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8 Ways to Increase Your Effectiveness as a Coach

8 Ways to Increase Your Effectiveness as a Coach

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 5, Episode 11
  • Listen as Dean Jones talks about how you as a coach can develop greater self-awareness and unlock the formula that will make you an effective coach.

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Gallup's Talent Development Architect, Dean Jones.

This is the second webcast of a two-part series on the practice of coaching for people who have an ongoing relationship with clients. The first webcast in this series focused on pitfalls to avoid in coaching, while this one will focus on opportunities to look for to increase your effectiveness as a strengths coach.

Becoming a great coach is a voyage of discovery of yourself that only you can embark on. It's about understanding your own talents, your own strengths, paying attention to the development process that you go through, developing your own self-awareness, and unlocking the formula that works for you as a coach. What makes you effective as a coach is using your own talents and this looks different for every person.

Opportunities to increase your effectiveness as a coach:

  1. Establish the relationship with the person you are coaching.
  • The relationship is the foundation for everything and allows you to get work done
  • Trust is built over a long period of time; relationship can happen in an instant
  • 4 dimensions/elements of relationship:
  1. Be present in your sessions with your client; you'll miss stuff; won't see connections; hear what is behind what the person is saying; it's also a function of respect for the person you are working with; manage yourself and your life so you can be present; best approach in the long run is to be able to take notes during the conversation; the more you take notes, the better you will get at it
  2. Be interested; show you care about them; you're interested in what happens to them and care about outcomes
  3. Be credible; as you are establishing your relationship, it's important to establish your credibility as a coach; are you a results-producer; do it in a way that is tuned into the relationship
  4. Be accessible; you are a grounded, authentic human being; people feel they can relate to you; somebody people can connect to; the need feel like they have access to you
    • The work you can do with a client is based on the relationship you establish with them
    • Be sure to keep enough professional distance; they are not paying you to be their friend
    • Relationship needs to be appropriate to the context of being their coach

  1. Have a clear contract, agreement, goals and vision with the client.
  • Make sure you have established ground rules for how you're going to work together
    • Here's what you can expect of me
    • Here's what I will expect of you
    • This is the kind of work that we'll do together
  • Performance-related goals; developmental goals; tune into all of these; be clear on what the person wants to accomplish; they are the engine, you steer; they generate what they want for themselves
  • Know why they hired you; what do they see in you that they expect you to provide? Why you?
  • Is there a difference if you're an internal coach?
    • Can be an advantage; you know the work environment, you can help people navigate the landscape
    • But do people trust you? Be clear about what you will and will not share with others about the coaching relationship; what you will protect relative to confidentiality
    • Be sure you as the coach and the person you coach can navigate the multiple relationships
  1. Capitalize on the insights you have inside the coaching session.
  • Help them see how their natural talents are shaping their behavior; they have a choice in how they behave
  • Knowing their natural talents gives them insight into how they see the world. Example: some people with Competition think everyone sees the world as a competition, it's eye opening to find out that other people don't see the world through my lens
  • Our behavior is correlated with the way we see the world, so behavior becomes automatic
  • A powerful thing we as coaches can do is to help people actively choose their behavior; how do I want to behave? How do I choose to operate?
  • How do you see a reaction tied back to your talents?
  • Understand your talents and choose to use them in a way that is productive
  • Loosen the grip of automaticity of our responses
  • Use those moments where people are either dealing with issues or where people are really confronting their own lens and their own talent…
  • When you have an opening like this, you want to drive a truck through it; you want to take that opening and really look at what was happening; how does it relate to what we know about your talents; what did you see firing there? What are the choices you made about how you behaved? How else might you have behaved? What other choices did you have for your reaction/behavior?
  • This helps people process their behavior and grounds it in their talent; this becomes powerful coaching
  1. Use your time on your coaching calls to practice conversations the client may have; role play.
  • Might feel like "bad community theater"; may feel awkward at first
  • What are some of the things you could say? How could you express that? And still honor the other person's talent?
  • Talk to me the way you would talk to the other person; allow them to practice with you
  • Professionals in other fields practice all the time, so why not business people?
  • A coach can provide a great opportunity to provide that practice
  • Managers and leaders need to be skillful in having conversations with people
  1. Be aware of familiar refrains.
  • As you work with clients over time, you start to hear common refrains
  • Familiar refrains start to arise; pay attention to these
  • Familiar patterns of speaking that reveal familiar patterns of thinking and behaving
  • We know that talent falls out of people's mouths
  • If you listen to the way they speak, you'll know how they will behave and what their talents are
  • Patterns of speaking give you clues to patterns of thinking and behaving
  • If you want to help shift behavior, hold up a mirror, show them these familiar patterns
  • Just ask, when did you say this before? I've heard you say this before (probably in your notes); I see you've said this …; when you're under stress you always say …
  • Understanding patterns is a key to helping them shift their behavior over time; linked directly to talent profile
  • When have you said this before? What is that familiar refrain? How does that relate back to your talent profile? How can you operate in a way that's new and different?
  • Helping them change the way they speak about something can help them change the way they behave
  • Practice and role-playing helps with this, too
  • Don't under estimate the power of verbal expression
  • Practice out loud, not in your head, it's important to hear it and to get feedback
  1. Make sure that you clarify the mission, purpose and goals for your client.
  • There are a ton of different ways that people talk about this, this is my way (Dean's)
  • Mission is what you've given your life to; what is your life about; can go on beyond your lifetime
  • Purpose is a bit different; how to I contribute to my mission; it's about you and what role you're going to play relative to your mission
  • Goals -- create SMART goals; sit inside of mission and purpose; if you don't know where you're going, then you don't need a coach; a coach can help people clarify their goals, decisions; gives measures; gives a barometer of what's working and what isn't
  • "Goals are what people who are high in Focus do for fun"
  • Every coaching session should leave a client in action and with actions to capitalize on the conversation
  • People don't develop just from insights and epiphanies, but now what are you going to do?
  • Coaches translate insights into actions
  1. Walk the line between asking and telling.
  • Look for blog by Jacque Merritt about this
  • Coaching lives on a continuum between therapy and consulting
  • What we're doing is based on a highly-validated, research-based assessment that gives people insight into their talent; we're matching the client's sense of themselves with our understanding of their natural talents; a gap can quickly become evident when someone doesn't recognize their own talent; we can help them build that self-awareness so we tell; it's fine to give people advice; help them get a great sense of their own talents
  1. Help the client periodically share the value they've derived from the coaching relationship.
  • Take a moment, step back and ask, "How have we grown?"
  • It's great to get recognition from the person you are coaching, but what is really important is that the client owns the ground that they've taken; assess how far they have come; where am I relative to where I was when we first started; they need to own their own development and accomplishments
  • Ask, "What do you notice has changed?"

Dean Jones' Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Activator, Focus, Woo, Strategic and Relator.

Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Cheryl Pace contributed to this post.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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