In order to be successful at coaching a client, a coach must be able to connect with them. This takes a decisive strategy to really get to the right questions and delve into who the client is. It also takes believing in the client and knowing that they are an intelligent being, capable of finding the answers they are looking for, but they just need a little help to get there. A coach must believe in their own abilities as well as those of their clients. Here are some keys to building up that connection with the client that allow a coach to believe in the client’s ability to solve their problem:
- Listen intently to what the client is saying. Put the focus on them and believe what they are saying to be their truth in the situation. Do not inject personal judgments or beliefs into their story.
- Don’t get distracted. Thoughts, future responses, additional questions, to-do lists, even daydreams can get in the way of actually listening to a client. Their words may be heard, but listening is more than just hearing. Absorbing the information and cataloguing it is also important.
- Ask the right questions. This can be tricky depending on the person and their ability to discuss personal information, but really getting to know them will assist in the ability to help them.
- Dig deeper than just the surface. Sometimes coaches have a question bias or they fail to dig deeper to the underlying issues that might trigger the required responses in the client. Perhaps the client is not even aware those causes exist and asking evocative questions helps them discover new things about themselves and their behaviours.
- Don’t feel the need to be the expert in the client’s situation. The coach is the expert in coaching but the client is the expert in their life and situation.
- Provide feedback. Do this without judgment or leading the client in a direction they may not be headed organically.
A client who feels their coach believes in them is a client who is more likely to open up about their situation and allow their coach to really dig in. Ultimately, the client is the one in charge of the decisions and having someone believe in their ability to make the right decisions can make a world of difference.
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