There is a joy that coaches experience when they provide leaders with the one-on-one support that increases effectiveness and professional growth. That sense of satisfaction is available to managers at all levels in an organization if they are willing to adopt some of the behaviors that professional coaches use.
Below are a few key skills and techniques that coaches use when working with others. Each of these skills will help your managers adopt more of a coaching approach in their interactions. If you are interested in a more extensive and detailed look, check out Coaching in Organizations – Best Coaching Practices by Madeleine Homan and Linda Miller. Also, the International Coach Federation’s list of Core Competencies for coaches are listed on the federation’s website: www.coachfederation.org
- Take a service-partnership approach. It’s not about you. The focus is on helping leaders be effective and develop.
- Be fully present. This can be a challenge even for experienced coaches—there are so many distractions in today’s world. Constantly reengage yourself. During the coaching session, nothing else matters other than the person you are working with.
- Be a sounding board. Practice active listening. Many people just need a neutral partner to listen to them so they can work it out for themselves vocally.
- Inquire for insight: Ask open-ended questions. Clarifying questions help get to the heart of the topic. Focus questions set the direction for the coaching session. Discovery questions lead to increased awareness. Challenging questions lead to new insight and action.
This list is only a highlight of what is needed to have a productive, valuable, and rewarding coaching session from the client and coach perspective. Give it a try. I’m sure that even with this exploratory approach, your managers will experience the thrill of hearing and watching their people have aha moments as they come up with their own solutions.
About the Author
Terry Watkins is a coaching solutions partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 150 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.