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Coaches get so engrossed in their client work they often forget about themselves and their coaching development. Using a SWOT Analysis enables a coach to examine themselves and their coaching practice in a moment in time. As a result, they can then make more informed decisions for themselves moving forward.
The SWOT framework and process
SWOT – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is a common tool used within leadership and management. Equally it can be looked at through a coaching lens.
SWOT needs you to be honest, putting down all that you consider, not mentally deleting things before you put them down.
There are are the four elements to SWOT split over 2 domains, internal and external. Many people ignore this latter part and just focus on the four elements. This limits the opportunity to consider your situation holistically.
Strengths (Internal) – a critical examination of yourself at all levels. Personal, work, social, relationships, values, skills etc. All done through the lens of coaching and as a coach. This view also includes information gained through feedback from others (think Johari’s window). What do you bring to the coaching relationship? What do you bring to coaching in your team and organisation?
Weakness (internal) – again a critical (not negative) self-examination. Bringing out weaknesses and development areas. Consider using bench marks as reference points. Feedback from others provides critical insight. What’s happening in your coaching? How developed do you feel? What’s missing from your practice or behaviours? What’s holding you back from being a great coach?
Opportunities – what are the opportunities for your development as a coach outside of your immediate environment? What physical, emotional and mental opportunities present themselves? The sources, suppliers, networks, groups are out there to utilise? What could they bring you?
Threats – what’s happening on the horizon, outside of you which could impact upon you as a coach. What might or is hindering your practice and development? Coaching trends, changes, legislation, economy that might threaten your industry. Changes in the business climate which might affect your organisation and thus your coaching?
Coaching SWOT document
This SWOT document will prompt thought around each of the elements, in order to get more comprehensive information. It can be modified according to your needs.
Examining the outputs of your SWOT
The value in doing SWOT stems not just from the process, but examining it afterwards.
- How does the information presented help me?
- What (trends) am I noticing?
- How does the included feedback inform the picture I have of my own self awareness?
- What are the 3 biggest risks I need to be conscious of?
- What are the 3 biggest opportunities for me?
- The goals I should be setting to move my coaching and practice forward need to look like what?
Exploring the outcomes with others will also inform your thinking and decisions moving forward.
When to do a SWOT Analysis?
A SWOT analysis can be done at any time. Doing it too often weakens its usefulness. Typically it can be done:
- When no self reflection has been undertaken for a period of time. In effect a ‘health check’.
- When approaching a period of change – personal or organisational.
- Before key personal or organisational decisions are being made.
- Before an appraisal / development conversation to share thinking demonstrating ownership of own development.
- Prior to a coaching or coaching supervision session.
Value of doing a SWOT analysis
SWOT’s foremost help is developing and enhancing self awareness. It helps develop and apply objectivity to a situation. Allows and utilises feedback from others to provide a more complete picture of self and situation.
It enables a coach to examine a situation before making a a decision, thus reducing risks, or making rash decisions.
Finally, it shows others you take a methodical and professional approach to how you deal with situations and decisions. It shows best practice which others can learn from.
The more information a coach has about themselves and their practice the better able they are to make healthy decisions about development, direction and the quality of their offerings. A SWOT analysis is a simple tool to give some quick insight.
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