Coaching encounters are all around us. Wherever there are people facing challenges, who are receptive to change or a new perspective on their situation, there is the potential to impact a life with coaching encounters. Here are some tips to help you generate more coaching encounters in your everyday life:
1. Believe in Yourself! If you’ve been trained as a coach, you have some valuable skills that people all around you need. Believe that you have something significant to offer, so you don’t shy away when an opportunity for coaching encounters presents itself.
2. Ask Deeply. Cultivate the discipline of asking significant questions in every conversation. Books like Asking Profound Questions or Leadership Coaching have great lists of conversation starters you can learn to use daily in your coaching encounters. It is much easier to generate coaching encounters when you are asking about people’s dreams or challenges than if you are discussing that horrible call last night in the Bears game.
3. Show Genuine Interest. Most people rarely have anyone really listen to their heart. So often in life, people listen to us only to hear the things that pertain to them (level one listening, as described in Co-Active Coaching), or they are just waiting for us to pause so they can start talking about themselves. People who are really interested in us, in who we are and what is going on in our lives, are pretty rare. Don’t lose sight of how transformational it is to just listen!
4. Demonstrate, Don’t Tell. If the conversation does get around to coaching and the person is interested in what it is, I like to offer a coaching encounter: “Well, I could tell you what coaching is, but you’ll get a much better picture if I show you. Would you like to be coached for a few minutes so you can experience first-hand what it is like?” If they agree, I ask them to share a challenge they are facing and we are off and running!
5. Network Significantly. Depending on what you do, you may meet a lot of people in the course of your work or life that you network with. Learn to network at a significant level. If you have 10 minutes to get to know someone, cultivate the skill of getting to know who they really are instead of just what they do. I like to start those conversations by saying, “If you were going to give me a picture of who you are in three or four minutes, what would you say?” Then I answer the question first (so that I am the one taking the risk to open up) by talking about an event or two that really shaped who I am.
6. Reframe. Changing perspective is a technique that you can do in a few minutes. You can help people switch over to a growth perspective with a question like this: “Let’s say for the sake of argument that God custom designed this situation for your growth—that this is exactly the challenge you need to move to the next level. If that were true, what would you say God is doing through this?” A number of similar reframing techniques are demonstrated on the Powerful Questions: Changing Perspective CD.
Coaching encounters are a great way to get more practice as a coach, introduce coaching to those around you, and impact a few lives on a deep level.
Tony Stoltzfus is a best-selling author, leadership coach, master coach trainer and executive director of the Leadership Metaformation Institute. For more information on Tony’s best-selling coaching books, go to www.coach22.com