How would I describe my coaching style and approach? What do I think is important?
Coachees have fed back views about their experiences with me that coincide with my own concerning what’s important in coaching:
- I’m very easy to talk to, engaging and able to build rapport quickly with even the most introverted of individuals.
- I’m also non-directive, non-judgemental and respectful of the individual, taking an ‘I’m okay, You’re okay’ values stance.
- Whilst using the GROW model as a backdrop in structuring interventions rather than as a rigid ‘plan’, I pay a great deal of attention to exploration of Goal and Reality in the widest sense to ensure when contracting occurs we agree something that is coachable and SMART.
- Where possible, I trust coachees (with facilitation) to be able to work out for themselves pathways forward. Rather than immediately offering ‘off-the-shelf’ tools or structures, I help them design bespoke solutions that suit their own style and situation.
- The level of trust and rapport built up in the coaching relationship means I’ve been able to provide a ‘safe space’ within which coachees have been prepared to face up to and work with serious challenge, whilst being able to move forward from circumstances and limiting self-beliefs which were holding back their progress.
I’d say amongst key aspects of my coaching approach are:
- deep active listening combined with appreciation of the value of silence in enabling thought and insight;
- ability to absorb extensive amounts of information and to summarise/reflect back accurately what has been said in such a way that coachees are enabled to pick up on consistencies/inconsistencies as well as ‘problem areas’ for themselves;
- sensitivity to non-verbal communication to build up the ‘real’ message beyond the words used;
- patience in providing a space where the coachee can (often for the first time) dare to discuss his/her issue with him/herself, secure in the knowledge I’m there to support that self-insight and to provide a mirror reflecting back what the coachee is discovering;
- keen attention to encouraging the coachee to decide on appropriate practical action points, combined with firming up resolve via use of ‘Scale of 1-10’ scenarios;
- non-judgementalism in enabling coachees to make decisions for themselves, even to the extent of deciding to take time out from an issue rather than continue, if that is what they feel is best at the time. That doesn’t mean I avoid challenging coachees where appropriate. Right from the start we’re clear that part of my job is to challenge, so that the best possible choices are made – once internal barriers have been recognised, compassionately worked with, and (where possible) overcome.
What else would I say?
Like most other coaches, I’m insatiably curious. Coaches travel a long road of learning and self-discovery, and curiosity is a must on that road. Without curiosity, how would we learn about ourselves, or learn about this craft (or is it art?) of coaching? For most of us, the impulse to increase self-knowledge is as strong as the impulse to get to know and facilitate the development of coachees… I’m no exception. Any coaching intervention is really a process of joint learning, where the coach and coachee move forward together in an adventure of courageous discovery…
My coaching motto is this:
There’s an old saying: “It takes all sorts to make a world.” Let’s understand and inspire each other…