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What Does a Coach Need to Be Successful?

This lesson is a part of an audio course Coaching Skills for Managers by Karina Margole

Coaching is a very different skill from what is typically taught to managers. It is very non-directive and, as mentioned in the previous lesson, a coach isn't there to give advice or share an experience. So what does a coach do? Before we dive into the skills the coach needs to acquire, let's first talk about how a coach should approach a conversation.

The main principle to keep in mind is the belief that the person being coached is creative, resourceful, and whole. That they are capable of finding the answers they are looking for, working out their problems, and achieving their goals. This doesn't mean that they have all the skills and experience that they need right now. It means that if they do have gaps, they are able to identify them and find ways around or through them.

If you, as a coach, keep this in mind throughout the conversation, it will have a tremendous positive impact on the person you are coaching, on yourself, and the work that is being done. Having the belief that a person in front of you is creative, resourceful, and whole will change the way you manage your people. Not just in coaching but in general. It will also change the way people relate to you. You will find that people are more trusting and that they come to you for advice more often.

Another key belief is that of non-judgement. Within a coaching conversation, you are there to help the person open up their thinking. You are there to help them sort out a problem. They need to be able to relax and open up to do that. In order to do that, they need to know that you are not going to judge them. That you are going to accept whatever comes out from them and support them in following through on that. This keeps the members of your team motivated and engaged. And that's important because companies that have low engagement lose 20 to 25 percent of their revenue each year. Companies that have engaged employees enjoy better shareholder revenue and lower turnover rates. And the statistics on engagement are quite shocking. In 2016 according to a Gallup survey, only 13% of employees worldwide were actively engaged.

One of the ways to keep your employees engaged they need to feel like they have choices over how they do their work. And coaching is a great way to help them do them. Coaching, when done right, can help your staff feel engaged, empowered, and motivated. I will talk more about motivation and why in coaching, we don't give answers in Lesson 6. For now, keep in mind that you are not there to provide answers. You are there to help the coachee explore their problem, the resources they have at hand, and potential roadblocks.

Apart from this belief, there are also core skills a coach needs to develop in order to support the person they are coaching. Those skills are listening, questioning, self-awareness and self-management, and focusing on outcome and movement-forward.

In the following lessons, we will look at each of those skills in more depth.

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Written by

Karina Margole