When we talk about curious listening, we're talking about conveying a genuine interest in what others are saying. An important and effective coaching strategy that leaders should use is adaptive communication. This means knowing when to take an active or direct approach, and when to back off and let the coach take the initiative. Communication is the most versatile coaching and leadership skill you have at your disposal.
Passive communication, such as listening and asking questions, helps coaches understand concerns and receive information. Active communication is used to move processes forward and provide feedback. For a leader to develop coaching skills, they must first learn to listen. Listening to what someone is saying is different from actually hearing.
For organizational development to be successful, a coach must be able to hear what the current issues are and then use this information to design a strategy. Being an active listener is also part of building trust. Listening is only part of the training process. The culture of coaching also requires communication skills.
To develop employees and improve performance, the coach and leader must be able to communicate with staff. Some skills, such as empathy, curiosity, and intuition, are natural abilities or will increase with experience and practice as a coach, others can be learned. Training skills for managers to help team performance and improve the company's own operations. As a result of listening, a good coach is able to go beyond what is actually being said and begin to notice what is not being said.
To train leaders as coaches, it's important for a person to first understand the skills that make a coach effective. Evaluation tools, such as the Hogan 360 Report, are often used before starting executive coaching programs to provide a clear indication of the areas in which the participant needs to improve the most. It's also a perfect way to check if the client is happy with the advice or if there's anything she wants to be different in the next session. A coach helps clients achieve a specific goal or find solutions to the situation they are in.
The first important coaching skill you should have is the ability to obtain clear, achievable, well-defined, and motivating goals from your clients. Incorporating coaching skills into other leadership styles can have a very positive impact on people in a company. Many coaches feel that it takes a lot of time and effort to “unlearn” the tendency to give instructions or advice, which so often underlies many functions (whether at work or at home), but that time and effort are essential. Well-posed, clear and concise questions encourage the coach to go deeper to find the answers that will help him move forward.
As a leader or executive in today's volatile and changing business landscape, you play a vital role in employee development and you'll also need coaching skills. This is more of a habit than a coaching skill, but it guarantees that you will always offer powerful, high-quality coaching to each of your clients. I'll cover each of these 5 basic training skills in more detail in future posts, but for now, here's that list again with a little explanation.