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The Art of Effective Coaching

There is more to coaching than having a good set of lungs and a point to make.

It even goes beyond the traditional teacher/pupil relationship.

Effective coaches help cultivate long-term values and aspirations. The person being coached knows what they want, and even more crucially, why they want it.

Once they understand their goal, it’s time to build their capacity.

Great coaches don’t just set Key Performance Indicators and assess results.

They build trust through compassion. They make the workplace a psychologically safe place to be.

Great coaches often listen more than they speak. They are empathetic. This approach helps them build trust and identify the intrinsic needs of their people.

When it’s time to talk, they don’t give the answers the team is looking for. They ask probing, open-ended questions that help the team find the answers for themselves. This approach facilitates growth. 

Coaching is effective when positive change is created.

They evoke courage, reflection and stimuluses so the coached can experiment with new methods and behaviours.

Great coaches help the coached to cultivate self-awareness. Consequently, opportunities arise to explore and shape a better version of themselves.

The coach is continually building strong relationships, providing the right learning environment for development and sustainability. 

Solid frameworks are agreed upon that drives accountability and ownership so that growth occurs.

There is no need for sugar-coating or placating. It’s through honest and accurate coaching conversations that changes in behaviour and performance occur. 

It’s ironic that such a complex, nuanced role as coaching can be judged on the most basic of measurements – wins vs losses, target reached vs target failed.

Effective coaches understand and welcome the pressure. But to achieve the goals of their protégé or team, they focus on the process, not the result.

Let’s recap

  1. Know your why
  2. Build trust through compassion and empathy
  3. Help people feel safe
  4. Listen
  5. Ask open-ended questions
  6. Experiment
  7. Drive people’s accountability and ownership
  8. Have honest, accurate conversations

David Buttifant is a Doctor of Exercise Physiology, high-performance coach and Resilience Builders’ co-founder.

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