Coaching skills; the new normal?

Once upon a time only professional coaches needed to learn coaching skills. And they are still the real experts in the field, with more profound coaching skills than most of us will ever need. However, some basic coaching skills are starting to feel like a necessary part of any continuous professional development for anyone who impacts anyone, in any kind of organisation.

Why learn to coach?

We believe that if you truly want to lead your people, you have to “consult” them – include them in the generation of solutions and decisions about how you will move forward together. This is how things are now. The most respectful way to lead is by taking a consultative and collaborative approach…a coaching approach. 

What is the coaching approach?

There is a certain respect and a sense of “I value you, that’s why I’m asking you this…” in the coaching approach. It sure beats giving advice; telling people what YOU think they should do is surely the quickest and easiest way to disengage people.

And you can take a coaching approach to any conversation; whether it’s with your direct report, a loved one, or even upward, with your own boss. For this reason, coaching skills can be invaluable to a wide range of people, and it’s that range of people that we increasingly see in our coach training program, especially at Level One.

What if you aren’t a leader?

If you are a ‘sole trader’ of some kind and don’t have ‘reports’, you might think you don’t need to take a coaching approach, necessarily. But your clients would probably appreciate you telling them what to do less, and actually asking challenging questions that enable them to think differently and empower them to act on those new thoughts. A great coach ‘holds the mirror up’ to their clients so that they can clearly see what might have previously been blind spots, and can then take action to create significant and sustainable change in their lives. 

Hang on, you say you want to give advice?

Maybe your business model is based on adding value by giving advice? Fair enough. Perhaps you are a consultant, or a subject matter expert or even a mentor (you’ve been there and done that and earned the right to advise others). That’s all good.  You can still take a coaching approach in these roles. And if you are a coach you will rarely advise…simply ask truly great questions. That means you don’t have to be a subject matter expert (in the 37 different industries that your clients work in – phew!). You do have to be an expert coach, however. Here’s how you can learn those skills with IECL. Our classrooms are full of leaders, managers, L&D and HR professionals, educators and consultants all wanting to learn how to take a coaching approach in their workplace.

IECL teaches an organisational coaching accreditation over three levels. Our program is blended for optimum flexibility and our online Academy has recently been awarded Best Social/Collaborative Learning and also a Highly Commended for Best Implementation of a Blended Learning Solution by the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD).

By Mandy Geddes
Mandy is IECL’s General Manager, Education and has been a key member of our team since 2002. She manages IECL coach trainings and our Alumni program of continuous professional development throughout the APAC region. She has been instrumental in developing (and now maintaining) our ICF accredited status.