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5 ways to develop your coaching skills (and your relationships)

Coaching skills are not solely for people who have trained in coaching and call themselves a 'coach'. Coaching skills are a valuable life skill that can benefit everyone, regardless of their profession or role.

When you master your coaching skills, you become a better manager, partner, friend and parent. In essence, mastering coaching skills enhances your ability to inspire, motivate, and support others in achieving their full potential across different roles and relationships.

Coaching skills stand for empowerment, growth, and mutual respect, creating more fulfilling and meaningful connections both personally and professionally.

Essentially, self-awareness and coaching skills are interdependent, with each reinforcing and complementing the other. By cultivating self-awareness, you enhance your ability to connect with others, facilitate growth and development, and inspire positive change both within yourself and the people around you.

If you are looking to develop your coaching skills, I would suggest a combination of knowledge, practice and reflection to get you started. Here are five suggestion you can develop to enhance your personal and professional relationships (as well as the relationship with yourself):

  1. Develop your knowledge: Find out more about what coaching skills are and why they are highly valuable for your relationships. You could invest in some formal training, but also seek out information in other places too - the International Coach Federation is one place to start as well as books such as The Coaching Manual by Julie Starr. Get curious about the conversation around coaching topics such as active listening, powerful questioning, goal setting, feedback delivery and psychological safety. You could also look out for opportunities to learn from experienced coaches and industry experts - LinkedIn is a great place to start with that. There are podcasts that are helpful in this area too - Squiggly Careers, The Coaching Crowd Podcast or the Association for Coaching podcast.

  2. Practice listening: A fundamental when it comes to coaching, but also for having great relationships - listening. You may think you do this well, but active listening isn't just about hearing. It's about listening attentively to understand not only what is being said but also the underlying emotions, concerns, and motivations that are being said (and not said). Avoid interrupting and refrain from formulating responses prematurely. Strive to create a supportive and non-judgmental environment where people feel really heard and valued. Practice with friends, family and colleagues. Try embracing silences rather than trying to fill them and see what you notice. It's easier said than done.

  3. Ask for feedback: Solicit feedback from those around you (from people you trust), to gain insights into your communication skills and potential areas for improvement. You might share that you're working to develop your coaching skills and seek feedback on your communication and listening skills, empathy, rapport-building, and overall get a sense as to how others feel in your company. Embrace feedback as an opportunity for growth and be open to making adjustments based on the input you receive.

  4. See questions as a tool: We don't tend to view questions as a tool, but they are a powerful part of your coaching toolkit, and once you begin to see questions in that way, there is no end to your potential impact. A thoughtful, open and well-timed question can help unlock someone's thinking, make them feel heard and seen and support them in finding new perspectives.

  5. Continue to reflect: Cultivate a habit of self-reflection to evaluate your interactions on a regular basis. You might take time to assess what worked well, what could have been done differently, and what lessons you can apply following a conversation with a colleague, your line manager or a friend. Consider keeping a journal to document your insights, challenges, and strategies for improvement. This is a great way to build self-awareness and learn new things about yourself and your relationships.

By committing to continuous learning, active listening, feedback, asking questions, and reflective practice, you can steadily enhance your coaching skills and make a positive impact on the development and success of all your relationships.

How have you found these suggestions? Do let me know if you've incorporated these and any reflections.

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Gemma Brown Coaching

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