How to Be an Outstanding Coach for Your Clients

How to Be an Outstanding Coach for Your Clients
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Several years ago, when I was looking to expand my skills-set, I kept bumping into “life coaching” as a career.

Before I began my coaching journey, I did all the research I could. Once coaching was under my radar, I started seeing it everywhere.

I was reading about it on blogs, in ads, seeing it on TV.

Time and desire to learn more provided enough of a push to find out how to become a life coach.

An effective coaching session is based on our ability to listen, to question and to reflect accurately our client’s “map”, without distortion or assumptions.

In the last post, we discussed how to be genuinely present for your client as a part of ICG core competencies. This post is all about the next competency category known as Technical Coaching Skills.

Technical Coaching Skills are divided into 3 parts:

1. Listen effectively

2. Ask impactful and effective questions

3. Move the client to cause

How to Be an Outstanding Coach for Your Clients

1. Listen effectively

Demonstrates Effective Listening

As coaches, we are here to be present fully for the client. You want to hear, see and feel what they communicate so as to be on the same page and move coaching forward.

You remove your own assumptions about what something means, and allow your client’s interpretation of reality to sink in instead of your own.

The first step is to effectively listen to what is said and what isn’t. This goes beyond calibration.

It’s not enough to take what they say at face value – it’s up to you to check in with the client on what they are saying and whether they mean it.

Then there’s what isn’t said yet.

Sometimes a deletion or generalisation says much more about the client than what it actually said out loud.

As you get attuned to the cues the client is giving you, you’ll explore your client’s map of the world. Therefore, it helps to be infinitely curious about their map. For example, what “love” means for your client may be different from your definition of love.

Check in for clarity at regular intervals so that you and the client are working from the same set of beliefs and perceptions.

Develop the intuition to gauge what they client is deleting or distorting. It’s okay to be wrong, and sometimes you will be wrong. But that shouldn’t stop you from intuitively sensing what’s going on for your client.

Clients can easily forget what they are capable of, who they are and what they have to offer. We all have times in life when we struggle with seeing our true potential.

This is particularly true if we’ve come from a challenge that has exhausted us, depleted us, or caused us to feel powerless and out of control.

You are in an ideal position to develop a “catalogue” for your client’s strengths. And sometimes, the opposite is true. The client overestimates their capabilities. This is when you can help them identify the required skills and “rewrite” an experience.

Our results can rarely surpass what we believe about ourselves. Beliefs act as thermostat of our lives.

If your client believes they are no good, they will replicate it in their results. Whereas if they believe they cannot fail, they will bring about very different results.

All beliefs are lies, technically. It is up to you as a coach to reflect back ones that are helpful for your client, and filter out beliefs that are limiting.

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2. Ask impactful and effective questions

Demonstrates Impactful and Effective Questioning

Boring, repetitive questions only lead to superficial coaching.

By drawing on a range of questioning techniques, traversing logical levels and being proactive and challenging, you can help your clients make new connections.

Beyond questioning, there are many techniques you can be conversant with your client. An outstanding coach does not pull out the same visualisation technique session after session.

An effective coach will show behavioural flexibility (and not be a “one-trick” pony).

This is effective when the client doesn’t see the opportunity before them. Or they see it as a challenge. By practising flexibility and building a repertoire of coaching techniques, you can help the client see what they didn’t.

It also helps connect the client with the resources they need – especially internal resources. It’s not so much about “finding” resilience, for example, but tapping into resilience because you presuppose the client already has it in them.

Everything the client says is filtered through deletions, distortions and generalisations. As humans, we have a capability to even imagine events and memories that never happened.

And that’s how we keep ourselves trapped in pain. As a coach, you can recognise these filters and help the client recover from this conditioned thinking.

3. Move the client to cause

Moves the client to Cause

There are two types of thinking – Above the line and Below the line.

Above the line thinking means taking responsibility for what happens in your life. It’s tapping into your inner resourcefulness, because you believe you can handle anything. You believe you always have a choice.

Below the line thinking relies on blame game, holding others responsible for what happens in your life, and feeling sorry for yourself.

To move the client “above the line”, a coach creates awareness around what the client can control and influence.

You also point out their resourceful and unresourceful thinking patterns. That said, you are a guide and facilitator of the client’s journey – but you are not responsible for them, their choices, thoughts, and actions.

A good coach will insist that their client attain the gift of responsibility.

Challenge any assumptions that are blocking the client from assuming responsibility and discovering new possibilities.

As you practise the above steps, you’ll notice your client gradually gives up a limiting belief, an old value that no longer serves them, an attitude that holds them back, or a lack of rituals which leads to poor life choices.

How do you practise being an outstanding coach for your client? Talk to us in the comments!

Stay tuned for upcoming posts where we will explore each ICG core competency category in depth. In the meanwhile, you can download all of them here.

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