environment affects behavior
  11. Designing “actions and behaviors” that match “new conversations” and employing them
  12. Statistical proof of beneficial change/learning acquisition and ROI

#3 What Is Cognitive Behavioral Coaching?

With its origins in psychology, Cognitive Behavioral Coaching (CBC) is a powerful coaching model drawing on evidence based psychological models.

Strategies, activities, techniques, and exercises that coaches use are effective in helping people identify and challenge self-defeating thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

It was derived and developed from two separate techniques – firstly, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which was outlined in its contemporary form by psychiatrist and professor, Aaron Temkin Beck.

Secondly, and to a lesser extent, Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT), which is the work of Albert Ellis.

Both have been used to treat trauma, and mental health issues such as depression and agoraphobia.

The basis of CBC is this: what we think about a situation, affects how we feel about it. Since we can change what we think of situations, we can therefore change our feelings. 

CBC was developed with the intention of helping people overcome behavior leading to functional weaknesses or mental obstacles within the workplace.

#4 Benefits Of Behavioral Coaching

Coaching behavior is most effective in these three areas; solving problems, developing and achieving long-term goals, and improving performance. Executive coaching is one area a coach can use these skills.

#1 Benefits to Managers

  • Helps managers align their team and employees to the organization’s objectives and vision leading to independent and creative problem-solving
  • Research shows a direct link between human capital management and superior shareholder returns
  • Offers managers a way to enhance their own skills and the individual or team’s current skills
  • Develops employees who are committed and trusted to use their discretion and judgment leading to behavior that’s agreeable with organizational objectives and goals

#2 Benefits to Executive Coaching for Women

  • Women executives face those issues common to all leaders as discussed above, yet also have other challenges
  • Changing beliefs and misconceptions about women in leadership
  • Life balance and the expectations of peers and family
  • Political maneuvering and relationship building with key stakeholders
  • Being assertive
  • Delegating and managing dissent and conflict

#3 Benefits of Coaching Program Managers (CPM’s)

  • CPM’s trained in behavioral coaching are involved in coaching programs from their inception
  • Being a coach themselves, they often introduce coaching into the organization
  • They oversee and manage its delivery
  • The person managing a coaching program introduced by an external coach provider

Benefits of Behavioral Coaching in Education

  1. Coaching the teacher

Focus is on the assessment of the teachers’ strengths and weaknesses, developing a personalized action plan and working to the teacher’s agenda rather than that of the governing educational body.

  1. Peer Coaching

The aim of peer coaches is to refine present teaching skills. It’s proven particularly effective with senior teachers. Peer coaching allows teachers to share a professional dialogue about the science and art of teaching.

  1. Coaching Students

Teachers use behavior coaching techniques when coaching students in a group setting. There may be a group of students with a common problem or may be part of a life skills coach curriculum.

A study of fifth graders wanting to improve their social skills showed they were able to change and enhance their ability to interact in mutually beneficial ways.

  1. Coaching for Academic Success

Behavioral Coaching for careers and career transitions offers individuals support, resources, and guidance during what are often stressful times. Internal career coaching programs are often conducted by external coaches.

Behavioral Coach
Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Other Benefits of Behavioral Coaching

  1. Coaching in Health Care Settings

Behavioral Coaches work with individual physicians, supervisors, and administrative 

personnel in hospitals and other public and private health organizations. Some of the coaching areas include: personal leadership, management skills, managing interpersonal conflicts with and among staff, career development, and career transition.

  1. Sales Coaching

Behavioral Coaches work with sales managers to enhance their management and 

coaching skills. Sales coaching helps with behavior change in the following areas: 

negative beliefs and expectations that can impact sales performance and the coach’s 

role in working with salespersons in the ‘flow’, ‘panic’, and ‘drone’ zones. 

  1. Cross Cultural Coaching

A rapidly expanding niche for Behavioral Coaches is to coach individuals and teams in cross-cultural settings. These specialists can guide and support others through difficult cultural adaptation.

#5 What Is The Process Of Coaching In Organizational Behavior?

Initially, coaching employees could take extra time, after all, teaching a man to fish is a process, versus just catching a man a fish. However, the results in behavioral change are worth the investment.

Think of your organization as a tree with the CEO as the trunk. The individual contributors are the fruit (people doing the work), and managers are their supportive branches. Behavioral coaching is a key tool to assist your teammates to ripen.

First of all:

  1. Decide what you want to accomplish

Be clear in your own mind about what you want to accomplish. Focus on how the end result will look more than the process, or how you think they should get there.

