Coaching employees is part of the job description for many leaders. There are a variety of different approaches to Coaching but there are some core skills that apply to any situation. These 3 tips will improve the effectiveness of your coaching conversations:
- Provide Non-Verbal Support
- Be an Active Listener
- Express Understanding
Providing non-verbal support during a coaching conversation creates a safe environment for the conversation to take place. Start with your body language. Your shoulders should be parallel to the person you are speaking with. Sit up straight and give the person your full attention. Do not cross your arms; they should be relaxed at your sides to make you appear more approachable. Make eye contact with the person you are coaching to make the interaction more successful. Eye contact conveys interest and promotes a two-way conversation. Using gestures is another way to add support to a conversation. This could be as simple as a smile or grimace or as elaborate as telling a story with your hands. Just remember to make your gestures and facial expressions match the message that you intend to convey.
Active listening is a vital component to an effective coaching conversation. Active listening goes beyond just hearing what the other person is saying. It is trying to understand the content of the message as well as the intentions, expectations, and feelings of the sender. The biggest obstacle to active listening is your attention. Stay focused on what is being said and try not to let your mind wander.
Expressing understanding is a great way to show that you are invested in the coaching conversation. This can be done by providing feedback, asking for clarification, or simply paraphrasing what the speaker just said. Expressing your understanding also serves to doubly confirm that both you and the coachee share the same perspective on the topic.
Effective coaching requires a certain comfort level from the person being coached. By using these 3 tips in your coaching conversations, you will help invite a more constructive conversation. You will create a safe environment and show that you are engaged in the conversation and comprehend what is being said.