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How To Capture Moments For Coaching Outside Official Coaching Sessions

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We’ve written before about importance of listening as a tool for great leaders and it is always good to recall the oft repeated phrase about having two ears and one mouth and using them proportionally.

Coaching others isn’t always easy. Daily pressures, expectations along with life and career demands often overtake our work, leaving limited time and energy to focus on coaching.

It’s true that whilst time for formal coaching sessions may be limited, there are conversations and coaching moments that can fit into day to day life that lead to a greater long term coaching environment.

To increase the opportunities for these moments mentioned above, you must pay attention to the cues others are sending.

Active Listening is a technique that allow people to identify problems and find solutions in a less pressured manner. Cues that someone is open to coaching include: “Can you help me think things through?” or “I’d like to bounce some ideas off of you.” or “Could you give me a reality check?” or “I need some help.”

In these moments these are 3 of the best active listening tips that can help turn a typical conversation into a coaching opportunity:

Open-ended questions. These encourage the coachee to do the work of self-reflection and problem solving, which reduces the knee jerk reactions of justification, defending a position, or trying to guess the “right answer.” Great examples include: “What do you think about …?” or “Tell me about …?” and “Great point, could you expand on that..?”

Paraphrase. Recap the coachee’s key points periodically. Don’t assume that you understand correctly, or that the coachee knows you’ve heard. By revisiting points throughout a conversation allows for break points to expand, explain and show a deeper level of interest in the topic.

For example, your coachee might tell you, “Karen is so supportive of her people which is great. But, no matter how much I push, her team keeps missing deadlines.” To paraphrase, you could say, “So Karen’s people skills are great, but accountability is a problem.”

Be attuned to and reflect feelings. With active listening, you’ll be able to identify the feeling message that accompanies the content. This is an effective way to get to the core of the issue.

When you hear, “I don’t know what else to do!” or “I’m tired of bailing the team out at the last minute,” try to help the coachee label his or her feelings rather than simply empathising with them, this is an opportunity to dig deeper: “Sounds like you’re feeling pretty frustrated and stuck. How do you think you could help yourself move forward through that?”

Having a robust plan for listening is vital, not only in terms of pre-planned coaching sessions, but as a whole in management. These in the moment conversations being handled in a productive manner will lead to much more effective planned coaching and in turn allow team members to feel that development is a ongoing conversation rather than a series of tick boxes.

As always, we would love to know your thoughts on this, by all means let us know over on social media, you can find us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Let’s discuss how we can support your organisation in to becoming an active listening organisation. Please contact Katy.hebblewhite@xenonex.co.uk (PA to Suzanna Prout, MD)