Coaching is a delicate job, which requires certain skills. These skills are important to maintain a fruitful relationship with your protégés. These skills will help them trust you and actually listen to you.
You simply can’t expect all your apprentices to listen to whatever you have to say and follow you blindly. That is not how things work. As their coach, you also have to lead from the front and have sharp listening skills so that you understand your audience.
Listed here are some skills that will help you be an effective coach:
When I ask you to be curious, I mean that you have to be genuinely curious about what someone is saying to you. Don’t be impatient. Don’t be distracted. Be curious and try finding out as much as possible when others speak to you. Also, don’t keep interrupting unless you have something very insightful to say or unless you have an important question to ask.
Hearing and listening are two different states. You don’t necessarily listen to everything you hear. Listening requires complete and utter focus. Also, don’t just ignore what you listened. That will breed misunderstandings. Take in what the other person says. Take in the emotions involved in the dialogue, too. That will improve your understanding.
Reflect What you Heard
Reflecting includes paraphrasing and summarizing. When you reflect what you heard correctly, the speaker will be satisfied that you actually listened. He will also be able to hear what he said. If he wants to explain himself further or add something more, he will do that. Reflection shows that you understand and also that you actually care about what the person has to say. This is a sign of an excellent coach.
When you ask questions, you improve your knowledge. You understand the subject even better. Questions also give your protégés an opportunity to open up further and share. Open-ended questions allow protégés to understand themselves even better. It is a way of self-discovery.
Give Perceptive Feedback
People think that feedback should always be critical. Why? There is no rule that feedback should always be negative and dismissive. You should provide insightful and helpful feedback. Be careful so that you don’t sound arrogant and unclear. That will cause your protégés to get defensive and may be even lose their trust on you.
Good coaches always listen carefully, reflect, and provide helpful feedback.
Being a good coach requires you to be a great listener first. Listen to what your protégés have to say and take the information in. Ask plenty of questions to further understand and then provide helpful feedback so that you build trust and a healthy relationship.