Coaching Skills for Leaders

Skills to Catapult your Coaching 

Challenging   Challenging involves requesting that a client stretch way beyond his or her self-imposed limits. Frequently, in the face of a challenge, clients will respond with a counteroffer that is greater than they initially would have allowed themselves to make otherwise.

A client needs to make cold calls to increase business. He thinks he can make only one call a day. You challenge him.

“I challenge you to make ten calls a day!” The client counteroffers with “I’ll make seven.”

Clearing         Clearing is a skill that is both a benefit to the client and to the coach. When the client is preoccupied with a situation or a mental state that interferes with his or her ability to be present or take action, the coach assists the client by being an active listener while he or she vents or complains. This active listening allows the client to temporarily clear the situation out of the way and focus on taking the next step. When a coach gets hooked by a client interaction or is preoccupied with issues that do not pertain to the client, the coach can clear. The coach clears by sharing his or her experience or preoccupation with a colleague or a friend in order to show up and fully be present with the client.


Dancing in the moment      Dancing in the moment means being completely present with your client, holding your client’s agenda, accessing your intuition, letting your client lead you. When you dance in the moment, you are open to whatever steps your client takes and are willing to go in the client’s direction and flow.


Failure           Failure is the lack of achievement of a goal or activity to which one committed oneself. Failure is often confused with being wrong, morally shameful and being bad. To fail merely means that you did not succeed at what you set out to do. It is an opportunity for reflection and correction that can then forward the action toward success.


Forwarding the action       This skill utilizes all other coaching skills, with an added emphasis on moving the client forward. It may be though use of a request or powerful question. It may be through bottom-lining so that something gets done during the session. Forwarding the action may occur through bringing the client back to the focus of their goal, or through re-framing something in such a way that the client is free to take action. Acknowledging a client can also forward action. The most powerful forwarding the action occurs when a coach has the client DO IT NOW during the coaching session. This provides immediate support and immediate celebration once the action is taken.


Goals  A goal is an outcome that the client would like to achieve. Goals are most helpful when they are measurable, specific, are owned by the client, have a date by which they will be accomplished, made public (in order to achieve support and accountability) and constitute a reasonable stretch for the client.


Gremlin         The Gremlin is a concept developed by Richard Carson that embodies a group of thought processes and feeling that maintains the status quo in our lives. Often operating as a structure that would seem to protect us, it in fact keeps us from moving forward and getting what we truly want in life. Like our minds, the Gremlin will always be with us. It is neither good nor bad; it just is. The Gremlin loses its power over us when we can identify it for what it is, notice our options in the situation and then consciously choose what it is we do really want at that time.


Homework Inquiry            When a powerful question is given at the end of the session, it is intended to deepen the client’s learning and provoke further reflection. The intention is for the client to consider the inquiry between sessions and the see what occurs for them. The inquiry is usually based upon a particular situation that the client is currently addressing.

“What are you tolerating?”

            “What is it to be undaunted?”

            “What is challenge?”


Intrude/Take Charge          On occasion, the coach may need to intrude, to interrupt or wake-up a client who is going on and on or who is kidding themselves. Sometimes the intrusion is a hard truth such as “You are kidding yourself.” Sometimes the intrusion is simply stating what is going on, such as “You are skirting the issue.” Intrusion is considered rude in American society. The Coaches Training Institute views intrusion as being direct with the client, allowing the client to honestly assess and immediately deal with situations.


Life Purpose Life Purpose is about why you are here on the planet. Who is it that you are moved to be and what is it you are moved to create? It is an essence statement that serves as a reminder of who you are and the impact that you naturally create in the world. When you are living your purpose, life is experienced as fulfilling, effortless and satisfying. When you are disregarding your life purpose, life is often felt to be empty, anguished and unfulfilling.


Planning and Goal Setting  The coach helps the client articulate the direction that they wish to go and actively monitors the progress made by the client. Clients can frequently benefit from support in planning and time management as coaches help them develop their skills in these areas.


Requesting    One of the most potent coaching skills is that of making a request of the client. The request, based upon the client’s agenda, is designed to forward the client’s action. The request includes a specific action, conditions of satisfaction and a date or time by which it will be done. There are four possible responses to a request, 1) Yes, 2) No, 3) A counter-offer or 4) agree to a future time that a response will be given.


Self-management     The ability of the coach to become invisible in the service of holding the client’s agenda. This means to put aside all opinions, preferences, judgments and beliefs in order to reflect and support the client’s agenda. Another facet of self-management includes managing the client’s Gremlin. The coach can aid the client in identifying the Gremlin and then providing tools that the client can use in managing their Gremlin. Clearing is also a tool for coach or client self-management.


Structures     Structures are devices that remind the client of their vision, goals, purpose or actions that they need to immediately take. Some examples of structures are collages, calendars, messages on voice mail, alarm clocks, etc.


Values                        Values represent who you are right now. They are principles that you hold to be of worth in your life. People often confuse values with morals. Values are not chosen. They are intrinsic to you.


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