Updated: Jan 16, 2020
The more I study and the more I coach clients, the more I am tuned in to being a coach, which means being connected to the eleven core coaching competencies. Before every coaching session with one of my clients, I remind myself about the eleven core coaching competencies and bring them into the session with me. And the coaching mindset sticks with me far beyond the session. Hence, I believe that the more I coach, the easier it is for me to lead my life according to these coaching competencies. And this has a positive influence on me as a friend, as a partner, as a colleague, and as a daughter. I actually noticed that when I haven’t coached someone for a long time, that I am more likely to fall into negative patterns, e.g. not actually listening or not being empathetic enough.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not running around coaching my family, friends, and colleagues all the time without their permission. First of all, you don’t coach anyone without their permission. Furthermore, as a coach you need to be focused. You need to be fully focused on your client, you need to be focused on what your client is saying and sometimes not saying, you have to be focused on their body language too. And being focused takes energy. So being in 100% coaching mode 24/7 would just be too exhausting.
Having said this, even without being the coach all the time, you can still be more empathetic, be a better listener, and be more curious on a daily basis. Be honest with yourself: How often do you listen to someone but actually you are only waiting for the perfect moment to bring your opinion to the table, tell your story or to give unsolicited advice? How often do you dismiss someone’s feelings and just tell them to move one or to get over it? We all display this type of behaviour but it is not helpful if you want to build meaningful relationships.
As mentioned, there are eleven core coaching competencies. Below is a short overview. If you want to learn more click here:
In order to build stronger relationships with your friends, partner, family, colleagues, I invite you to have a closer look at these competencies. Pick a few and try it out and see what happens. I can promise you, only good things will happen.
The three coaching competencies to use in everyday life
The three coaching competencies that I think make a big difference in everyday life are mostly from the group "Communicating Effectively". And I am not surprised by this. Many studies have identified poor communication as one of the top reasons for relationship problems. Also in the workplace, poor communication can impact stress levels, deadlines, morale, health and the bottom line negatively.
(Coaching) Presence - Ability to be fully conscious and create spontaneous relationship with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible and confident:
Translated to a non-coaching situation this simply means: Be here, be present. Put away your phone and actually focus on the other person. So often while we may be physically present, we are mentally in another universe. Try to notice when your focus drifts away and bring it back to the conversation you are in. Being present in a conversation also means not to constantly assess the validity of what the other person is saying.
Active Listening - Ability to focus completely on what the client is saying and is not saying, to understand the meaning of what is said in the context of the client’s desires, and to support client self-expression:
The more present you are in a conversation the more actively you can listen. And listening does not only mean to listen to what the other person is saying but also to what is not being said. Try to notice the body language of the person you have a conversation with. Do you notice slouching, excessive fidgeting, crossed arms? Something else might be going on underneath the surface. Depending on how your relationship with the other person is, you can share your observations. It might actually help the other person to open up more and can take the whole conversation to another level. Questions you could be asking could be: "So what you are saying is that you feel this way?” or, “It sounds like you feel like this, am I correct?”. Empathize. Summarize. Don’t criticize.
Powerful Questioning - Ability to ask questions that reveal the information needed for maximum benefit to the coaching relationship and the client:
If you are present and listen actively you are able to ask questions that reflect active listening and an understanding of the other person's perspective. And people appreciate being listened to and being understood. Because it happens so rarely nowadays. Especially if there is a conflict, asks open-ended questions that create greater clarity. Don't just assume what the other person means by what they just said. If you are not sure, ask, be curious. By asking questions rather than telling you can actually help people to solve a problem or resolve conflict. No one likes to be told what to do and the patience for such behaviour has become less and less tolerable over the generations. Before you invest any more time in telling others what you want them to do, spend some time asking them what they think they should do.
So, for your next conversation, I invite you to be fully present in that conversation, listen actively and focus on asking rather than telling. Chances are very high that the other person is really enjoying the conversation with you. And this way you can strengthen any relationship by investing in the emotional bank account.