Best Practices for Coaching with SkillGym

SkillGym is a fantastic solution to upgrade leadership coaching strategies and several hundreds of coaches around the world are already benefiting of its A.I. driven features. In this article I collected some of the most important best practices as told by the best and smartest leadership coaches.
Andrea Laus
SkillGym CEO
9 min read


In another article (“Boosting leadership coaching with Digital Role Play“) I have already explored how powerful SkillGym can be when it comes to supporting executive and leadership coaching activity.

We have seen that there are several ways to leverage A.I. for the purpose of upskilling managers on conversation during and in between coaching session.


SkillGym is the perfect companion for the Coach. It can prove very helpful both during the coaching session that focus on critical conversations and communication skills and to develop those abilities along a much wider practice program between sessions, with the help of bootcamps and metrics.

In fact, the growing library of critical conversations allow to choose among several situations to play with, being most of them perfectly focused on the key circumstances where most leaders normally struggle and where conversational performance is really critical.


All the coaching tools around the critical conversations are designed for perfect integration into the strategy of executive coaches.
So, you can decide to play together, to plan goals, to review performances, to discuss about details or even to schedule dedicated follow-up activities for self-practicing specific conversations.

Let’s review together some of the best recommendations that I keep collecting from executive coaches around the world who already master the way to integrate SkillGym in their strategy.


What you can do during the session

The most typical approach of coaching with SkillGym is that of playing one critical conversation side by side.

You can discuss the preparation and the strategy before the conversation starts, thus helping him structuring the way he warms up, you can watch the coachee while playing the conversation and you can help him to reflect on his performance before accessing the simulation feedback and digital KPIs.


You can discuss with the coachee the feedback provided by the simulation, both analyzing the metrics and digging inside the Augmented Replay to discuss his position and reinforce the best practices

And you can discuss his overall trend of performance and the commitment to specific goals. And this gives you the possibility to go beyond the live session and assign long term schedules and assignments.


What you can do between two sessions

In fact, we all know that mastery requires practice. So, there is nothing better that assigning bootcamps in between of live session and let the coachee increase his experience in field on his own

The coachee will receive invitations by email in his calendar to schedule the meetings just like in real life.

He will also receive periodical reminders as an occasion for preparing. He will be free to play the simulations as many times as he wants, waiting the “official” scheduled session enhancing his confidence and getting ready for the appointment.


You will get notified of any conversation he plays, with the possibility to review his performance, from the macro figures to the micro details of single behaviors, and plan consequently your coaching strategy for the next live session

With SkillGym you can decide how to blend your strategy of support on critical conversations. Play together, discuss together, define follow-up assignment.

And leverage the analytical metrics and your tutorboard to design paths of development along sessions, weeks and months.
And use the same data to prove your impact along the way.


How you should include SkillGym in your session

The best strategy to leverage SkillGym in a face to face coaching session starts with recognizing the importance of critical conversation in coaching activities.
Most of the leader’s performance goes through conversations, so it is very important to dedicate time to this topic

And there is nothing like practicing. And practicing together is even more powerful. Because it gives the sense of urgency and importance of this key task.


So, the best call to action and the best way to leverage your advice is playing and discuss together.

The selection of the conversation should come from a joint analysis of the gaps, the needs, the organization and the confidence of the leader.

But don’t forget to cover the basics. Too often leaders tend to show off confidence on what they think they are expected to be confident and at the end they are not or at least not enough.


Playing the simulation together. What is your role.

Defining the reciprocal roles is paramount. It’s a simulation, of course, but it should go like in real life.

So, your role is that of the coach, also in SkillGym.

First guide the coachee to prepare the meeting: there is no point in starting a conversation straight away and the preparation is an essential part of the exercise.
Watch what he chooses to do and advise on what should not be underestimated.

Let him make mistakes during the conversation.
Observe his attitude, his emotions and take notes about points that you may want to discuss later on.


Reviewing the simulation together (or a past simulation). What you look at, what you do, what you ask

Once the simulation is over, do not jump immediately to the feedback. Ask him to go for the self-evaluation that will feed the awareness measurement.

And then spend time together discussing how he thinks the result was and why.


This will help to reinforce the importance of self-awareness. The self-evaluation step is of great help at this stage and, by the way here, is where the Awareness KPI of Skillgym plays a great role: it will help you showing in numbers the importance of a humble approach to the task.

You have several tools for discussing together the outcome of the simulation: the emotional feedback, the macro metrics and the Augmented Replay.

Prefer to go straight where the pain is. And prefer your coachees to tell you what he needs to review with you. And don’t forget to add your personal touch: you were observing the session like it was a real critical conversation.

You may also want to discuss a past conversation or even a conversation played by someone else (no privacy is disclosed) to highlight specific paths or specific best/worst practices.


Plan remote sessions in advance as a key part of your integrated recipe

SkillGym gives you the possibility to set up training bootcamps by easily assigning critical conversation sessions to be scheduled on your coachee calendar.

Start with the end in mind: assignments in between of sessions should become your winning format. critical conversation mastery comes from practice and live sessions are too short to cover a proper practice schedule. Share the need of dedicated bootcamps and explain the advantages.


