No matter how new or advanced you are in your coaching journey, all coaches are on a continuous learning curve where they are always wondering how to be a better coach.
We’re here to guide you through some essential skills, techniques, and progress review methods every coach should know.
Read on to discover our secret to being a better coach!
Essential Skills Every Coach Must Have
A skilled coach does not consider themselves experts who can solve every problem or answer every question a client raises. Instead, the coach plays a supporting role in the client's journey to self-reflection and self-learning. To be batter coach, all coaches need the most basic skills to rely on to ensure the journey is as seamless as possible.
1. Show Empathy
Empathy is an essential skill for every professional coach. Skilled coaches can use empathy to connect with clients, build trust, and achieve goals faster. This is important to help clients become open-minded throughout their coaching journey.
2. Stay Curious
Curiosity allows us to step away from my current beliefs and engage with my clients from an objective place. Understanding our client's life experiences and perspectives is the foundation for understanding where they come from and what matters.
Curiosity helps us discover new possibilities and alternatives. It also allows you to dig deeper and find hidden things not otherwise apparent. Acting with interest lets us glean our clients' information without prejudice or bias.
3. Cultivate the Ability to Identify Strengths
A competent coach should be able to help clients identify their own strengths. Even if clients may not recognize them, coaches must help them understand themselves better. Coaches help clients discover their true potential and grow by working on these strengths.
4. Ask Open-ended Questions
Although we usually approach problems with a desire to solve them, there may be more to the situation than meets the eye. For this reason, keeping an open mind when talking to customers is essential. Asking open-ended questions can help with just that.
For example, asking a client a question like "What would you do now if there were no obstacles in your path and anything was possible?" instead of going a question like “Do you want to succeed or stagnate where you are?”. The latter is a close-ended, aggressive, very confrontational question and should be avoided at all costs.
5. Practicing Detached Engagement
It is very important for coaches to understand the importance of decoupling their own values from their client's goals, aspirations, and outcomes. This means doing your best in your coaching efforts but not getting too involved in your client's life or tying your worth to their success or failure.
As a coach, it's your job to use your expertise to ensure your client's progress and growth, but at the same time, it's important to remember that your client may not get the desired results. It can be caused by circumstances or a lack of effort on the client's part. Whatever the reason, practicing a sense of detached engagement allows you to invest the right amount of energy and effort without becoming overly preoccupied.
6. Master Your Active Listening
You probably already know the importance of practicing active listening. But the truth is, listening is only half the communication equation. An experienced coach should listen to both the text and the subtext of what the client is saying. This includes eye cues, breathing, and body language, all of which are non-verbal forms of communication.
Sometimes a client says something, but their body language is entirely different. An experienced coach must be able to pick up on these cues and gently nurture them so that the client does not become defensive.
*Dive deeper into core coaching skills every coach must master.
4 Coaching Techniques That You Need to Know
Now that we've covered some of the key skills you need to master as a coach, let's look at some of the most popular and valuable coaching techniques that can support your coaching engagements with your clients.
1. The Wheel of Life
A popular coaching tool that many coaches use is the Wheel of Life. Sometimes, life can get a little awkward, and it can be challenging to determine exactly what's keeping you from living your best life. The Wheel of Life is a crucial coaching technique that enables coaches to identify areas in a client's life where they are not completely satisfied, whether spending time with family or friends.
When clients identify their satisfaction levels on the wheel (including various factors such as health and fitness, relationships, career, etc.), clients and coaches can gain greater insight into what needs attention. You can map how to move forward accordingly.
*Discover the step-by-step guide to applying The Wheel of Life in a coaching session.
2. The Life ECG
The Life ECG is an excellent technique coaches use when clients are unsure about where they are in life or what they want. This coaching tool is designed to help coaches understand the ups and downs of their clients' lives and better understand their values and strengths. All you need to use this tool is a blank sheet of paper and a pen.
Draw a horizontal line on a piece of paper and ask the client to describe their life in chronological order. Clients don't have to map their entire lives, so don't be intimidated. Instead, ask them to pick their life's three most important ups and downs. Then ask them to explain why these are important moments in their lives. Listening to their reactions allows us to analyze their outlook on life.
3. The GROW model
The four alphabets in the GROW model stand for Goal, Reality, Options, and Will.
The first step in the GROW model Goals, i.e., is knowing what the client wants to achieve. While this may seem simple, coaches need to ensure that the goals the client chooses are realistic, acceptable, and measurable.
The second step in the GROW model is Reality, and it can be summed up in one question: “What is the client’s actual situation?” Remember that this is a journey, and in order for your client to reach their goals, they need to know where they are now and where they see themselves in the future. The coach's role is to help clients initiate a process of self-assessment aimed at identifying obstacles that prevent them from achieving these goals.
The third stage of the GROW model is Options. Once a client has identified obstacles in their life, a coach can help overcome them with helpful suggestions and ideas that serve as possible options for them.
