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I’ve been an executive coach for many years and it’s never stopped being an exciting challenge that I keenly undertake. I seriously enjoy making an impact and helping leaders. Along with that more leaders are seeing the value in coaching making it all the more necessary to develop their coaching skills. They’ve finally come to embrace coaching as an opportunity to get insights from someone who’s not directly vested, is only seeking the best interest of the individual, is opening their minds while holding up a mirror and pushing them beyond their comfort zone.
Coaching is a brilliant way to boast your leadership pipeline and develop future leaders that your organization can benefit from for years to come. Of course as an exponential leader you realize the importance of having a strong leadership pipeline. You want your organization to continue growing, exponentially. And for that you need strong, courageous and capable leaders. That’s why it makes it even more imperative for you to polish up your coaching skills so that you’re able to really create that impact that one-on-one coaching relationships can bring about.
If you’re really planning to deliver on the promise of being a true coach to your talent you’ll realize that the conversations you have will enable them to make powerful and drastic changes to their lives, the way they operate and their performance. Here’s the key though – your coaching skill won’t be relying on the models you use or the specific business knowledge you have. To really make a difference you’ll need to employ these three simple qualities that’ll make you an impactful and great coach.
Probably the toughest challenge for coaches is to say something, without saying too much. How do you convey your observations about your coachee without sharing too much and spelling things out to them. After all, as a coach your job isn’t to give them all the answers. You’re here to guide them and steer them towards their own greatness. However, if you have a coachee who’s brilliant, talented and skilled and yet they are all over the place in terms of how they present their thoughts, you’ll need to be courageous. Courage is an important coaching skill to develop as it’ll help you say things to your coachee as plainly and bluntly as possible. Sure, you have the choice to sugar coat your observations or even leave them to figure their flaws out themselves. Or, you could be courageous enough to face them directly and tell them where they’re lacking so they can realize and move ahead swiftly.
2. Present & Listening
When you think about coaching your first thoughts would image a person of expertise talking, sharing stories and experiences, and passing wisdom onto coachees. And that would probably be true if all coaches acted upon their instinct to share their experiences, identify issues and problems and voice their conclusions. However, that’s precisely what coaches shouldn’t be doing. And it’s not easy. When you’re listening to a coachee pour their heart out you instinctively want to save them and provide them guidance and support. Silencing your mind and holding your thoughts back is extremely difficult and energy consuming. However, if you were to start your coaching conversations being present and listening you’ll realize that you’ll be able to hold back from making judgements and trying to fix your coachee. Over time you’ll start listening to and learning about more meaningful insights about your coachee that can help you develop them as leaders even better.
3. Follow Your Instinct
My tested and proven approach to coaching has always been to consider it as an art than a science. With this in mind, I don’t plan my coaching sessions, instead letting the conversations go in any direction my coachee wants. However, this makes me very uncomfortable since I’m not in charge. The same would happen to you as the leader who’s always in charge and now being a coach is requiring you to follow rather than lead. It’ll make you uneasy and unsettled for sure. By letting go you’re really testing your ability to trust your instincts that all will happen as it should for you and your coachee. Your first instinct is to hang on to the belief that “I’m always right”. Adjust your instinct to rely on your experience, however, to accept that you may be wrong and that what worked for you may not always be something your coachee can work with.
Coaching the talent in your organization to be future leaders is a great way to help them exploit their full potential and build capacity. Applying these coaching skills are just some of the ways you can achieve your future goals as an exponential leader. Are there techniques that you use when coaching your organization’s talent? Leave a comment below and share your experiences.