IoF National Convention 2014: Developing Coaching Skills (Part Three)

What is the biggest challenge of being a coach?

 This depends on the coach, but for me, the initial challenges of not giving advice and learning to really listen attentively were the biggest ones. I try to focus my mind on what the desired outcome of the conversation is for the coachee and keep my questions moving in that direction. Planning your questions can help and also getting into the state for focused listening, if you know when the coaching will happen. Also see my blog about preparing for a coaching conversation for further tips:

How can you make personal development part of your everyday role?

1. Build it into your thinking for the day

  • On the way to work identify one skill you are going to practise or one approach you are going to try out with someone.
  • On the way home identify what went well and what you could do differently next time to enhance it further.
  • Keep a learning log with notes of what strategies and approaches work for you in different contexts and what you find challenging and need to work on.
  • If you are a blogger, start following some coaches or L&D people for tips, inspiration and reading recommendations.

2. Make time for reviewing your own development

  • Identify a development buddy – someone at work who you could have coffee or lunch with sometimes to reflect on your development.
  • Have a coaching conversation with a colleague – 20 minutes each way, giving each other space and time to think and practising your questioning and listening skills.
  • Check out if your organisation has formal coaching or mentoring opportunities as many do but not everyone knows about them.
  • Some people use blogging for themselves as a way of developing reflective skills but be thoughtful about what you expose!

How do you generate self-belief and confidence?

 This is a large and complex area, I think, but here are a few approaches that I have used with coachees wanting to build confidence and self-belief:

  • Notice positive and successful moments in your day, however small.
  • Consciously look at what you did ok with and what you did well each day – pick out several things, even if they are initially smal.
  • Notice praise and don’t ignore or dismiss it. Value feedback from others, especially when it is positive or constructive.
  • Ask for some positive feedback from a colleague you trust and feel confident with – what do they think you do well?
  • Challenge negative mental chatter that knocks your confidence – look out for thought patterns such as ‘I always do badly in pitch meetings’ or ‘I just can’t lead a team meeting.’ Try to bring a more balanced perspective by identifying examples of when you did ok. Pick out one way to do that thing differently and experiment with that in the spirit of a trial/pilot for yourself.
  • For some people, keeping a log of these experiences helps them to see patterns in behaviour and attitude and they can build from there.

How can I develop coaching in an organisation with no training budget?

  • Read up on coaching to develop a sense of some approaches to explore.
  • Start following coaching related bloggers and tweeters to pick up tips. 
  • See if anyone at work needs to practise coaching for a qualification they are doing.
  • Explore some approaches and activities with your team to build some skills yourself; share findings with colleagues.
  • Start an internal conversation about the kind of organisation you want to be and where coaching could fit into the communication/ leadership style of the organisation.
  • Bid for some money to bring in a coaching trainer to train a group of people who could become internal advocates/champions over time.


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