The final stage of the GROW model is the Will of the client. As coaches, we must understand what clients want to do to reach their goals. Here, coaches assist and work with clients to develop actionable steps to turn dreams into reality.
*Learn more about the GROW model and how to use it in a coaching session.
One of the best coaching tools for gaining perspective and self-knowledge is a reflective journal. Additionally, journaling is a great coaching technique because it allows coaches (and their clients) to assess and validate their emotions.
Measuring Your Client’s Progress
Measuring or evaluating the progress and results of something invisible, like coaching, can be daunting. But it's imperative to know if your client is on the right track. It can tell you how effective your coaching is and whether it's working as initially planned or not.
Testing and reviewing progress is essential, not only to the client but also to the coach. It can help you decide whether to continue with the same coaching techniques or adjust the action plan to improve their results.
Questions to Measure Client Progress
Here are some questions to consider when analyzing their progress. Remember to adapt them to your coaching niche:
Did the client make any new discoveries about themselves?
This question helps us understand the client's attitude toward life before and after undergoing coaching. Discovering new things and gaining different perspectives in life is one of the common ways in which coaching tends to change the way you think and see things. Even if your clients discover new ways to solve problems, that's a step forward. Try to teach them to pay attention to such things so that they can see their progress.
How useful were your specific skills or teachings to your client?
Think about the impact of your coaching on the client's life. It will only serve them if it aligns with the client's goals and objectives. You are there to serve the client by helping them develop essential skills, traits, and techniques that will help them face any obstacle that stands in their way.
All coaching and efforts only succeed when we can help clients progress through what we teach them. Measuring your coachee’s progress will significantly impair without a proper learning perspective.
How drastically has the client changed as a result of the coaching?
This question sets the tone for progress measurement. You need to be aware of small and significant changes in your habits, moods, work ethic, personal life, stress management, decision-making, communication, and more.
Can you tell the difference yourself?
As coaches, we create transformation. And as those who change their lives, we are uniquely positioned to know best if there have been improvements in their personal and professional lives or if things are still the same. Measuring progress is easier if you can assess the differences that you observe after a session.
These reviews help you measure progress so you can improve aspects you are not completely satisfied with.
Have the client's friends/ family/colleagues noted any major differences?
Try asking colleagues, friends, and family about changes in the client's life and habits since attending the coaching session. This gives you a clear picture of your coaching program's success for your coachees.
This question clears the doubts that arise as people undergoing coaching programs may be biased about their progress and may not feel that they have changed much, despite having come a long way. Their colleagues, friends, and family may be more aware of the changes and are often more honest in answering questions.
How will they reward themselves when they see progress?
This question establishes a reward system that recognizes a client’s achievements and celebrates progress. We encourage you to tell your clients to reward themselves during the coaching program. This may increase the client's self-confidence and make them work harder to achieve their goals.
These milestones keep progress on track and make you and your clients feel good. The question of how they will reward themselves can be answered when both parties agree on a reward. You don’t want your client to fly off the handle with a massive reward for a relatively easy achievement.
What changes do you think need to be made to the coaching plan?
This is a question most coaches don’t ask their clients but should - during and after the coaching program. Every coach is different, and perfecting your coaching skills will take time and constructive criticism.
This question will help you make the right changes for future clients. Your former clients may have suggestions. Pay close attention to their answers to this question and work on the changes they feel would have improved their experience with your coaching service.
What To Do If a Client Shows No Progress?
If your coaching plan is not working as expected, it may need adjusting. You don't want the client to leave a session feeling like nothing productive came out of it. Hence, making tweaks and staying flexible along the way is essential. Here are some ways to make changes during your session and adjust your coaching plan as needed.
Short-term goals are a great way to track your progress, and they work their magic when the client might feel like giving up.
You’ll have a clearer picture of client progress at the end of achieving their short-term goals. This can help you learn if your course of action with the client has been appropriate and effective.
Identifying the Problem
Identifying the problem before making any adjustments will help you better understand the situation and take the right approach. You can only solve a problem if you know what the problem is and what caused it. Do the proper analysis and move on.
Addressing Areas for Improvement
Identifying client skills allows you to identify areas for improvement quickly. Make a list of changes you think could change the person's position. Provide analogies so that your clients can better identify and grasp these issues in productivity as you address these issues with them. Maintain a positive tone of dialogue by emphasizing your belief in their ability to improve and overcome these challenges.
Once you know the problem and how to fix it, make changes and adjust your coaching plan accordingly. Coming up with new ways to fit a plan can be difficult, but you can work with your clients to improve things.
Remember, being a coach is not going to be easy. There will be times when your patience is tested, and you’ll have to keep revising and improving the most carefully made plans. Take a step back, breathe, evaluate your plan, make the necessary changes, and keep going.
At Evercoach, we offer courses that’ll help you establish yourself as a highly-skilled coach in your niche. We offer all kinds of resources for aspiring coaches. You can check us out here!