We at Coaching Out of the Box® are absolutely passionate about everyone developing coaching skills. Whether you are going to use them in your work, life or as a full-time coach the critical component is that you must use them. Reading all the materials on coaching, listening to others coach, attending workshops and conferences are great and wonderful but it just does not cut it unless you are actually coaching in real time, with real people and with real challenges.
Over the years as a coaching educator I have listened to some of the most intelligent and well-educated people eloquently describe what coaching is but when it came to successfully coaching someone there was a huge gap. They had the concepts, etc. in their head but had not integrated them into successful coaching. That is why the smartest strategy for dramatically growing your coaching skills is to coach whenever and as often as you can, here are 3 key strategies to do just that:
- Don’t wait for a special 30-minute or longer coaching appointment. Take moments in the hallway to use some of your coaching skills. We call this “Take 5 Coaching ™”. I challenge you to take 5 or so minutes with someone and see what happens, nothing like having a short amount of time to really hone your skills FAST! Have a look at a few of our Take 5 Coaching™ videos to get an idea. Remember just simply listening to another human being and completely focusing on them is of huge value all by itself. For those of you who have experienced our Flagship 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™ use that model to practice, i.e. take the 5 core coaching skills and use those, then the next few times integrate them with the 5 components of a coaching exchange and then finally and ALWAYS focus on “who” you are being as you coach, i.e. curious for example. Have a “cheat” sheet in front of you as you coach. Listen, professionals have clipboards, blood pressure machines, calculators, etc. it is OK!
- Teach some of the key skills . Take it upon yourself to literally teach others a few of the skills. I, myself, dramatically grew my skills once I had to start teaching others – it made a huge difference! Who can you bring coaching skills to? Who could benefit from learning how to really listen? Who could benefit from learning how to encourage someone in a way that is genuine, sincere and specific? If you had to teach someone the key components of listening what would you say they were, i.e. focused attention? Nodding?? Listening to what they are saying and not saying?? What else?
- Be willing to coach someone in front of others…yes that is right…”in front of others”. Find an opportunity to actually demonstrate even just one coaching skill in front of others. You do this and the other two above and within the next month you will have used 3 key strategies that will dramatically grow your skills while at the same time make a difference for others even if you stumble BECAUSE your willingness to be vulnerable and make mistakes is a HUGE example for others. No master coach I know ever got to where they are by playing it safe. Get up on a stool, sit across from someone and be committed to being completely focused on them and providing value.
Coaching + Courage = BRILLIANCE!