Sharpening your tools
We all need to sharpen our game from time to time. Whether you are a leader, a technical expert, or any other kind of professional, enriching your performance bears fruit.
As this new year rolled around, I turned my attention to sharpening coaching skills – for myself and for others. And that got me thinking about a few of my favourite tips and tricks of the trade. I thought I would share them with you.
This is for anyone who uses coaching skills in their life or work.
Some Dos and Don’ts for people who coach
Be curious – on behalf of the other person. Ask questions that get the other person curious about themselves, rather than asking questions that will satisfy your own curiosity.
Allow silence and time to think – the human brain doesn’t provide immediate answers, so get comfortable with silence and let people think about what they want, what they need, and their new ideas.
Encourage the coachee to think new thoughts and try out new ideas – even ones you don’t know anything about.
Listen – instead of getting busy with your next question or comment, fully listen to the person. Listen with all of your senses as well – not just the words but the energy behind them so you can see if the words and the attitude match or mismatch.
Don’t jump on the first possible solution that a coachee brings. As a coach it might seem exciting or obvious that a solution proposed by the coachee might be a good one. But don’t jump on this and try to get them committed to it; wait and allow them to find other possibilities. Who knows, perhaps something much more creative will show up.
Don’t assume you know what is best for a coachee. Especially if your assessment is based on your own view of the world.
Don’t worry if your coachee has more interesting ideas than you do. Celebrate this instead of letting your ego think you are somehow less than.
Don’t try to fix or coach a third party. If your coachee is talking about someone else, keep your focus on the coachee. Instead of trying to solve that third person’s challenges, keep helping the coachee choose a direction forward.Happy New Year!