All forms of leadership and management positions require one to provide coaching to their team. Coaches will guide and support clients. A good coach does encompass many traits, but a great coach encompasses all the good traits that a coach needs. A coach needs to constantly work to develop these traits and implement them to become a great coach.
Being a great coach may not be the easiest thing, however, we need to always remember that nothing great comes to us easily!
Let’s take a look at some of the traits of a “great” coach:
The best coach is the one who plans out the tasks in an organised manner. Being organised is one of the single most important factors of being a great coach. Holding coaching schedules every single week in order to teach and interact with team or clients is extremely important. Giving the right guidance to your person being coached will help them deliver the best work at all times. Providing them with guidance can also help answer their questions and make instructions very clear to them. Sticking to a coaching schedule will help the employees develop in their work progressively. An organised and committed approach by the coach lets the team know that success is very important.
Coaching in some ways is not a lot different from raising wonderful children. Consistency is the key in no matter what you do, and that is the same for coaching. The person being coached should not be left confused because of the tons of ways the coach asks things to be done. Good coaching is mainly composed of four components – analysis, direction, feedback and monitoring. The best coach is the one that constantly checks up on the person being coached and monitors their work. This is one reason I prefer to coach weekly, not less frequently, such as a monthly session. They even analyse what has been accomplished by the person being coached and provide their honest and constructive feedback on it. A great coach will know how best to deliver this feedback; one that does not fit all. Different personality types need to be addressed.
Have participative feedback:
Don’t just give your feedback. Ask them about how they feel about their own work. Have they have done their best or could they do better? Coaching is often about asking the right questions. In this way, the coach is pretty much giving the person a chance to participate, while at the same time, coach themselves. As they say, have a “two-way dialogue, not a one-way monologue”. It does indeed become a lot more meaningful for the person being coached when they begin to analyse their own work. Also remember, of course, to provide positive feedback and help the person being coached to see what they have achieved; not just what still needs work. We need to celebrate our wins as we go.
The best coaches are the ones who are objective in providing the feedback. Eliminating any arbitrary or subjective matter when providing the feedback by stating the standards and procedures of the person’s work. The thing is, when you provide feedback based on standards then it is based on pre-determined components and not what the coach is thinking at that moment, emotion or feeling. This helps to make the feedback a lot more meaningful and much easier to apply in the work of the person being coached.
Being knowledgeable and having the skills:
The best coaches are the ones who are well aware of their products and services. They possess the skills that it requires for them to be a coach that can help out employees in times of need. This is important because being knowledgeable can greatly pave the path for success. The more the coach is aware, they are able to put forth better suggestions and modifications that will help benefit everyone.
Be flexible in the way you provide your coaching. As a coach, you need to understand that not all people you are coaching are the same. Every single one of them is unique from the other. You need to be able to train them on individual basis as well. You can’t treat all your people in the same way, nor can you give them all feedback in the same tone. For instance, if you have amiable employees, your feedback needs to be handled with more sensitivity, if you have analytical employees, you provide them with more structure in the feedback, and so on. Also be flexible on the service you are delivering. One client may need more work in one area than another; if you are doing individual work, customise it to the needs of the person.
Changing one’s behaviour may take time and even effort. While some people find it easier to adjust to change, others may find it challenging. A good coach needs to be aware of this and be patient in times like these – whilst still pushing them a little out of their comfort zone. Everyone makes mistakes or misunderstands what we say. A good coach needs to deal with them patiently and try their best to make concepts clear to them. If they didn’t understand the first time, then change how you are explaining it, or give a different (or many) examples to help them understand. We also have different experiences as well; making our understanding of things different too.
Be firm when needed:
A great coach is not a ‘yes person’ or says everything done is ‘great’. They need to be positive, but also to push a client to achieve more. They may have to play ‘devil’s advocate’ and challenge ideas or concepts. One example, I was coaching a new business owner, they said they would be employing their sister to do the bookkeeping because she needed a job. I asked questions such as whether the sister had bookkeeping skills. Would he be able to sack a family member if it didn’t work out? If that person came for interview and was not your sister, do you think you’d still employ her? I didn’t directly say it was a bad idea – but I asked questions. As it turns out, the sister had no bookkeeping skills, but make an exceptional Receptionist … a different plan was formed. Sometimes as a coach, we have to guide clients to make hard decisions, to take action which might not be pleasant, to work harder, to go beyond our comfort zone and yes, sometimes we have to have hard conversations with clients because they are not ‘towing the line’ or doing what they need to do in order to achieve desired results. A big part of coaching is holding clients accountable.
If you are a coach, trainer or leader then all these skills will help improve the service you provide. Remember as a coach, trainer or leader, you never stop learning yourself. Be always improving your skillset, learning more, growing your knowledge and expanding and improving your abilities.
I do business coaching for businesses and coaches, call me on 0411 622 666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org..au.