Here are 10
tips gleaned from the experiences of successful
by Peggy G. Hutcheson,
president of The Odyssey Group, Atlanta,
that the coach is not in
Just as the tennis coach does not hit the ball, the
business coach does not control the coaching
conversation. The best results occur when the
person being coached sets his or her coaching goal
and takes the lead in accomplishing that goal.
this skill is included in virtually every
interpersonal skills course, most of us still have
not mastered it. A good coach is able to listen
with full attention, taking in information that
leads to insightful questions and genuine
understanding. Doing this requires listening at
levels most people are not accustomed to. An
effective coach creates a mental picture of the
situation from the other person's perspective.
attention to what is not being
said, as well as
to what you hear.
The detective model of coaching comes in handy.
Keep looking for "one more thing" to be curious
about as you piece together all the parts of the
puzzle. Don't hesitate to point out something that
you still do not understand. Listening between the
lines can move the coaching discussion from a
superficial performance or development discussion
to a deeper, more meaningful level.
the other person create a clear goal for
the coaching session.
of you a complete picture of what is
currently happening in regard to the goal.
an opportunity to generate a number of
options for closing the gap between what's
happening now and what the client wants.
to pursue the next steps.
information without conducting an
This is a
matter of style and form. Questions such as, "Why
would you do that?" can sound pretty threatening.
"Tell me a little more about your thinking behind
that," is an invitation to explore. The coach's
work is to find what is interfering with the other
person's ability to accomplish what he or she
wants. Pulling information by using open-ended
questions is far more effective than pushing with
leading questions or requiring an accounting of
someone's efforts or behavior.
As a coach,
when you evaluate an idea or behavior as good, bad,
right or wrong, you may be arriving at a solution
too soon, thereby depriving the person you are
coaching of problem solving. Instead, ask the
person about the likely consequences of one course
of action over another. This helps your client gain
a sense of reality and the commitment to follow
through on the actions selected.
other person to his or her own
not mean that you should ask leading questions. For
example, "Don't you think you should try this
approach?" may be a good tip for the person you are
coaching, but it does little to empower him or her
to discover solutions. Instead, "Tell me what
you've thought of," opens the door for exploration
and ownership of the result.
You do not have to know the answer to be a good
coach. In fact, it is usually difficult for a
technical expert to withhold opinions and solutions
enough to coach well. Instead, in a team
environment, someone who knows little about the
technical aspects of product development may be the
most effective coach for a design engineer who
feels stuck. Without being encumbered by a need to
understand the technical "symptoms," the coach can
help the engineer uncover the causes behind the
your own beliefs.
As you coach, it is easy to let past experiences
with the other person or doubts about yourself get
in the way. For example, during the discussion, you
may remember that the person you are coaching has
let you down in the past, or you may feel
frustrated because you believe you should have
smart options to suggest. Some of the beliefs that
coaches often need to confront include: I should
have the answers; You are bright (or stupid); I'm a
great (or poor) coach. Excellent coaching occurs
when you are able to put aside what you believe
about your roles, the other person's ability, and
the situation you are discussing. This opens the
way for you to guide the other person to examine
these beliefs realistically.
you are doing. The
old adage, "Stupid is as stupid does," applies to
coaches, too. Subtle, or not-so-subtle, behaviors
from a coach communicate more to the person being
coached about what you really believe and expect
from coaching than any words you may use.
Credibility as a coach comes with using coaching
skills over time, honoring confidentiality and
commitments, and handling all information with
by entering your name and email address
Where do you
want your coaching practice to be? What's the
biggest challenge you have? Are you doing today
what you do best?
If you are really committed
to coaching others, let's have a conversation about
getting there from here. Call today for a free
telephone conversation about where you want your
coaching practice to go and how you get there
faster, cheaper and better than your present
Call now 734.426.2000
(US Eastern Time Zone) or email
to arrange for a free consultation to discuss where
you are heading.
To learn more about John
Agno, certified executive and business coach,
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