The Top Five Things Excellent Coaches Do – Coaching is a skill rather than a gift or talent

Coaching works. Period. According to the International Coaching Federation, 86 percent of organizations see a return on their coaching investment, and 96 percent of individuals who have been coached say they would repeat the process again. But unfortunately, only 25 percent of managers spend time coaching, communicating, and fostering creativity compared to managing their staff (delegating tasks, managing projects, resolving concerns, etc.).

How could such a powerful skill set be so underutilized? To start, most do not know how to coach effectively. And when we doubt our ability, we disengage.

Rather than wallow in our incompetence, let’s learn the simple, yet powerful skills excellent coaches use to achieve profound results.

Learn To Look

When a coach is providing direction or instruction, the coachee may misunderstand something or take offense. Resorting to silence, the coachee may not express their true feelings and leave the coach unaware. Successful coaches spot these early warning signs and ask probing questions like, “Did that last part make sense?” Or, “Did I say something that may have caused concern?” Learning to look will help bring the conversation back on track.

Build Psychological Safety

Undergirding trust and open dialogue is the concept of psychological safety. This can be defined as an openness to freely express one’s view without fear of reproach. To create this, a coach needs to make clear their mutual purpose (e.g., “I care about your goals and aspirations.”) and mutual respect (e.g., “I care about you as a person.”). Either at the beginning of the interaction or when signs of resistance appear, successful coaches make clear their mutual purpose and respect to create a safe environment.

Utilize Strengths

Years back, Gallup did a study of over 80,000 managers to determine what great managers do to create quality workplaces. In the research, they found that one of the most important questions managers can ask their employees is, “At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?” Those who can’t answer affirmatively are often disengaged and underutilized. Great coaches ask this same question, and they find ways to integrate their coachees’ strengths and talents into their everyday work.

Become a Guide

All too often, coaches jump in with counsel on what the learner should do in a given situation. While there is a time and place for this in the workplace, it is not the role of a coach. The coach serves as a guide, allowing the coachee to make their own choices and participate in self-discovery. Real behavior change occurs when people have personal learning experiences and the freedom to make choices.

Create Self-Reliance

The end goal of the coaching relationship should be to help the coachee sustain their own development and become self-reliant. While you may be tempted to secure ongoing coaching appointments, this leads to dependency and poor results. Seek instead to develop a plan with the coachee to integrate the newly acquired skills into their daily life—so they learn to apply them automatically and independently.

Coaching is a skill rather than a gift or talent. And like any skill, it can be refined and developed. Coaches succeed when they meet the participant where they are and match the needed skills to each learner. Rather than speak from the pulpit, work on developing your coaching skills—and get the results you and your team need.

Author : Kelly Andrews is a Client Coach & Trainer at VitalSmarts.
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Magazine Name : Leadership Excellence August 2018
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