Everyone’s a Coach

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Well, maybe not everyone.

But we all do some coaching at various times either at work or in life.

Some folks do coaching better than others. Some lean on their listening skills. Others lean on their motivating skills. And others lean on their evaluating skills.

Raise your hand if you think your core coaching skill is listening.

Good listening coaches are finely attuned to pushing everything else aside and giving full attention to the person in front of them. They make great eye contact, nod approvingly, and provide acknowledgement and strong validation.

Stand up if you think your core coaching skill is evaluating.

Good evaluating coaches watch for opportunities to help others identify “strengths” and “weaknesses.” They observe life under the premise that no matter how good we are, we can always be a little bit better.

Wave your arms like you’re doing the wave if you think your core coaching skill is motivating.

Good motivating coaches pay close attention to body language and facial expressions. They are good listeners and are keen to hearing and seeing what lights up the eyes in their conversation partner. They take that information and turn it into statements of cheering on and encouragement.

All of those coaching skills are wonderful and critical to coaching success.

Now, think back on a time when you performed as one of these coaches. Go ahead, take a pause, and think about it for a moment.

Maybe you focused on listening carefully, maybe you focused on seeking opportunities for improving behavior, maybe you focused on observing emotions or feelings to offer encouragement.

No matter which you did (maybe you did all three in the same conversation!), you were performing as a coach.

Well…almost, but not quite. Let me explain.

To be a great coach you have to do all of those things. You might be better at one or the other, but bringing all of these skills together is just the beginning of being a great coach.

Real coaching takes place when you know the right questions to ask.

You might be a fantastic listener, acknowledging and validating all over the place. But if you don’t know which question to ask next, you aren’t really coaching. You’re no doubt a caring, compassionate friend, but not a coach.

You might have eagle-eye evaluation skills. You may be able to identify excellent opportunities for improvement and provide some tips or techniques for them to consider. But again, if you don’t ask questions that allow the other person to figure it out themselves, there won’t be much buy-in. And so, you are a great advice giver, but not a coach.

You might be great at encouraging others (and that is a helpful, needed skill), but if you can’t follow up with the next best question to solidify belief in oneself, you’re a great cheerleader, but not a coach.

Great coaches listen. Great coaches motivate. Great coaches evaluate. And most importantly, great coaches ask great questions!

Want to be a great coach? Know how to ask the right question at the right time.

Your Mindful Moment:

Each of us has all the answers we will ever need to be successful. But are we asking the right questions to discover those answers?

You can’t coach yourself. Find the right coach for you to finally embrace total fulfillment in life and at work.

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