October 31, 2017 • 4 minute read • by Saeed
“Partnership is not a posture but a process – a continuous process that grows stronger each year as we devote ourselves to common tasks.” ~ John F. Kennedy
First of all…
Coaching is not just about techniques and structure. Coaching is about developing an effective partnership with your coachee. If the partnership is missing, no amount of technique, however expert will help. The partnership is there as a formal part of the structure because coaching is successful when you have the commitment and cooperation of your coachee to help them learn a new task or skills, or to improve a particular area of their work.
Coaching is about bringing out what the coachee already knows. But there are times when coaching may require you to give feedback. Feedback is best offered in a non-judgmental way, and offered as an opinion. A coach may need to provide two types of feedback. The first type is if the coachee’s ideas are off course. The second type is if their method of approach or behavior is inhibiting their ability to succeed.
Coaching is not about ‘fixing’ people. A lot of people react negatively to advice or suggestions. Often advice and ideas are rejected because the recipient feels no ownership of them and sees this as threatening or as imposed solutions. Aim to ensure that your coachee has exhausted his or her own ideas before you volunteer yours. In this way your suggestions will be seen as additional thoughts. You don’t always have to have additional ideas. In many cases your coachee may come up with all or more options than you would have considered; in which case a word of praise is a better tool at your disposal.
And most of all…
Coaching is about asking powerful open questions and actively listening to the responses.
Asking questions and active listening are the key skills necessary for coaching. There are two main types of questions, OPEN and CLOSED. Open questions are ones that start with what, where, when, how, and who. Aim to avoid the ‘why’ question which can be seen as aggressive. There are three specific types of open questions you may find helpful when coaching. They are:
1. Clarifying questions.
2. Creative questions.
3. Process questions.
Closed questions are less useful in coaching because they only promote a “yes” or “no” response. Open questions promote discovery and stimulate thinking. They are therefore ideal for coaching.
Powerful questions go a long way to helping individuals unlock their own potential.
The bottom line is…
Coaching is a combination of structure and empathy. In order to meet the coaching objectives, be they about leadership, career transitions, or building skills, the art of coaching lies in the ability to manage the human dimensions of the coaching relationship. This takes a foundation of trust, credibility, and authentic relationship. The coaching partnership realizes lasting impact as a result of this foundation, which is built over time. The more trust the coach can generate, the more the coachee can accomplish. Success shouldn’t be measured by how well the coachee performs while the coach is there to help, but rather by sustainable behavioral change long after the coach is gone.
Independence from the coach is the ultimate goal.
To get started…
1. Establish ground rules for the relationship.
2. Ensure buy-in.
3. Secure commitment.
4. Establish a definition of success for the relationship
5. Agree on frequency and method of communication.
6. Have a plan for progress checks to know when the coaching relationship is over or when it needs to be re-evaluated.
And a final word…
Coaching is about intentions, understanding, engagement, and lasting impact. The coach must have a clear understanding of what needs to be worked on by first developing a thorough understanding of the context, and then focusing on behaviors that produce desired outcomes. Body language and the emotional intelligence to be able to read it are just as important as the coaching format or structure. The coach must demonstrate genuine interest through eye contact, posture and attentiveness. The self-awareness and emotional intelligence of the coach is as important as that of the coachee.
Therein lies the symbiotic relationship between the two – the ultimate success of which is measured by the results achieved in partnership.
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©2017 – All Content by Saeed H. Mirfattah, M.A.