“Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny.” ~ Carl Schurz
Today coaching has become an essential leadership skill. Industry leaders are recognizing that they attain better results personally and professionally through life coaching. And when the qualities of a good coach are applied in the workplace, it creates an atmosphere of greater productivity, creativity, and synergy.
Would you like to incorporate good coaching skills into your business or practice? There are ten essential qualities of a good coach that effective leaders excel in. As you read through the following list, think about which ones you’d most like to work on next…
- Be an excellent listener. Listening is one of the most important skills you need. Learn to focus and not be distracted by your own thoughts or external influences. Remain curious, show genuine interest, and suspend all judgments so you can really hear what the person is saying verbally and nonverbally. Keep interruptions to a minimum.
- Reflect back accurately. Absorb and register what you hear. Show that you’re really listening and confirm that you’ve digested the right information. Reflecting allows the person to hear what she said to see if that’s what she really meant. You can reflect back by:
- Paraphrasing or restating the essence of what you heard.
- Summarizing the main message in short and concise sentences that organize the train of thought, focusing on the most important issues.
- Repeating meaningful words, which builds built rapport by mirroring their speech.
- Use questions skillfully. Well-worded questions are short and to the point. Good questions are open-ended letting others express their thoughts and feelings, rather than closed – yes or no – answers. They deepen the understanding of the person being coached. You don’t provide answers. You help your clients find answers for themselves. This reinforces in their minds that you believe in them and empowers their own self-worth. If they’re struggling to come up with an answer, use leading questions that progressively move the person toward the desired goal.
- Challenge constructively. Help your clients see any contradictions between what they say and what they’re doing. People are only motivated when they fully understand the situation. They may be held back by some limiting belief, so help them challenge these, because everyone is capable of achieving more. What they’ve done in the past is no indication of their future.
- Provide feedback not criticism. You never want to assert your expertise at the cost of your client feeling inadequate. Strive to make your feedback specific, relevant, helpful, and positive.
- Focus on your client. Focus on your client’s agenda, not yours. This means you need to help them identify their core values so your leadership keeps them on track with their goals.
- Create accountability. Get a commitment from your client that she will accomplish a specific task by a specific deadline. Achieving measurable results builds self-confidence and motivates your client to accomplishing more.
- Present different perspectives. Help your client explore different perspectives, so that she can choose the one(s) that are most empowering for her.
- Provide encouragement and support. Help them to keep going and not give up. Acknowledging them is incredibly empowering.
- Keep confidentiality. It requires trust for your client to open up and that can easily be broken by revealing their confidences to others. Get their permission to speak of their results, or only speak of generalized results in a way that can’t be attached to any one person.
These ten key qualities will not only make you a great coach, they can also make you an even better manager or leader. Many people have found that they can accelerate their execution of these qualities of a good coach by drawing on the principles of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. If you’re curious to learn more about NLP, grab a copy of our new ebook and check out our Training Calendar to see when you can attend our next NLP course.