The importance of non-directiveness in coaching – and 2 good reasons to build awareness

Remember that in a previous post I outlined the 5 basic coaching skills we really need to become effective coaches? We’ve already taken a look at the first four: contracting, use of some kind of structuring mechanism (with the GROW Model as an example), listening, and questioning. At long last we’ve arrived at the fifth basic coaching skill: non-directiveness.Cartoon man with blue arrow

In this post I’ll be taking a look at non-directiveness, as well as its place on what Myles Downey has called the ‘Spectrum of Coaching Skills’, before giving  2  good reasons for making sure we put effort into building awareness of when our interactions are non-directive and when they’re not.

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Effective questioning in coaching – and the most important questions to ask yourself

In a previous post I outlined the 5 basic coaching skills we really need in order to become effective as coaches. We’ve already taken a look at contracting, use of some kind of structuring mechanism (with the GROW Model as an example), and listening. This time I’m going to discuss questioning, which (coupled with listening) is the way coaching is given direction, and conversations can be taken forward into ‘light-bulb moment’ territory.

questions in yellow baubles

First, we’ll be looking at framing questions during the ongoing interaction with a coachee, before turning to the most important questions we coaches need to ask ourselves.

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The importance of listening in coaching – and 5 tips to improve it

Are you good at listening? Now, be honest…

Let me be up front. If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know I believe listening is one of the 5 basic coaching skills coaches need to master if they want to offer the high level of service their coachees deserve. In fact, I believe it’s the MOST important skill. Why? Because everything that happens in coaching depends on it.

listening head silhouettesThe importance of listening

Think about it. Without listening, it’s well-nigh impossible to explore goals and current reality with coachees, because without attentive listening a coach is unable to base an intervention on actual coachee needs as opposed to the coach’s own predetermined ‘programme’. Relevant questions can’t arise in the moment if there hasn’t been an adequately deep, attentive process of listening from which those questions flow. And no-one can contract in coaching without listening, because listening is at the core of the process of discussion and negotiation upon which contracting depends.

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Structuring coaching sessions with GROW – Part 2: Reality, Options & the Will to move forward

Last time we checked out what the GROW Model is. We also discussed the importance of Goal Setting in helping both coach and coachee look beyond the current situation to establish a clear vision for the coaching intervention, as well as a focus for taking discussions forward.

Following on from that, this time we’ll be looking at the other three components of the GROW Model:GROW

  • checking out the Reality of the coachee’s current context and situation
  • generation of Options
  • ensuring the coachee has the Will to move forward with specific actions

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Structuring coaching sessions with GROW – Part 1: Introduction to the GROW Model & Goal Setting

Last time we looked at the reasons to contract in coaching – one of the five basic skills it’s necessary for any coach to master. This time I’m turning to another skill on that wishlist. The GROW Model – that easy-to-remember, simple, and perennially popular mechanism for structuring coaching sessions.

GROWDon’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that there are no other ways of structuring sessions. There are. Many. Some are simple whilst others are much more complicated. However, I’m highlighting the GROW Model here because of its almost universal acceptance and serviceability. It’s stood the test of time, been pulled around and discussed widely, and become a coaching staple used because of its effectiveness by a whole variety of coaches, including the most experienced.

Why is it important to have some kind of recognisable approach to structuring coaching sessions?

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Why contract in coaching?

In a previous post I discussed the five basic skills any coach needs to master if he or she wants to be effective. I said then I’d be discussing each of these in further posts, so here I’ll be looking into the first skill on that list by checking out the rationale for and characteristics of effective contracting.

man signing contractEffective contracting is crucial to the success of coaching relationships. Why? Well, the origins of any problems that occur as the relationships develop can usually be traced back to the contracting stage.

The term ‘contracting’ can refer to two things:

  1. the ongoing process whereby the coach helps the coachee define, refine and redefine clear outcomes for the coaching sessions;
  2. the negotiations and resulting document setting out the parameters of the relationship between coach, coachee and any other stakeholders with an interest in the coaching intervention.

I’ll be taking a look at both of these under the following headings:

  • Contracting in the coaching process
  • Contracting the coaching relationship

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Coaching tools and the 5 basic coaching skills – what do you REALLY need?

What skills does a coach REALLY need? Which tools are essential?

These are big questions. And many coaches secretly have them at the back of their minds, especially when they’re newly qualified.  Have you ever heard that little voice inside saying something like this: “Okay, you’re qualified… But are you good enough? What do you REALLY have to do? What do you REALLY have to know?”

stylised head and question marksIt takes time for a coach to gain confidence, and it takes practice. However, if there’s one myth I’d like to dispel which might help everyone relax, it’s this – the myth that to be a successful coach you need to be well-practised in a whole host of tools, without which you can’t call yourself a ‘proper coach’ at all.

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