Several elements can help you become an excellent coach. From coaching accreditation that helps people develop trust in you, to your way of being that makes clients feel good with you, these factors simply cannot be overlooked.
In general, a coach supports his clients and helps them to overcome their problems. But what differentiates an average coach from a great one?
In this article, you will learn about the essential skills that a coach must develop so you can become the coach that your clients dream of.
Practice active listening
One of the qualities that make you an exceptional coach is your ability to listen to your clients actively. Good listening skills help you identify the most critical points in the client’s speech in order to use these to help them.
As a coach, listening should not be limited to merely hearing the words coming from your clients’ mouths. An active listener is above all neutral, non-judgmental and committed. So try to give each client your full attention, be as objective as possible, and show genuine interest.
All active listeners stand out by :
- Repetition: Repeating keywords or phrases in your clients’ speech shows that you really understand what is important to them and that you understand them.
- Paraphrasing: This shows your clients that you understand their message very well. Also, it gives them the chance to stress the most important details if they realise that you have not captured the whole message.
- Summing up: This allows you to make sure you understand your client’s message and focus on what is essential.
One way to show your clients that you understand them is to show them empathy. Empathy creates trust and is an integral part of a good coach-client relationship.
The good thing about empathy is that there is no special trick to learning how to show it. You just have to listen and observe actively, and the rest will come naturally.
Be flexible with coaching. Every client is different, and so you need to adapt your coaching process to suit each one. Try to figure out how to connect with each particular client, which will help you offer them more appropriate solutions to their problem.
It would be useful for you to sign up for a Gestalt coaching program that helps coaches like you to better approach the coach-client relationship.
Understand goal setting
Another skill of a good coach that should not be overlooked is the ability to set realistic goals that you and your clients can achieve.
A good start to learning how to set goals would be to get the hang of the SMART methodology. A SMART goal helps you in your goal setting. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
Another way to approach goal setting is to set small, short-term goals so that achieving all of them will enable or facilitate the achievement of your ultimate goal.
Be a great observer
Building rapport with your clients is not just about active listening. You also have to pay attention to their gestures and emotions when they talk to you. In short, you have to read between the lines.
When the customer talks to you, do they become emotional? Do they get angry? Are they excited or anxious? Are they comfortable talking, or does he or she seem uncomfortable?
These are the questions you need to find answers to all along the line.
Having a healthy curiosity in other people can be a valuable trait for a coach. Often, even after hours of listening, you may not be able to pinpoint what your client’s real problem is. So you have to dig deeper and be curious to determine underlying issues and crucial details.
But contrary to what many people think, being curious is not the same as continually asking questions. It is not about being judgmental and focused on the next question, either. Remember to be in the moment, listen carefully, and don’t judge. Avoid interrupting the client as much as possible when he or she is speaking.
Know how to guide
Each coaching session should have its specific pieces of advice and objectives. This is why you must know how to guide your clients because the last thing you want is to give contradictory advice at every session.
Very often, the challenge will not be in giving advice, because that is theory. Rather, it will be motivating your clients to put the advice into practice. Being faced with a fait accompli (something that has happened and cannot be reversed) can be more complex than we think. So it is up to you to prepare your clients to be aware not only that the journey they face will not be easy, but also that they are up to it.
An excellent way to help your clients do this is not to follow up on their progress and to give them a guideline or framework throughout the coaching. You can also keep a diary or roadmap that you fill in after you have done the regular check-up to see how the situation is developing with each client.
Give and get feedback
How you give feedback will determine how your customers will trust you and feel with you. Feedback should never sound arrogant or be used as a way to show your client that you are the expert. Instead, it should be clear, relevant, constructive, solution-oriented, positive and motivating. Remember that you do not want the client to feel negative about what they are doing. Rather, you want to help them find solutions.
In the same way, you need to ask your clients for feedback on your performance as a coach and what you need to improve. Remain objective and unbiased throughout and find ways to work on the points raised so you can become a better coach.
Becoming the Best Coach You Can Be
It is your role as a coach to put your clients at ease, address their situation and help them achieve their goals. Rather than merely following rules and applying all principles to the letter, it helps to be flexible, listen well, improvise, and above all, put the well-being and progress of your clients first.
Leila Rezaiguia is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Kompass Consultancy, a World Class Coaching & Leadership consultancy headquartered in Dubai and with offices in Abu Dhabi and Sydney, that specialises in enabling individuals, organisations and educational institutions to achieve performance excellence and career success. Leila is a multi-lingual (English, Arabic and French) PCC Coach, Facilitator, Mentor Coach, Coach Trainer, Business Mentor and Coach Supervisor who is renowned for her high energy, enthusiasm, passion, fun-loving nature, and her love for building connections, empowering and working with people from diverse cultures. She is passionate about 1:1 & Systemic Team Coaching, Coach Training, Coaching Supervision and Women in Leadership.