Believe in Human Potential for Greatness
First and foremost, coaches need to believe that all people have special gifts that make them uniquely magnificent. Belief in human potential is absolutely essential to helping people maximize their talents. This belief needs to persist despite initial evidence to the contrary, despite mistakes and difficult circumstances. Even subconscious doubt could increase the chances of negative outcomes.
Fulfillment Flows from Adding Value to Others
Coaching helps clients improve their lives and experience fulfillment through goal achievement, problem solving, learning, and overcoming limiting beliefs. In turn, coaches also experience fulfillment from seeing clients improve and succeed. This emotion further inspires coaches to do even better work for their clients and experience greater fulfillment.
Bring Out the Best in People and Let Them Lead
Clients who set their own goals take responsibility to deal with the consequences of their behavior. Micromanaging coaches sabotage this important element of success. Some clients are accustomed to controlling environments and need time to adjust to taking charge of their own careers. In this situation, coaches simply need to persist patiently. Coaches should maintain faith that their clients are able to find and implement solutions without over-management.
Use Influence Rather than Position
Successful coaches do not act like bosses, and successful coaching relationships are not based on positional authority. Instead, coaches use positive relational influence. The clients of these coaches take action because they want to and they see the benefits of that action, not because their coaches told them to. Coaches who are humble and work collaboratively with clients create this influence, and their clients respond in kind.
Thrive on Challenges and Flexibility
When dealing with challenges, the best attitude for coaches to have is a welcoming one. In fact, good coaches and poor coaches are separated by how they respond to challenges. Each challenge is unique and needs to be treated as such. No matter the challenge, it is vital that coaches do not personalize failures. Facing failure does not make someone a failure.
When We Grow Others, We Grow Ourselves
Coaching not only helps organizations improve but also helps coaches grow personally. Personal growth is an often-unexpected benefit of coaching others. Coaching requires excellent listening skills, belief in others, persistence, and a positive attitude: the same attributes help people become better parents, spouses, and friends.
A Coach Still Needs a Coach
Even highly experienced coaches need to have their own coaches. Coaches are constantly giving to their clients and need support. In addition, coaches without their own coaches may fall victim to their own pride or blind spots.
Maintain Authentic Rapport and Humor
Positive relationships are a necessity for coaching to work. Taking the time to build rapport at the beginning of a coaching relationship and as needed as the relationship progresses can improve client results. The key is for the rapport to be authentic. If clients suspect they are being manipulated, they will likely resist taking action.
Touch a Heart with Care and Sincerity
Coaches need to provide clients with unconditional care backed by sincerity, even when clients are not performing well. In fact, when clients are struggling, they most need coaching support. Without care and sincerity, there is no trust.
Practice Integrity and Build Trust
Trust is essential for relationships to succeed. To build trust, coaches need to demonstrate transparency and keep private information confidential. Clients need to see that coaches have positive intent and act accordingly.
Curiosity Ignites Your Spirit
Coaches need to be curious and encourage that quality in their clients. No coach has all the answers, and exploring new ground together helps strengthen the coach-client bond. It can also feel exciting for both parties.
Ask Questions that Empower and Create Buy-In
When decisions are made for people, they are less interested in completing the task. For important choices made by someone else, that lack of interest is magnified. Clients need freedom to make their own decisions. Coaches therefore need to ask empowering and motivating questions to facilitate that process and help clients develop self-confidence and avoid dependence.
Avoid Judgmental and Advice-Oriented Questions
When judgments come in the form of questions, clients immediately recognize the deceit and usually become defensive. Even well intentioned coaches may ask advice-oriented questions. Successful coaches ask truly unbiased questions that do not include suggestions.
Powerful Questions Release Solutions
Complex, roundabout questions are not helpful in coaching. Effective questions are simple and clear. Given the importance of the topics clients explore with their coaches, waiting patiently while the client formulates a response is also necessary.
