Catching Coaching Opportunities

“To effect true transformational change, heart-led leaders draw on the qualities of humility, vulnerability, transparency, empathy and love.”  — Tommy Spaulding

Coaching is a key skill for successful leaders.  Coaching is a fantastic way to continuously develop your staff and help them feel that you truly care for them individually and about their personal and professional development – coaching is purely for them! I have heard from many of my clients about how valuable the book “A Manager’s Guide to Coaching: Simple and Effective Ways to Get the Best From Your Employees” by Brian Emerson was for them.  I want to put this information on your radar so you can keep learning and moving forward! 

Here is a brief skill review of some coaching skills

Coachable moments arise when someone gives subtle clues that not everything they are thinking is being fully processed or expressed. Watch for these cues, and seize those valuable coachable moments!

  • Limiting beliefs
  • Assumptions, interpretations, limited perceptions
  • Throw-away comments (“That will never happen.”  “It has always been like this.” “I have never been able to…”)
  • Missing pieces in a story
  • Strong or weak energy
  • Inconsistent statement
  • Inflation of roles (“I am the manager.” “It’s all up to me.”)
  • Repeated phrases or words (frustrated, angry, upset)

There are ways to “call coaching out” without saying outright “Can I coach you?”  Here are some suggestions for subtly opening a coaching conversation when you catch a coachable moment:

  • “When would you like to schedule some time to bat around some ideas about this challenge?”, or;
  • “Would you like some time to talk and brainstorm how to deal with the situation?”

When you are meeting with your direct reports this week, look for coaching opportunities. Remember: Attitude and Aptitude are very different!  Aptitude is about knowledge and skill. Attitude is where you will find a lot of your coaching opportunities.  Here are some coaching opportunities/agendas to look for:

  • Interpersonal challenges
  • Motivation
  • Time management
  • Dealing with conflict
  • Clarifying goals
  • Lack of available resources
  • Developmental opportunities
  • Life balance
  • Conflicting priorities
  • Delegation
  • Confidence
  • Internal barriers, blocks, and limiting beliefs

Coaching is all about the skill and art of asking questions

 Here are some things to keep in mind to formulate good coaching questions:

  • Ask open-ended questions (What, Where, Who, When, How – stay away from “why”)
  • Keep your questions advice free
  • Keep them short and simple (take your time formulating good questions)
  • Keep them thought-provoking
  • Create space between your questions
  • Ask only one question at a time
  • It’s OK to re-frame a question
  • Keep them forward focused (on future behaviors and actions)

Remember to dig into the coachable moments before moving into solutions and next steps.

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