In the big picture, how will it affect your overall company objectives? How will it affect your employees’ role in the long run?

If you can be clear about what you want to achieve and your expectations, you’re more likely to entice your employees.

  1. Choose the right path

Now that the employee knows the why, it’s time to talk about how.

Set specific criteria for what the outcome should include and a timeline. Has this ever been done before? If so, is there someone else within the company or team who might provide some first-hand advice?

Communication is important to the process. It should come before, during and after.

Don’t just give them instructions and send them on their way.

  1. Stay on top of the process

Check progress and encourage employees to ask questions, have any concerns, or issues.

Be there to guide, instruct and offer encouragement and direction as needed, but give them freedom and autonomy.

There’s a fine line between good support and micromanaging.One thing the best coaches know is how to avoid crossing that barrier.

  1. Give feedback

Feedback is a two-way process. Employees must feel free to communicate any issues. You, as a coach, need to respond with constructive feedback on their progress and how they can improve.

Reassure your employees, while being encouraging, without sugar coating it.

  • Be specific
  • Provide examples
  • Tell them what wasn’t done right
  • Show how it could be done differently
  • Explain why to do it that way
  1. Review and recalibrate

Meet a final time with your employees to look back on the project as a whole. Discuss what worked, what didn’t and what could be done differently next time.

Be sure to celebrate successes and reward accomplishments. Positive reinforcement encourages people to keep moving forward.

#6 How Do You Ask A Good Coaching Question?

Questions asked by coaches can be powerful and deserve very thoughtful answers.

  • Coaching questions need to be open-ended and asked with sincere curiosity.
  • Build understanding by asking questions to uncover what might be hiding under the surface.
  • Ask questions to set the direction. This can shift the focus from what’s wrong to what’s possible.
  • Together you can shape options. This will help generate ideas.
  • Define their next actions. Bring clarity to the process and what the next steps could be.
Behavioral Change
Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

#7 Behavioral Coaching Questions

There can be more than one answer to coaching questions because the answers are individualized. A coach’s job is to help the client think, rather than think for them.

  1. Build Understanding
  • What challenges are you facing?
  • What matters to you right now?
  • What’s on your mind today?
  • What opportunities are you seeing?
  • What else?
  1. Set Direction
  • What’s the best possible outcome?
  • What would you like to achieve?
  • What do you want to happen next?
  • What does success look like?
  • How will you know if you’ve succeeded?
  1. Shape Options
  • What have you tried?
  • What options do you have?
  • What else?
  • How possible is each option?
  • What would you need for you to believe this option as possible?
  1. Define Next Actions
  • What date/information do you require to make a decision?
  • What action can you take now?
  • What can you take away from this conversation, as a next step or new way of thinking?
  • What support do you require? Where or who are your supports?
  • How can I help?

#8 What Does A Behavioral Coach Do?

Some major areas where behavioral coaches work and specialize is:

  • Behavioral health coaching in the workplace
  • Executive coaching (CEO’s)
  • Transformational leadership coaching
  • Coaching female executives
  • Coaching in education
  • Business coaching
  • Cross-cultural coaching
  • Sales coaching
  • Coaching in the healthcare industry
  • Personal coaching

One big factor in people’s lives is that feeling of not being enough. This can be the case with work, relationships, education, business, sales, etc. Coaching is an excellent way to help address this.

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#9 How Do I Become A Behavioral Coach?

If you want to become a licensed behavioral coach, use this guide to take action:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in health, human services, or science.
  2. Obtain a graduate degree in behavioral psychology, occupational therapy, marriage and family therapy, addiction counselling, sports counselling, or clinical psychology.
  3. Obtain licensure as this is a requirement in most states.
  4. Opportunities for career advancement, as you may qualify to offer therapeutic services for business and organizations.
  5. Optional certification through the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists requires 10 years experience.

#10 Behavioral Coach Salary

In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists behavioral therapists as making $44,630 as an average yearly salary.

#11 Best Certification Programs for Behavioral Coaches

When looking for certification programs, research the ones that are accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

ICF credential holders are part of a self-regulated group of elite coaches providing accountability to clients and the profession as a whole.

Best coaching certification programs (ICF accredited)

Maybe you’d like to take action and become a coach yourself. If you find this information valuable, please let me know if I could help you further. 

Or if you know someone who could benefit from behavioral coaching, please forward this article to them. You never know who you could be helping by guiding them to behavioral change.

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About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.