As a developmental methodology, coaching has emerged as a very effective set of skills and tools that is not “flavor of the month” and continues to have a positive impact on individuals and organizations. Why is that? The simple reason is that these skills are practical, relatively simple in understanding and, quite surprisingly, common sense. Unfortunately however they are not a natural default setting for most people. We prefer to speak rather than question or listen, we consider primarily our own perspective, and we typically think of ourselves before others. Whilst this is not all wrong, the reality is that we are missing a bigger opportunity. Most success and happiness comes through others – family, friends, employees, customers, etc. Coaching enables this.
So let’s look at a few specific areas where coaching can enable success and how displaying some of these skills and attributes can make this happen.
What many people do not realize is the person that asks the questions controls the conversation. However the ability to ask a question that is helpful and enabling to others is even more powerful. Empowering Questioning is a key and very fundamental skill of coaching and all great leaders have the unique ability to form their questions that gets people’s attention, is informative and helps them contribute in a much more meaningful way.
The essence of team work is engaging everybody. This happens most effectively if people truly listen to each other. This is not listening at a level where you only relate to what somebody says as it pertains to you. This is about really listening to what somebody is saying (and even sometimes not saying) as it pertains to them. When people do that, connections become much stronger because Intuitive Listening is selfless and makes it more about the other person. This builds collaboration.
Truly great teachers have the uncanny knack of presenting information in a manner that gets people thinking. This ability to access somebody’s Curiosity allows them to challenge themselves, see things from other perspectives and very often identify the appropriate course of action. The real key to teaching is not necessarily the information imparted but rather the action that emerges as a result.
One could say that coaching has always been around. However what is different today is that more people are developing these skills proactively as a means of ensuring that they maximize their potential (and those around them), both personally and professionally.