Coaching is a skill that is extremely important in business and in life. Despite its importance, many leaders are reluctant and uncomfortable with this idea. As a result, they often avoid coaching and investing time and energy in others. In many organizations, this results in employees becoming disengaged and disconnected. Despite the desire to do so, team members often fail to reach their true potential. The organization suffers because coaches are not prepared or capable, and there is a quantifiable impact on culture and business results.
The foundation of coaching is seeing the potential in people and viewing them as they can be and not just who they are today. Coaching does not have to be difficult. It is a way of being that involves valuing each person for who they are regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, creed, etc. It involves taking a strategic approach as a leader and seeing the potential in others. This is easier to do when it becomes more about others than us. I really like the phrase “we versus me.”
Having had the opportunity to work with great coaches in sports, business, community and life, I have noticed that they have a servant’s heart; they value people. They are unconsciously competent at living out the Rotary International motto of “service above self”.
As a professional coach, I help facilitate the process to assist people in setting goals, developing action steps, taking action, and gaining confidence in their own abilities. Accountability and support are major components of the process. However, coaching is not something that should be limited to the realm of professional coaches. Every person, who leads others, has the opportunity to provide the same type of support to people in their spheres of influence. Young leaders in homes and communities need it, and the many disengaged associates in organizations across the country and this world need it as well.
Strong interpersonal and communication skills and specifically listening, are important components to coaching well. Great coaches support others in identifying and finding ways to overcome obstacles, which are often habits developed over many years of previous conditioning. These obstacles are often barriers to achieving true authentic success.
A coach should be genuinely interested in others rather than striving to be interesting. To coach well, one must listen well. You might say that listening is difficult and ask the question, how do you listen well? Here are a few tips:
- Focus on the person and avoid distractions
- Maintain open body language
- Remove physical and theoretical barriers
- Maintain great eye contact if in person
- Display a smile in your voice if over the phone
- Ask good open-ended questions that begin with words like how, tell me, describe or explain (avoid or minimize closed-end questions)
- Summarize or paraphrase, periodically, what you have heard
Coaching is a powerful way to serve and support growth in others. It is critical that all leaders strive to become great coaches. Our associates and the next generation of leaders in our homes, communities and organizations are relying on us to do so.
If you need assistance in this area, reach out to us. We are passionate about supporting individuals in strengthening their leadership skills and assisting organizations with developing leaders, who are passionate about developing other leaders.