Our second coaching skill is Feedback. We have talked previously about the different types of feedback and how to deliver them. As we go through the coaching skills you will start to see how these skills are being used in the feedback model we discussed.
Often a coaching session between manager and subordinate, of whatever length, will begin based on some feedback. This may be positive feedback about a strength you have noticed which you would like the individual to develop further, or negative feedback about an area that needs improvement.
And, during a coaching conversation, there is another type of feedback. That is clearly and accurately reflecting back to the person you are coaching, things that you have heard. It is rather like being a perfect mirror. A simple accurate reflection with NO distortion.
When you listen carefully to people speaking, you will often hear them state two apparently contradictory opinions in a short space of time. And they will not be aware they have done so. This often accounts for people feeling stuck with a problem or situation and unable to find a way forward. They simply hold two conflicting beliefs about the same thing. Progress is impossible without resolution of the conflict.
Resolving the conflict is straight forward. Once they see the conflict, they will naturally resolve it. Your job a s the coach is to have listened carefully, and held up the mirror so that they can see the inconsistency in what they said. You don’t even need to tell them there is an inconsistency. They will hear it for themselves.
This bring us to the third skill, listening. For me this is THE most important one. In life, no-one really listens to anyone. We hear them, sometimes, and stuff is busily going on in our heads, and when that happens, your ears shut down!
When you learn to really listen, you hear beyond the words, to what is not being said. You will hear the beliefs that are shaping people’s behavior behind the words. You can see with amazingly clarity the judgments they hold and what their perceptions of the world are.
This skill gives you the information to be able to play back to them and ask the really powerful questions that will make them think and help them find new perception, ideas and ways forward.
Active listening, is the most commonly taught approach. It is certainly better than not listening, yet it does have some drawbacks.
Join us for the next session as we look at a deeper level of listening and questioning techniques.
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