The 15 Beginning Coaching
1. Distinguishes between the sources and symptoms of a problem.
When you can tell the difference
between the sources and symptoms of a problem,
you'll be pressing for what's behind what's going on, instead of chasing
the client down the dead-end tunnels that symptoms represent. Coaching is
most effective when the focus is on the dog, not the tail, of a situation.
A master list of the sources and symptoms to most problems and situations is
available to accelerate your learning in this critical area. We'll share
these in a future Today's Coach issue, or, see below to consider attending the
live training that covers the 15 Beginning Proficiencies.
2. Is comfortable
When a client is having a problem
or stress, do you jump in to help out? If so, you may not yet be
comfortable with discomfort -- either your own, or the clients'. The
ability to be comfortable with discomfort isn't just a self-management
skill set -- it's calls for a heightened self-awareness and appreciation
of how the world works. This is a muscle to develop. When mastered,
you'll have the love and empathy of a caring person without the
seemingly-helpful-but-ultimately-useless Pavlovian reaction of someone
with a need to help.
The skill of being comfortable with discomfort is completely learnable. Mastering this proficiencies
accelerates your growth as a person as well as increases your
professionalism with clients.
3. Recognizes the
gems in the coaching conversation.
During a coaching session, the
client will tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about them and their
goals or situations. But the trick is to recognize the most important
items the client is sharing -- often, the client doesn't always make it
obvious to you what the real gems of the conversation are. The point here
is than you can learn to pick up on what the client is saying that is
most important, and focus your coaching on that.
Your effectiveness as a coach will improve
tenfold when this proficiency is developed..
4. Knows what the
client wants/needs at any given moment.
Does the client need to be
challenged or supported right now? Does the client need an effective
strategy from you or just a patient ear while they work it out
themselves? Does the client need to learn something new or let go of
something old right now? A coach can literally do scores of things for a
client at any given moment - the power in coaching comes from recognizing
(or finding out) what is most wanted and need at any given moment.
In some cases, this is a moving target, yet one that can be found.
You can learn how to spot the key signs to be listening for from the
5. Structures the
coaching session to maximize impact.
There are over a dozen ways to set
up a coaching session -- the design of such can be key to long-term client
satisfaction. The more client session models and formats you have
available, the more specifically you'll be able to serve your client's
current and emerging needs.
While there is no one correct way to structure a coaching session,
it is possible to modify your coaching sessions to the structure best
suited to your different client types and their individual situations.
6. Matches tone with the client's need.
Clients come on the call with a
myriad of emotions/things going through their mind. Sometimes they are
excited/looking forward to the call, other times there is anxiety around a
deadline or project that is coming due. By matching your tone with the
clients, they will feel heard and you will not be competing with them
during the call or disrespecting where they are.
When you match the tone, the client will open up and share more
given they know that you are in synch with where they are.
7. Teases out a goal
until it rings true.
The first cut of any goal is
usually not the ultimate articulation of that goal. So, part of what we
provide our client is this "teasing out" service where we help them fully
and specifically describe what they really want. Once this ins done, the
goal has a much higher chance to being reached. If you don't have this
skill, goals aren't perfected and are much more difficult to reach. There
is an art to teasing out a goal effectively.
You'll save months off the coaching sessions, if you know how to do
this proficiency well. And...worried the client will leave sooner as a result?
Think again. They will be so excited about their accomplishment/progress,
they'll be ready to move to a bigger goal with you as their coach.
8. Designs the
type/degree of support needed for the goal to be reached.
Did you know there are over 100
ways that people can achieve goals? It's true -- we have a list and train
coaches in these strategies. Why? Because in a world that is embracing
mass customization, each client will want a structure and strategy to
reach their goal that fits them perfectly -- not an off-the-shelf solution
that has worked for others. It is to this degree of personalization and
sophistication that the coaching process is moving toward.
9. Knows one's own ignorance and limits.
Do you know what you don't know?
Do you know where your abilities end? Both are important to quality and
ethical coaching and, perhaps surprisingly, both are learnable. This is
perhaps the most unusual of the 15 Beginning Coaching Proficiencies, but
it's a proficiency that protects you and the client from overreaching.
10. Engages in
To collaborate means to work
together -- which is the basis of modern coaching where both parties are
on the same plane, each contributing what they have toward the client
achieving the goal or outcome that they have selected -- again, chosen
with your collaborative assistance. Collaboration occurs best when there
are no traditional roles and where both the coach and the client stand
side-by-side, on equal terms, looking at what the client is going through
together. When you are proficient at collaborating, the professional
relationship is a clean and sustainable one.
Although it takes practice to get to this place, the first step is to learn the
skills needed for engaging in collaborative conversations.
11. Gets and keeps
the client's attention.
Generally client's have very busy
lives, rich with responsibilities and distractions. Add coaching to this
mix and unless the coach is able to get and keep the client's attention,
the coaching won't have the priority it deserves. Without
this skill, you'll be chasing to get your client's attention,
leaving little time for valuable coaching.
12. Forwards the
focus/progress during the session.
Yes, we want to give space to our
clients, and allow them to set the agenda for the call, but it is up to
the coach to forward the progress of the call so that a high degree of
value is delivered. If this proficiency has not yet been mastered, the
coaching session tends to meander which ultimately leads to the coach
being let go.
Is the client power-centric or
strength-centric? Is the client passionate or manic? Is the client
investing in opportunities or possibilities? Is the client focusing on a
need or a value? Is the client moving away from something or toward it?
Is the client spiraling forward or just quickly going in circles? Is the
client learning or merely acquiring information. Is the client acting as
a leader or as a manager? These are just several of the hundreds of
distinctions that experienced coaches have knowledge of. This knowledge
-- and the ability to share it effectively -- is critical in the coaching
process because each of these distinction pairs indicates where the client
is, and what is next for them. Each is a coaching opportunity -- in fact,
when you have the distinction knowledge base, you'll have a virtually
endless source of adding client value.
14. Believes in the
power of coaching.
In order to be a successful coach,
it helps to not only believe deeply in your clients, but to also come to
believe in the power of coaching. Surprisingly, not all coaches have had
enough of a profound experience or benefit of coaching to have come to
believe in it. Believing in the coaching process takes a first hand
experience with the power of coaching, as either a client or a coach.
Until you have an experience of this, you'll be offering coaching as
merely a professional service, not as the profound relationship that
Possible proficiency -- or we might merge it
15. Is real, not
performing in a role.
It's sometimes easy to slip into
the 'role' of a coach and when we do that we are not being genuine with
the client and they are not getting the full value you could provide by
you being you v. you being a coach. It is tempting to want to provide
value, especially since we are paid professionals, but interestingly
enough, the less you try to help the client, or more specifically, the
more you are just 2 humans having a provocative discussion, the more value
you will provide for the client.
This is a skill set where you 'unlearn'
something v. learn something. You stop putting on your coaching hat and
instead provide tremendous value showing up human.
Possible proficiency -- or we might merge it
16. Creates a coaching
One of the first things a coach
does is to work with their client to design a coaching relationship and
the environment to ensure a powerful experience for the client -- and the
coach. This would include everything from client setup, expectation
management, trust-building and initial focus.
Doing this will ensure the client is setup to make the most of the
opportunity in front of them.
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