Can Anyone Develop Coaching Skills?

By admin / April 18, 2011
By: Louise Yates
Category: Coaching

You may be contemplating becoming a coach and wondering whether you have the right skills and qualities to become one.

There are both skills and qualities that are essential to being a great coach and let’s distinguish between the two. Skills are something that we learn to do whilst qualities or personal attributes are part of our personality. So if we apply this to coaching, in theory not everyone will necessarily have the personality that will either make us the best coach or allow us to enjoy it but most people if they have the desire will have the capability to develop the right skills.

One of the key skills is the ability to building rapport with your clients. If you cannot build rapport you cannot develop a relationship of trust and openness so crucial to coaching. A client needs to feel deep enough rapport with their coach to be able to create a climate of mutual respect and to be able to open up.

A key skill associated with rapport is that of listening. People tend to be branded either ‘a good listener’ or ‘a bad listener’ but again this is a skill that can be developed. A coach should not only be able to listen to the words their client is saying but also pick up on their feelings, emotions and what is not being said. They need to be able to listen intuitively. If a coach cannot listen at the deepest level they will not be able to help their clients understand what is really going on for them and are likely to only work at a superficial level.

Another skill is the ability to ask really powerful questions that will help a client raise their self-awareness, gain clarity about their situation, make sense of the options they have open to them and to challenge their current thinking. Most people’s default is to ask closed or leading questions, however good coaches will ask open questions that really get the client thinking for themselves. Most experienced coaches will tell you that a bank of great skills are developed over time with experience.

The ability to challenge is also an important skill. A coach should follow their intuition and say what needs to be said. This may involve challenging the client where there are inconsistencies or where you are picking up something that the client is not saying. And if coaching is about really helping clients to change coaches should also be able to challenge in the sense of calling forth their client to really stretch themselves and step outside their comfort zones.

A good coach should also learn to reflect. Coaching itself is about helping a client to reflect so a coach needs to be a role model for this skill. In order to develop competence in all of the skills mentioned above a great coach will reflect upon their own ability after each coaching, what went well, what questions worked, how could they have been more effective, what should they do next time etc etc.

In summary skills can be developed if there is the desire is there. All great coaches not only undergo initial training they will take time out to reflect on their own competence and continually invest both time and money in their own personal development to grow to be the best coach they can be.

Louise Yates specializes in performance coaching for business leaders. She has also written about active listening techniques and other essential coaching skills.

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