Coaching skills can be used in many different situations. It is a vital skill for any people manager but is also useful for mentoring, providing guidance, supporting team members and even friends.
So, what is coaching?
There are many definitions of coaching, here are a couple…
“…unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”
Whitmore, J (1996) in Coaching for Performance
“Coaching is a process limited to a specific period of time that supports individuals, teams or groups. The coaching supports clients in achieving greater awareness, improved self-management skills and increased self-efficacy, so that they develop their own goals and solutions appropriate to their context.”
European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC)
Whilst these statements are different in how they describe coaching, essentially, they both highlight that coaching is a non-directive form of development, aimed at improving performance and developing an individual’s skills.
When to use coaching?
Coaching can be used to help an individual solve a specific problem they are facing, to help them learn a new skill, to improve performance or to delegate work. However, there are also many other opportunities to utilise coaching as an effective way to support an individual's development.
Who can be a coach?
Anyone! If you have a solid understanding of coaching, how to apply it, have received coaching skills training and are skilled in questioning and listening techniques then you’re on your way. It is always recommended that if you haven’t coached anyone before, that you do attend a coaching skills session to ensure that you understand the method(s) of coaching and develop the essential skills and behaviours required of any coach. Some of these behaviours are detailed below:
· Active listening
How to be effective
How effective a coach is can have a huge impact on an individual’s experience. To be an effective coach you need to ensure you tailor your style to each individual you coach. Coaching doesn’t have a ‘one size fits all’ approach, it simply wouldn’t work.
Questioning skills are vital in ensuring the coaching meeting follows true coaching methods rather than teaching methods. An effective coach needs to ensure they ask open ended questions and allows the coachee to be more in control of the pace of the discussion.
However, it is a fine line to ensure that, as a coach, you don’t ask too many questions. This can overwhelm the coachee. Other techniques to avoid include leading questions (e.g. would it be a good idea to…?). This prevents the coachee from finding the solution or answer for themselves.
Coaching requires the development of a number of interpersonal skills as well as a solid understanding of coaching models. Done correctly, coaching can be a powerful approach to support individual development.
If you are interested in Coaching Skills development, please contact us using the contact form on the website or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, look out for our online learning courses coming later in 2018 which will include Coaching Skills, Unconscious Bias Basics, Giving Feedback and How to Develop a Presentation. If you would like to be notified when these online courses are available, please email us on email@example.com and you will be added to our mailing list.