Asking Great Questions Requires Practice
There are many potential mistakes coaches can make when asking questions, including asking:
*”Why” questions, which often leave clients feeling criticized. “What in this situation makes you angry?” is better than “Why are you so angry?”
*Bombarding questions, which can overwhelm clients.
*Poorly expressed questions, which clients can misinterpret.
Listen Rather Than Tell
To help clients reach their potential, coaching relies on the Socratic method, which requires excellent listening. Outstanding coaches listen carefully to what clients are saying, ask for clarification when necessary, and listen for what is left unsaid.
Be Present and Turn Off Your Inner Dialogue
Intent listening usually leaves the listener a bit tired. Removing distractions, such as noise, e-mails, and text messages, as well as becoming fully engaged in conversations are all necessary to make intent listening possible.
Avoid Jumping to Premature Conclusions
It is so easy to jump to conclusions that most people do so without even realizing it. Unfortunately, these conclusions can color coaches’ thinking and blind them to important insights. Clarification, even when it does not seem especially necessary, is an essential coaching practice.
Be Impartial and Nonjudgmental
Given the importance of acceptance in coaching, coaches need to practice both components of empathy: intellectual (understanding feelings) and emotional (appropriately responding). They also need to avoid imposing their opinions on clients.
Listen Deeply, Use Observation and Intuition
Insights result from a combination of deep listening, observation, intuition, curiosity, and great questions. Through deep listening and observation, coaches can identify patterns. Intuition will often then arise, but it is important for coaches to continue to ask great questions rather than assume their intuition is accurate.
Embrace Feedback to Triumph
Even the most self-aware clients cannot see everything about themselves; their coaches must fill in the gaps and provide feedback that comes from a place of positive intent. Like questions, feedback should not include judgments or advice. Clients must also give their coaches feedback. Coaches who view this feedback as valuable information will use it to become even better.
Awareness and Acceptance Cultivates Transformation
Lack of awareness often impedes clients’ progress. Coaches who notice patterns help clients understand past frustrations and past successes. Awareness also helps people recognize their strengths and achievements, which constant work toward new goals can sometimes obscure.
Get Consent Before Giving Suggestions
When coaches give advice, clients often feel obligated to follow it. Furthermore, what would work for a coach may not work for a client. A better approach is to give suggestions only when absolutely necessary and with client permission. The result is sustained client motivation and increased focus on creatively solving problems.
Use the Power of Simplicity
Clients usually do not see themselves and their situations objectively because they are too close to both. Coaches help clients distance themselves, determine core issues, and see the big picture, all of which helps clients more easily find the solutions they need.
Establish Goal Ownership & Commitment
Clients are responsible for setting their own goals. Coaches are responsible for supporting clients and helping them clarify their goals. Goals that work:
*Are specific and measurable
*Follow a clear timeline
*Are achievable yet challenging
*Present opportunities for personal and professional growth
Create Strategies and Action Plans for Goals
Coaches help their clients create strategies and action plans to achieve their goals. Ideal topics to explore initially and review regularly with questions include:
*The resources and sacrifices necessary to achieve the goal
*Priorities and how new goals relate to other commitments
Keep Score of Goals and Action Steps
Scorecards, which clients should create, show progress in a clear way. They keep people motivated, remind clients of their recent accomplishments, and even help them learn how they can improve their performances. Coaches can use scorecards to guide conversations about improving future outcomes.
Support Goals Completion Continuously
It can be easy to hold off on celebrating until a goal is accomplished, but doing so robs the client of the rewards of working toward a goal. In addition, setbacks can cause clients to feel bad about themselves. Celebrations and other support structures, such as follow-up calls, e-mails, and automated reminders, help keep clients on track.
Accountability Drives Accomplishments
When clients fail to accomplish their tasks, coaches need to work on understanding the reasons for the lapse while maintaining their standards. Many clients benefit from working with accountability partners, such as colleagues, in addition to their coaches.
Acknowledge Efforts and Progress
Consistent praise for efforts made toward achieving a goal reinforces clients’ motivation and self-esteem.