September 1, 2023

Development, Leadership, Performance

Executive Coaching pexels kampus production 8190804

Coaching has always been around. We have examples of it from ancient times when emperors consulted with the great sages of the period, seeking guidance on the best path forward. In modern times, we are all familiar with the coach in sport model - teaching, guiding and encouraging their players to victory. Or the coach in education, preparing our children for the big occasions in school life. But what about in business? Why are we seeing a growing demand for business coaching and why are these skills so important? What exactly are the skills needed to successfully guide a leader towards their goals (and do you have them)?

Let’s look at five essential skills for a successful coach in today’s ever-changing world.

1. Setting SMART Goals

People who set goals, achieve more! This seems so simple, but with less than 10% of people having firm goals and less than 3% who write them down, is it any wonder that most people don’t achieve their goals. A coach can assist you to verbalise what’s important to you. Good coaches use a tried and tested goals setting approach, like the SMART goal setting method. Simply put this makes sure your goal is specific, measurable, action focused, realistic and time bound. In the end a more clearly identified goal is more likely to be able to be achieved.

2. Building Trusted Relationships

Trust is central to good relationships. Coaches work hard to build a strong relationship with their coachee to ensure that the respect is mutual. This delivers more measurable results. Trust must be earned and in initial coaching conversations, the coach will work to make the coachee feel comfortable, secure and valued. A good coach will get their coachee to talk about what is important to them. They might ask what they are passionate about and what they hope to achieve through coaching. This builds connection and purpose – both central to growing trust. How do you build trust with the teams you work with?

3. Asking Good Questions

Good coaches ask good questions! Knowing the right questions to ask, to elicit a response to guide the conversation towards a goal is critical for a coach to be successful. Good examples of great coaching questions include: 

  • What makes you think that?
  • What would success look like to you?
  • What is blocking or delaying you achieving that?
  • What could you do differently?
  • What would you like to see happen?
  • What’s next?

4. Developing Active Listening Skills

Asking questions is one thing, but good coaches learn to listen well too. Active listening to guide that next question is key to a successful coaching session. So, what does active listening look like? Firstly, it’s all about being quiet. It’s not the coach’s job to add to the conversation or put words into the coachee's mouth. Coaches listen and often feed back what they have heard. “What you have said is that you feel you are more successful when…. Is that correct?" Listening and not speaking can be hard for many people, but a good coach learns to be in the moment, quietly listening and looking for what their coachee is really saying, or sometimes not saying!

5. Being an Effective Communicator

The best communicators learn to link with others. They understand that we all create our own unique model of the world, shaped by our perceptions and experiences. And through this model, we value and assess our interactions with the world. In order to communicate effectively with your coachee, it is important to understand their unique perspective, and to learn the skill of pacing. We can see some of these differences emerge when we look at the the TMS profiles in the Workplace Behaviour Pyramid: the Team Management Profile (TMP), Opportunities-Obstacles Quotient (QO2) Profile and the Window on Work Value (WoWV) Profile – all useful tools in the coach's toolkit!

Coaching can be very rewarding, even more so when you have the right skills. Having a wide range of strategies in your tool kit can allow you to dip in whenever the right tool is needed to move the coachee forward. This unique ability is what makes the skills of coaching so important in our ever-changing world. 

September 1, 2023

Development, Leadership, Performance

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