3 Ways To Be A Great Coach

Sunday, 23rd February, 2014

bigstock-Best-Practice-Business-Backgr-51875863How do you ensure you’re delivering your best?

As coaches we spend so much time focusing on the coachee, we can forget to focus on ourselves. But we must ensure we put aside a decent proportion of time and energy to make sure we’re the best we can be for our clients.

Here are some of the things I believe are important.

1. Take notice of feedback

Feedback is a big topic in coaching, and warrants at least one blog post all of its own! For now though, I’d simply like to say that I think we’re missing a trick if we’re not paying attention to the feedback we get from our coachees.

Feedback takes various forms, from feedback before/at the start of the session:

  • “I really found our last session useful. I have been reflecting on what we discussed, and I’ve come to the following conclusions”
  • “I want you to be more challenging in this session than you were in the last”

… to feedback during the session:

  • “That’s a great question!”
  • Changes in body language/voice tone (from the subtle to the more obvious) – which can come as a result of asking a positively challenging or irrelevant/inappropriate question

… to feedback at the end of the session:

  • “I think I’m about half-way towards achieving my target. Now I need to work on ___”
  • The coachee booking more sessions following an initial ‘taster’ session (or cancelling sessions). It’s always helpful to get reasons for either of these scenarios.

Whatever form your feedback takes, make sure you learn from it … even if it’s – ‘that session went well; I need to do more of the same type of questioning in the next session.’

 2. Good coaching preparation

The question Are You Prepared? on a background of question marksThis can be divided into the physical prep and the mental.

The most important physical preparation for me is making sure the environment is suitable (as far as I have control over it). After this, it’s about having any necessary paperwork (e.g. coaching agreements, notes from past sessions, preparation for any meetings with a coachee’s line manager following or prior to the session). I also make sure I am going to be comfortable; for example wearing an extra layer if I know the coaching environment is going to be on the cool side!

Appropriate mental preparation is vital going into a coaching session. You have to have your head in the ‘right place’. Each coach has their own way of preparing for a session, ranging from adopting a ‘mindfulness’ state – focusing on the now, to visualisation exercises. This proves useful, especially if you’ve had other coaching clients that day, or a particularly stressful journey. You don’t want to be taking irrelevant and unhelpful thoughts into a client’s session.

So how do you prepare?

3. Regular coaching supervision

There are many benefits to coaching supervision. Here are just a few of the ones I’ve experienced:

  • discussing coaching case studies and what to learn from them
  • measuring my own coaching skills against core competencies of a professional coaching body, and how these can be developed further
  • how to grow my coaching business further
  • finding answers to issues around ethics when working for a large organisation, and the person I’m coaching is not the person who is paying me
  • working towards coaching credentials

Growth is the most important outcome of this process, and even in my 10th year of coaching I still find benefit from keeping a learning journal.

Do you have your own supervision coach? If so – how often do you work with them?

Is it just you and them, or do you have group supervision sessions?

So those were 3 of the ways you can be a great coach.

What would be your top 3?

debbie019 fThank you for taking time to read this blog.

I’m Debbie Inglis, a performance coach, mentor and trainer, working with Heads, Principals, School leaders and their teams to maximise leadership performance, create more effective, confident, and motivated teams … in a way that brings out the best in you.

If you’re interested in my services, please get in touch, and you can read more here.