Create bootcamps personalized on the individual need and start with assessment.
This will help later on to keep on track and provide sounding metrics to celebrate the effort.

Be ready for PULL sessions: Encourage them to ask for your help when needed.
Coaching on demand is the future and it will help you to scale up your business as well.


Prepare for the coaching session: check the user trend in engagement and results + analyze one conversation and highlights the key points

You have a great control tower that lets you check both the engagement and the results. Of a single user and of all your coachees.

You can use it to encourage and push where necessary.


When it comes to remote coaching, the best practice is: prepare on the conversation just like it was you to play it and review the conversation played by your cochee to identify the most critical point you want to discuss.

Then you have several ways to engage online meeting using popular communication tools, emailing your comments or using the integrated messaging facilities.


Adjust the follow-up: reschedule the bootcamp according to the results of the coaching session

Bootcamps should be personalized and adjusted according to the gaps that get highlighted time after time.
You can in fact reschedule appointments and swap critical conversations.

You can decide to bookmark one specific conversation and keep it apart for discussion during the next session.

And all the possibilities you have with SkillGym as a coach will dramatically expand the opportunities of your business model and set you apart from your competition.


What is remote coaching and how it changes all

SkillGym offers the possibility to deliver a totally new class of service called remote coaching.

Where you can help your trainees to improve by doing, let them be reasonably independent on the learning activity and interact with them on a value-based approach: you jump in when you are really needed.


In fact, when you assign a CONVERSATION to a trainee, he will be automatically supported by the system in scheduling the meeting, prepare for the meeting, playing the conversation and understand where and how to improve.

At the same time both of you can talk to each other based on questions he may have or details that you can notice supervising his training from remote.
This is a totally new way of thinking about metric driven remote support.


What tools SkillGym offers to evolve your business model

First of all, the possibility to dig into the smallest detail of any CONVERSATION played by any of your trainees.

Thanks to Analytics and AR. You can go from Macro to Micro and focus on the areas you prefer, also going back in time and benchmarking historical trends and different trainees’ performance and approach.

Then you can provide highly value service such as keeping trainees on track (which is one of the greatest pitfalls of after-class follow-up assignments) leveraging automation.
You save time wilsth providing great values to trainees and sponsor.

Finally, you can play with metrics to demonstrate your impact but also to orientate your clients before, during and after your intervention.


How to coach them from remote

The power of augmented replay brings you where the action is (or was). You can select one conversation and play it step by step; with all the information you need clearly in front of you.

You have several ways to decide where to focus: key steps, wave of performance, objectives.

You can decide several strategies for coaching: advise on the trend of overall skill development, work on specific objectives, focus on key steps of specific behaviors.

And you can interact with your trainees in the many ways offered by digital communication: online conference, email, messaging.


You can review a CONVERSATION together or simply discuss about a new assignment.
You can even start from a simulation to continue the discussion about real life performance.

Possibilities are endless and all converge towards empowering your trainees for better (and measurable) performance.


Organize your agenda with the end in mind

Let’s give a look at how a “remote coaching” week on SkillGym looks like.

First of all, most of your remote coaching activity is… remote. So, you can imagine yourself anywhere but in a classroom.

Typically, you will organize your time to split activities by type along the week. This will speed up your work and reduce your overall effort.


Always keep the final goal clear in front of you: sounding final metrics of engagement and improvement. So, organize your remote coaching activity accordingly.

SkillGym already offers you smart metrics to monitor, but you may want to add your own as well. Be metric driven, always.

Do not distribute your time evenly across your trainees. Adapt your intervention according to where you can make the difference and where it is really needed.

Remember: SkillGym on his own will do part of the hard job, so no need to double the effort.


Look for patterns, it will ease your duty

Skillgym offers a lot of elements to coach on and unless you want to spend hours and hours in remote coaching activities you need to select carefully where to focus and what to coach on.

Look for patterns, starting from the group macro situations and search for those who are not in line with what you expect (in good and bad times, of course).


Then zoom in and select where to jump in according to a predefined strategy. Always ask yourself what really matters for you and focus on few but important elements.

For example, the behaviors behind not hitting the objectives, or the rollercoasting wave of performance or anything else that the powerful Augmented Replay offers you to make the difference in guiding your trainees performance journey.


Make sure they are continuously committed and expect they lose grip

Rely on the automatic system of Skillgym to keep them motivated, but do not forget to monitor participation. Sometimes your personal touch to bring back in someone who is idle for too long will make the difference.

Remember that training is continuity over intensity.

So plan your program in a sustainable way because this will ensure a higher level of conformity to the program.

And, in the end, expect that some of them will lose grip on the way. It’s human after all.

And by the way, this is an interesting metric to present to your sponsor (as long as it is not endemic!) showing the dark side of leading by example.


What’s next

Well, there we are. If you are looking around to find the Digital Role Play solution that suits your need, please give a look around our website, there is plenty of inspiring contents including pre-recorded webinars and articles and of course we would be delighted to continue this conversation with you, all you need to do is book a 1-hour discovery call with us.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

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