Coaching is a combination of collective skills used to transform a person’s thoughts and behavior. These skills consist of innate and honed experience and education. Coaching is conducted through casual conversations that are geared toward outcomes. Coaching is an art that comes in many forms and is portrayed by many personalities. Simply said, Coaching is the act of two people engaging in purposeful conversation that evokes thoughts that inspire action.
Some of the skills that are needed to be an effective coach can be learned in coaching school and then honed along the way. This should take place under the supervision of an experienced coach or through a coaching program.
In my experience so far I have uncovered 3-key themes that are at the heart of my coaching sessions.
An effective coach attains information by listening intently and asking insightful questions that provoke deep thought and reflection.
One of the most fundamental skills of a coach consists of having the ability to gain a person’s trust. A client needs to feel comfortable, safe, and not judged before they will share their personal stories and allow themselves to be vulnerable.
The ability to gain trust, be a good listener, and stimulate change in others makes for a dynamic coach. To be a good listener you must not only hear what the person is saying but be able to react and respond appropriately. Like all good things, this too comes in time with practice.
A good coach guides you to greatness…they do not lead, they do not follow, they walk beside you, encouraging and empowering you along the way.
It is beneficial to have lived experience in the area you are coaching but it is not always necessary because coaching is not telling people what to do but guiding them to find their own answers within.
To be a highly effective coach one must have a deep level of self-awareness, adequate problem-solving skills, and possess the ability to think critically. The coach needs to be able to process information in the moment and provide reflective feedback. A client must discover on their own with the help of the coach what they need to do to promote the change they are striving for. For coaching to be successful the client must be willing to participate in the coaching conversation and do the work.
If a person is not open to learning, ready for change or able to accept reflective feedback, they are probably not ready to receive help from a coach. The individual must have the ability to understand and process information. It is the coach’s job to break that information down into bite-size bits that are easy to digest. A person should be receptive to considering the perspective and opinions of others without offense.
Coaching is a gift of art from the heart.
Though many may possess all the qualities of a great coach, the true art of coaching comes from the heart. It is about what is felt not heard. It takes compassion, the ability to recognize suffering in others, and wanting to help. It takes courage to ask difficult questions. It’s about accepting others for who they are, where they are. It’s about being open to understanding someone without judgment. It is the art of inspiring and empowering others.