A coaching skills assessment can help a coach identify a weak coaching skill and improve the skill. By knowing where you are at today and how you are going to improve your coaching skills, you can develop an effective coaching process or practice.
Coaching Skills Assessment & Checklist
Perhaps you are new to the concept of coaching, or maybe you are a seasoned pro. Either way, the following skills are some of the core competencies that you need to build a culture of good coaching and include in your coaching skills assessments. Occasionally have a self-assessment and work on any areas that you have identified as needing improvement.
- Active Listening
The most powerful form of listening in coaching is active listening. Coaches who practice active listening take in the entire message of the client and then confirm their understanding and let the client know they are listening. Active listeners go beyond the words and take cues from feelings as well. Among the common habits of active listeners are:
- Never interrupt the client while they are speaking and give the speaker their full attention instead.
- Show patience and empathy.
- Practice good use of eye contact and body language to show the speaker that they are interested and listening.
- Encourage the client to talk more by providing verbal feedback and gestures.
- Acknowledge the emotions expressed with the message.
- Never process the information they are getting while the client is still speaking.
- Ask open and closed questions.
- Listen to the speaker’s concerns about the progress and direction of their work or life.
- Learn what is motivating for the client.
- Step out of the “expert” role and truly listen, just to understand your client’s perspective.
- Provide Positive and Corrective Feedback
Feedback should be looked at as one part of a bigger process in coaching. Sometimes the simple act of raising someone’s awareness about an issue is all you need to do to improve performance. If, by giving feedback, you’ve brought something to your client’s attention that they hadn’t realized was happening, resolving the issue might simply be a matter of them watching out for a negative behavior until they’ve replaced it with a good one.
For feedback to be credible, it has to be stated in a way that a neutral observer would have stated it, not as a frustrated coach who’s fed up with broken promises or missed deadlines. The aim in giving feedback is to help, so you need to remember that it’s not about making your client feel bad but about starting a useful and positive conversation about how to improve. Always remember that the focus is on what they need to know to improve their performance, not on how you feel.
No matter how detached and objective you’ve tried to be in your observations, you’re giving only your perspective and you need to stay open to alternative perspectives that may be equally valid.
- Creating Awareness
As a coach, you must possess the ability to integrate, accurately assess and interpret various information to help your client gain awareness and achieve agreed-upon results. This can be done by doing the following:
- Invoking inquiry for greater understanding, awareness, and clarity. For example, identifying differences between the facts and the interpretation and distinguishing between trivial and significant issues, situational vs. recurring behaviors.
- Identifying major strengths, important areas for learning and growth, and what is most important to address during coaching.
- Identifying for the client his/her underlying concerns, typical and fixed ways of perceiving, and disparities between thoughts, feelings, and action.
- Helping clients to see the different, interconnected factors that affect them and their behaviors, and discover for themselves the new beliefs, perceptions, emotions, etc., that allow them to take action and achieve what is important to them.
- Development Planning
Regardless of the resource or training you take, find a coaching development plan that you can consistently apply at work. A proven model will equip you to apply consistent coaching actions that make you and your clients more effective. Your ability to recognize different situations and apply a model that is situational will give you the tools you need to get the best outcome. Here is how you can fine tune your coaching development plan:
- Review and discuss a client’s written professional or personal development plan and goals.
- Discuss expectations (yours and theirs) regarding coaching development planning.
- Check-in with clients about their progress on development goals/initiatives.
- Provide motivational support for clients to pursue more learning.
Development of coaching skills does not happen by accident and by having a coaching skills assessment, you can develop a range of skills, including your understanding of new coaching techniques, your ability to teach concepts and skills, and your ability to establish positive relationships.
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Writer, Coaches Training Blog community