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What makes a great coach?

15th March 2015

Often, a well-phrased question is more powerful than instruction

Here are 5 Top Tips to sharpen your questioning skills when you coach

A good coach aims to help people understand, not make them understand. In coaching, the most important decision is when to direct and when to ask a question.

Many managers are programmes in to ‘telling’ others what to do and often, how to do it.

However as a coach, it’s important to have a broader range of approaches in your tool kit bag.

Often, a well-phrased question is far more powerful than instruction.

Use these top 5 tips to structure your coaching and sharpen your questioning skills. Maybe elements of  these tips are used by the likes of Mourinho and Ancelotti when they coach their teams! http://www.leadersinsport.com/insight/business/9/carlo-ancelotti/

  1. Them NOT you

The key to success is to realise that effective coaching is NOT simply about the coach passing on their knowledge – it’s also about the learner getting involved.

‘Telling’ may be the quickest and easiest option but by asking questions and encouraging the learner to ‘get their hands dirty’ is certainly the most successful.

An effective coach seeks to PULL ideas and information not PUSH them in.

Remember in the long run, spoon-feeding people teaches them nothing but the shape of the spoon.

  1. G=GOAL

Firstly, take time to fully explore exactly WHAT the learner is trying to achieve.

Check the realism of their goal. If what they are trying to achieve is beyond their capabilities, or outside any available budgets, then help them to think again about a more realistic target.

You may have to work hard here to continue to motivate the individual.

Make sure the coaching objectives are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.

  1. Goal questions

Take time to fully explore exactly WHAT the learner is trying to achieve:-

  • What would you like to discuss?
  • What would you like to achieve in this course?
  • What would you like to be different when we finish this course?
  • What would you like to happen that is not happening now? OR
  • What would you like not to happen that is happening now?
  • What outcome would you like not to happen that is happening now?
  • What outcome would you like from this discussion?
  • Is that realistic?
  • Can we achieve that in the time we have available?
  1. R=Reality

Next, check exactly WHERE the learner is at present in relation to their goals or objectives.

Be prepared to challenge and give feedback where necessary here.

Some people’s grasp of reality in relation to where they are with an objective is suspect!

Some people actually need to be told that they may not be as far ahead as they think they are. Having said that, many people are actually further ahead than they think.

The trick here is not to tell them outright where specifically they are, but rather to use questions to guide them to realise this for themselves!

  1. Reality Questions

Check exactly WHERE the learner is at present in relation to their goals and objectives:-

  • What is happening at the moment?
  • How do you feel about this?
  • How do you know this is accurate?
  • When does this happen?
  • How often does this happen? – be precise if possible
  • What effect does this have – on you/on others?
  • What other factors are relevant?
  • Who else is relevant?
  • What is their perception of the situation?
  • What have you considered so far?
  • What have you actually tried so far?

For the rest of the Top Tips for questioning skills to use when coaching staff, visit:-

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