In today’s world, credibility is everything. Whilst you don’t need to be a qualified coach to have an effective coaching conversation, there are 5 coaching skills that actually drive high performance and leave your team members feeing super-charged and in control of their own development, having been listened to and valued. These conversations, we promise, will help you have great conversations that help build an engaged and motivated staff ready to help you achieve your strategic objectives.
So why should you take time to follow a structure and how can you have meaningful and effective conversations with your team members that bring about lasting change? Here are our top tips:
- Listen with intent
- Be curious
- Ask the right questions
- Create an inspirational goal
- Push your coachee towards an action
Coaching Skill 1 – Listen
To listen deeply is to deeply understand
Great conversations start with an ability to listen deeply and with intent. This might seem obvious. I mean, conversations in general start with someone talking and someone listening. But how often do we truly listen without any distractions at all? You’d be surprised at how often distraction creeps into a conversation. You might be seemingly listening intently, but be aware of your own behaviours. Are you perhaps pre-empting their answer or thinking about what they should be saying? Are you listening deeply with the intention of gleaning some points to think of an amazing next question to ask? Stephen Covey famously said in his book, The 7 Habits of highly Effective People, that ‘“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” If you’re thinking of the next question, you’re not listening.
Be aware of the tone of their language. Is what they’re saying in alignment with their emotional expression? I.e. does the tone reflect the body language? Be aware of gestures and metaphors. Always ask for more.
Coaching Skill 2 – Be Curious
Curious conversations lead to greater understanding
This isn’t us asking you to be nosey. Having a curiosity, with real interest and open question approach will allow you to ask your partner to really consider their answer and answer more fully. What happens when people answer more fully? They develop a greater understanding of themselves and their current reality and, from there, can start to think about goals that will inspire them to achieve and the actions they need to take to get them there.
Coaching Skill 3 – Ask the Right Questions
Asking the right questions starts with listening to what’s being said
When we are introducing coaching as a concept, we start with a structure. We like to use the Full Potential Group CIGAR format to structure our basic coaching conversations. It starts with an exploration of the coaches ‘current reality’. From there, we move onto ‘ideal reality’ and then ‘gaps’, ‘action’ and ‘review’. It introduces the concept of visioning, asking the coachee to think about where they are now and what life will be like when they get to their ideal reality. The ‘ideal’ should be achieveable and inspire them to take action.
Coaching Skill 4: Set inspirational goals
Inspirational should still be achievable. When setting goals, we use the SMRT model. Your action should be specific and tangible, realistic and timed. As an example:
I will generate £50,000 of new business by the end of the year.
This is specific, measurable (because it can be quantified with a number), it is realistic based on current business performance and I have put a deadline on it.
Having a SMRT goal is only the first step however. Without check ins on the progress towards achievement of the goal, it is simply a dream.
Coaching Skill 5: Action!
Using our ‘5 coaching skills that actually drive high performance’ approach will certainly give you a framework to start having productive developmental conversations.
If, if course, you want to become a coach, a professional coaching qualification can indeed set you apart from the competition. Giving you a grounding in the concepts of coaching, with the ethics and competencies of the Association for Coaching and with real-life coaching practise, our Accredited Award in Coach training will provide you with the tools you need to get started as a professional coach, be it in your own organisation or as an external coach running your own business. You can find out more about what our coach training programme is like from Sophie’s case study.