Using Coaching for an End of Year Overview

By Marguerite Ham

Reflection about the past is a great way to prepare a useful plan for the next year, not just a list of unworkable and soon-to-be-discarded resolutions. To all of you who manage and or supervise staff members, now is a great time to schedule a coaching session with your direct reports to allow them to reflect on how 2018 was for them.  Most of us are so busy with work, and the commitments and responsibilities of the holidays that we don’t take the time to reflect on how our year actually went.  Create this opportunity for your direct reports!

Road map for a reflective coaching session

Time for reflection

I compiled a list of questions to help prompt constructive reflection on the past. These questions are meant to be asked of another person, and the coach must allow them time to reflect, think through, and share out loud their responses.  Some of you may or may not realize that there is “magic” in hearing ourselves speak out loud.  When we talk out loud, our brain processes and comes up with better solutions than when we are simply musing about a situation or challenge.  Talking helps us bring a situation into perspective that perhaps we were blowing out of perspective by tumbling the challenge around inside our head.  That is one of the greatest gifts that coaching brings to others: the gift of truly being heard by someone who is fully present and listening.

Please take the time to meet with your staff members individually and ask them the following questions specific to the year gone by. Allow them to reflect and respond out loud. Be present with them without judgment.

  1. What happened this past year that you expected to happen?
  2. What happened this past year that you did not expect to happen?
  3. What was the most difficult task/challenge/conversation/goal that you handled/made happen/survived?
  4. What disappointments or regrets did you experience?
  5. What did you accomplish that you are most proud of?
  6. What were the two or three “themes” that kept recurring this year?
  7. What major life lessons did you learn this past year?
People and coaches

This gives your staff members and direct reports the opportunity to:

  1. Reflect on what they wanted to happen this past year
  2. Acknowledge what actually did happen
  3. Learn from the experience
  4. Adjust behavior and expectations for the future

Reflection resources

I recently re-read a really great book, “Your Best Year Ever” by Michael Hyatt. I highly recommend working through this book if you are interested in making next year more meaningful and productive. Michael offers a free Life Score Assessment (click for link). It’s another great way to check-in and reflect if you are creating a balanced life, and uncover where you may be out of balance.

Distill the lessons from your experiences so they can serve as tools moving forward.

Michael Hyatt

Leadership Challenge: Create the time to look back and reflect on 2018 so you can create a more intentional 2019.


reflecting on experience
We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.

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