6 Coaching Skills That Lead to a More Effective Coaching Process

In my previous post, I stated:

Individuals will need to DO something (engage in behavior) in order to achieve the desired outcomes. All results are the product of behavior. To change results, you must change behavior, and to change behavior, you must design a supportive environment.

As a coach (or leader who also fulfills a coaching role), YOU are part of the “supportive environment” for your client. Have you considered how your clients’ goals and results influence your coaching behavior and the coaching process? After all, you were hired to help your client achieve some outcome or result, and it’s safe to say that achieving their goal will leave them a satisfied client who is more likely to provide a positive testimonial and/or refer friends.

So, as a coach, what is your focus? Are you focused solely on ensuring the client meets their goals with disregard to how they get there?

I suspect (and hope) this is not the case, especially if you are reading this post!

Coaches often have a solid base plan or program that works for a lot of individuals (as long as they follow the plan), but getting clients to FOLLOW the plan isn’t always that easy. How does YOUR behavior as a coach come into play? A coach’s behavior influences their client’s behavior more than most people want to admit. For example, you will want to make sure you are a source of positive reinforcement for your client—you do not want your client to associate you as something negative and to avoid.

If you’ve ever opted to make a quick turn in the opposite direction of a former teacher, coach, boss, friend, or colleague, you probably get what I’m trying to convey here. The same thing can happen with clients. If a client isn’t seeing results and feels embarrassed or feels that they may have disappointed you (based on previous learning history of disappointing others in a position of authority), they might avoid communicating with you or “check out” of the coaching relationship. This is why it is especially important for coaches to develop a rapport with clients from the onset.

In addition, effective coaches are proactive. Proactive coaches focus just as much on their own behavior and the coaching process as they do on ensuring that their clients focus on the behaviors necessary to move them in the direction of their goals.

Below are 6 skill development areas that will allow you to be a more proactive coach and lead to a more effective coaching process:

1. Role and values clarification: Identifying your purpose as a coach, the expectations you have for yourself and for your clients, and assisting clients with identifying their values to guide behavior change.

2. Coach-client relationship: Developing rapport with clients and establishing a shared understanding of expectations with and obligations to one another.

3. Positive coaching environment: Creating a coaching environment that supports healthy, desired client behavior with a focus on consistent, effective action and enjoyment vs. “compliance”.

4. Principles of behavior: Understanding of basic principles of behavior and behavior assessment in order to gain insight into why clients do what they do and how your behavior influences your clients’ behavior. [If you know a behavior analyst, you might ask them for some coaching on this topic, in particular! 😉 ]

5. Knowledge/ability assessment and goal setting: Identifying an appropriate starting point and setting effective goals for value-added behavior change.

6. Feedback and communication: Using a “positive approach” with effective feedback, clear communication and instruction, and the development of coach-client feedback “loops”.

In my own work as a personal and executive coach, I guide individuals toward their goals as they develop skills to help them stay on track more often, meet current and future goals, and live a life that is values-aligned. If you are looking to develop your own coaching skills in any of areas listed above, I’d love to discuss the opportunity work with you!