Coaching skills are not something that can be acquired overnight. A concerted effort, a dedicated approach and consistency are required to become an effective business coach. Some attributes are inherent while other skills can be acquired over a period of time.
If you have planned on pursuing a business coach career here are some skills that you will have to hone:
- Goal Setting– Coaching is largely about working towards a goal in a very focused manner. A person who wants to be a coach has to able to extract specific and clear goals from the participants in the session. You must be well-acquainted with the SMART module of coaching- Specific, Measurable, Attractive, Realistic and Timed. These are the five basic parameters that a coaching session revolves around. Be very clear about the goals of the session, ensure that they are achievable, quantifiable and work within the specifics of a time-frame.
- Increased Awareness– When a coaching session is in progress, it is critical that you be aware of what is happening in the immediate surroundings. A lot of nods need not necessarily mean that the participants are thoroughly engrossed in the session. On the contrary, the ones who nod the most are the ones who have lost focus. They are only reacting physically to the proceedings while their minds are wandering elsewhere. You should be skilful enough to pick up vibes such as tedium, saturation and boredom amongst your participants. Understanding the body language of the person/ people you are coaching can go a long way in making your session a more productive one.
- Listen Before You Speak– It is the job of a business coach to speak and keep the participants engaged in the session. That is a prerequisite of the coach’s role. However, listening is equally important as well. You must know when to put a lid on your urge to talk and when just keep your ears and mind open to the ideas that are being put forth by the coachees. This will help you be in tandem with the thought process of the person you are coaching.
- Empathy Is More Important Than Sympathy – When you gain mastery over the art of listening and awareness, empathizing will not be all that difficult. As a business coach there will be numerous instances wherein emotionally distressed individuals will approach you with their personal and professional problems. In situations such as these, you have to be skilful enough to empathize, provide appropriate support and offer a possible solution as well. All this, without any emotional involvement. That difference between empathy and sympathy though well-defined, is a very subtle one. You can jeopardize the coach-coachee relationship by getting emotionally involved in the situation.
- Be Open To Questions– This aspect is a particularly significant one. It is important to be able to draw the line between assertiveness and aggressiveness. There may be junctures in the coaching session when you will have to keep all your learning and ideas aside and elicit responses from the participants. This strategy adds a new dimension to learning. Increased participation also means increased levels of interest.
- The Feedback– It is not the prerogative of a coach or a mentor to be harsh, cynical or critical. You must always adopt a very positive attitude towards your coachee. Negativity only creates walls where you need to pull down some. The feedback you provide should start out on a positive, appreciative note. It can then move on to being a little more firm but should naturally progress onto a positive note again. The subject should never walk away from your session feeling dejected or depressed
Learning And Coaching Go Hand-In-Hand
The path to being a business coach is riddled with the learning and unlearning process. Attributes such as patience, awareness and empathy are something that you will have to develop as you go along. Your approach to coaching has to be a no-holds-barred one and is the only way to ensure that you do a good job of it.
Learning Is A Two-Way Street
Conceptually, to become a coach, some skills and attributes have to be inherent in you. But the fact remains that you can also train yourself to be one. Learning is all about being open to ideas, new thoughts and possibilities. It’s also about understanding that learning is not a one-way street. It’s a give and take and about accepting that there are times when you may not be altogether be right and a know-it-all.
There are several online training modules and self-learning sites that you can peruse. In addition to this, online training institutes provide training that will help you on your journey of becoming a successful business coach.
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