Nowadays, everyone gets some level of coaching, whether it’s getting you up to speed in your new role or a fully trained coaching consultant who specialises in leadership. Coaching is an important tool to call upon when you need a little more support or guidance.
Whether you lead a team, mentor a colleague, or just get asked for friendly advice now and then, learning the skills of the trade is valuable to anyone who helps and supports others. This blog will help you refine your coaching style with our top three tips:
The International Coach Federation defines active listening as:
“The ability to focus completely on what the client is saying and is not saying. To understand the meaning of what is said in the context of the client’s desires. To support client self-expression.”
Coaching should not be limited to dictating feedback, identifying problems and jumping to giving advice. Coaching should be a shared journey to find solutions by working through challenges and obstacles, together.
In order to do this well, you need to listen.
It is not your role to interrogate or solve the problem yourself. Encourage self-reflection and problem-solving by asking open and probing questions to identify needs and goals. Listening attentively allows you to identify feelings and empathise with your coachee in a calm and curious manner. This will help you make a greater impact on your coachee as you will truly understand their beliefs, needs, concerns, and perceptions.
Top tip! Throughout the coaching conversation, summarise and paraphrase the conversation. This will let your coachee know you are engaged in their development, understand their needs, and ensure that the conversation stays on track with your coachees goals.
2. Plan goals
This is your time to create a framework for measuring goals and successes. It is important to create a foundation for opportunities for growth that have been identified by your coachee. Decide on the development area, why they would like to develop, and what outcomes they feel this will have.
It is also important to talk about career aspirations so that you can build skills that may be useful for the future, and ensure that they are invested in developing longer-term goals. This is especially important if you are only coaching them for a short period of time, and will make sure they continue their development work after you part ways.
Top tip! Focusing on only weaknesses when you plan goals can be demotivating. Only addressing weaknesses sends the wrong message to your coachee. By focusing on strengths, also, can reinforce good behaviours and further develop their strengths whilst making them feel valued.
3. Objectify feedback
Objective feedback consists of specific and measurable points that provide information about performance. Objective feedback is key for encouraging self-reflection. As human beings we heavily rely on subjective feedback when making decisions, however, our subjective feedback is often bias and can be influenced by a number of factors including, memory, emotions, and perception. For example, a pessimistic person could feel they performed poorly, yet their performance had a number of key strengths they failed to pick up on due to their own subjective feedback.
This can often work as a barrier to successful coaching relationships causing the coach and coachee to disagree on key performance aspects.
Objective feedback is very powerful as it helps coachees identify where change needs to happen without too much interference from the coach. It favours facts and reason over thoughts and feelings and gives a clear indication as to why developing a certain skill or behaviour will have a positive impact.
When feedback is provided in this manner, the coachee is much more likely to develop their skills and behaviours accordingly, while providing their own foundation for progress.
Top tip! Use video to provide real workplace-based, objective feedback. Allow your coachee to watch themselves in action and objectively identify key areas of their performance. Then use open and probing question to help them highlight the impact of those recorded behaviours.
Interested in further developing your coaching and mentoring relationships? Download our guide, here.