by Doug Upchurch
In yesterday’s Advisor, Doug Upchurch, learning innovation strategist for Insights Learning and Development, discussed how good leaders can get results by honing their coaching skills. Today, Upchurch presents two final recommendations to keep in mind when developing these skills.
Practice Recognizing and Reading Your Coaching Recipient’s Style
It is incumbent on the coach to assess the person in front of them and to make adjustments in order to create the best coaching experience possible. This involves watching carefully to assess who you’re working with and recognizing his or her preferred interpersonal style. Being able to read people in this way will help managers save time by not using unsuccessful coaching approaches.
Skilled coaches should be asking themselves questions like, “Is the coaching recipient introverted, extroverted, or somewhere in between?” “Does the person speak to think, or is he or she more comfortable with solo thinking time?” “Does the person take his or her time to bond over personal chat, or does the person want to get straight to the point?” The answers to these questions will help coaches know who they are working with and will enable them to tailor their approach accordingly.
Adapt Your Personal Style to Connect During Coaching Conversations
Whatever it is that you observe of your coaching recipient’s style, establishing a good working relationship means adapting your own style in order to better connect with theirs.
For example, you might:
- Set aside an extra 5 minutes to talk about your weekend with a coaching recipient who values the personal as well as the professional—even if you’d prefer to get straight to business;
- Send some thoughtful questions in advance to a coaching recipient who hates to be put on the spot—even though you might be more comfortable talking things out in the moment;
- Give your coaching recipient responsibility for arranging your sessions if he or she needs help with organizational skills or time management, despite your assumption that you should be in control; and
- Set—and stick to—an agenda for your coaching session if your coaching recipient loves order, even if you’d be happy to freestyle it.
It is not a far journey for a good leader to become a great coach, but it is a journey that requires intention and dedication. Although the investment in others can seem overwhelming, especially with all of the other looming pressures and responsibilities that are required of leaders, it’s important to remember that coaching can have an immediate impact and can enable endless results. All it takes is an understanding of self, an understanding of others, and the ability to adapt your style to meet the needs of those you are coaching.