Last week, I provided information on, the Case for Coaching, discussed a core coaching skill (Listening) and assigned the readers with homework. This week, while I wait for the assignments, I will discuss two other coaching skills, encouraging and questioning.
It is important to note that, Coaching Skills such as listening and the two mentioned above, apply to both our personal and professional lives. I'm not suggesting these skills are totally applicable at a "social gathering", but when you have something you would like to say to someone or they want to talk to you, these skills apply.
Examples at work range from, discussing job duties, having career discussions with staff and/or general chit chats, all of which enhance relationships and keep employees engaged.Personal examples include, anything in our personal lives that are causing some concern or maybe something that we just want to share our opinions and/or thoughts about, such as, kids, buying a new house, changing jobs, problems at work, moving and financial issues, to name a few. Let's face facts, a conversation is more enjoyable if one feels they have been listened to and heard. If the listener is not interested, the speaker gets frustrated and will voice that frustration or "shut down".
What helps listening? Answer - Encouraging and Questioning.
Encouraging - " To inspire with courage, spirit or hope, to spur on, to give help". This can happen if you don't interrupt and tell me about your world, at least not right away. We all like to receive encouragement and acknowledgement, which is seldom received. Examples of how to encourage are, "Yes you can do it, you were successful the last time", "your plan looks good ,what else to you need", "sounds like you got a good handle on this". Encouraging during a conversation can do several things.1) Acknowledges them and their effort.2) Makes the person more comfortable in sharing information.3) Empowers people, often getting them to do more.4) Builds trust and relationships.
Questioning is a critical coaching skill, as it demonstrates we are listening and engaged in the conversation. Depending on the situation, questioning may become intrusive. When this happens, boundaries need to be realized or established (another great topic). When you think about it, questions are used for all sorts of reasons, not just to find out information. We use them to make a point, express interest, gain knowledge and provide support.
Great questions include, but are not limited to the following: What's going well, what do you need, what's happening? What is getting in your way? If this situation would disappear, what would open up for you? What do you need to focus on, what is the first step, what are the options? What would resolve this? What's the worse thing that could happen, worse case scenario?
Questions keep both the speaker and listener focused on the topic. Sometimes a follow-up conversation and /or development of an action plan maybe required, especially in the workplace. With little or no interruptions meaningful conversations can happen, if are patient and use the skills. Who knows--- you might even learn something.
REMEMBER TELLING INSULTS INTELLIGENCE, ASKING ENHANCES IT.
Be a good listener, but don't be STEPPED ON, by letting others dominate the discussions each time you talk. You know what I'M TALKING ABOUT. To refresh your memory, I will share a story. Two people commuted to work together. One day Person A said, that he may start driving alone, because Person B talked the entire commute, both ways. You know the routine, if Person A's dad was tough, Person B's dad was tougher.
Next week I'll respond to your comments on listening and then move to a different arena."Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow"-- PLATOPlease send suggestions and comments to, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. All mail is kept confidential.