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Coaching Skills:

What Makes a Successful Coach?


Coaching skills: What Makes a Successful Coach?

Below are the core skills of the successful coach.   The successful coach works toÖ.

Establish a Trustful Learning Climate

Make the coaching sessions nonthreatening.  Be certain that the coachee feels comfortable so he or she isn't afraid to make a mistake or ask for more help.  The coahee must trust that the coach won't make him or her feel inadequate.

Offer Honest and Fair Feedback

The successful coach provides honest feedback but does it in a way that encourages rather than discourages.  Make certain that your message is the one that you really mean and above all, donít sound judgmental or use judgmental language.

Operate with Integrity

Since a coaching relationship frequently deals with sensitive and personal issues, it is vitally important that the coachee understands that the coach will handle sensitive information with integrity and confidentiality.

Express Passion and Curiosity

The successful coach has a sincere interest in the coachee.  The goal of coaching is to empower the coachee and the best coaches feel passionate about this.

Keep the Conversation Focused

The successful coach understands that the focus must be on the coachee.  This means that the coach must not dominate the conversation, but encourage the coachee to open up and explore and assess his or her own ideas.

Praise and Support the Coachee

Be certain that your praise is timely, authentic, and specific.  In other words, don't just praise on a general level; instead, zero in on a particular statement, insight, or practice that you feel deserves reinforcement.  Be optimistic and encourage the coachee to actively engage in his or her learning. 

Listen Carefully

Be a sensitive listener.  Understand that the coachee is working from a position of subordination and this may cause him/her to sidestep what he/she really wants to say.  Stay tuned to the feelings of the coachee and listen carefully for the underlying intent of a question or comment.  Ask clarification questions to understand fully.

Motivate the Coachee

Be positive in a way that the coachee believes that progress is being made.  Let the coachee know that you are on his or her side.

Ask Good Questions

Be aware of how you ask questions: Are your questions open-ended? Are they non-threatening? And do they fit the situation?  When you ask a question, consider the following:

  • After you ask a question, allow wait time for a reply.

  • Don't ask someone a question if you know they can't answer it.

  • Repeat the question or restate it in a different way if the listener appears hesitant.

It is important that you understand the power of questions.  They can serve as a means to motivate, gain support, defuse tense situations, and clarify meaning?

Be Flexible

A coach must be able to see issues from a variety of points-of-view.  The coach must be able to pierce through ambiguity and unlock prescribed ways of seeing things.

Exercise Compassionate Straightforwardness

A successful coach has the ability to state difficult truths, call for accountability, and point out the reality of a situation.  The challenge is to do this straightforwardly and at the same time empathetically.

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