COACHING TECHNIQUES 101 – CREATING ACTION
Four Basic Core Coaching Techniques all Professional Coaches Use.
The major difference between "lay coaches" or "hobby coaches" and "professional coaches" is the professional coach has taken time to learn a structure and develop a library of coaching techniques. This structure will often involve dozens of different coaching techniques that they use strategically to depending on the clients issues and personality.
Most of us have heard the phrase, “knowledge is power.” Do you agree? Or possibly, you think there is more to it? In general, memes or quotes have some truth, but also are rarely the complete picture. Let’s face it, there are lots of smart people even brilliant people with loads of talent, but what can be sadly missing, is the ability to harness this brilliance, into creating something more.
While I do not have statistics, I would say the number one reason people hire coaches is for help in creating clarity and action. One of the phrases life coaches often hear from new clients is, “I know what to do, but I don’t do it”.
So here we are, with a new person who has contracted for our life coaching or executive coaching services; what do we do now? Often new clients are at a critical juncture of wanting a goal and may even understand the process, but lacking the knowledge of how to put it together. Some clients may also only have a faint idea of what they want, or possibly only know, they are just not satisfied with where they are.
While professional coaches have many effective coaching techniques, here are just a few coaching techniques that have proven to be very effective.
The different forms of Life Visioning, are coaching techniques most all coaches carry in their toolkit. Depending on the client and the issue, a Life coach might begin their work with a client by having their client engage in a life visioning exercise. This process is especially useful for the clients who are struggling finding direction; however this method is also great for getting an overall life view when starting with a new client.
Life Visioning has multiple approaches, but one process has the client journal or speak about envisioning themselves as elderly, happy and healthy and reflecting back on their life and all they accomplished. The client writes down or talks about everything he or she hopes to achieve in their life. This type of visioning gives the coach and client a bigger perspective of the client’s specific goals they want to achieve during their most productive years. It also helps the client to identify what values are important to them.
Another way to do the visioning exercise is to have the client journal their thoughts about where they want to be ten years from now. The client then works in reverse, from 10 years to 5 years, then to one year, then to perhaps 3-6 months and finally to present day. This type of exercise helps the client clarify what they need to do in the present moment to reach a goal that is important to them in the future.
As you can now understand, coaching techniques or coaching skills such as Life Visioning are used to create clarity and inspiration; from a long view and even a short time frame.
Another one of the essential coaching techniques that often are accomplished before the first session is an assessment. A professional life or executive coach will have conducted a detailed evaluation of a client before contracting to work with him or her. This assessment, among other things, will reveal much about the client’s values and priorities as well as the client’s passions or what “excites” and “energizes” them. The purpose of this initial assessment would be to confirm the client’s expectations from the coach and the coach being able to determine if this client is a good match for their skills or coaching style. Not every coach is the same, just like not every client is the same.
A professional coach would want to assure that they have the right ingredients for a good coach-client relationship.
Considering all the various coaching techniques available, all professional coaches will have some variation of a coaching plan. For some coaches this means every week, a client would complete a coaching plan that includes the client’s accomplishments and challenges from the previous week, along with any area or subject the client wishes to focus on during their upcoming session.
Coaching sessions should be client-driven with the coach serving as a guide. Having a client-driven coaching plan in place before the beginning of each session, is helpful and clarifying for both client and coach. It is a valuable resource in the coaching session as it helps track the client’s progress towards the goals the client has set. Moreover, it serves as a review of what the client has been able to accomplish since the previous coaching session. The coaching plan review might reveal the client needs to get “unstuck”, or may need to understand obstacles more clearly or even may need to learn new strategies (or tweak already established ones) to move forward.
Of all the effective coaching techniques and skills, creating an action plan is critical. Without this, coaching easily turns into nothing more than a nice chat. Think of it this way, clients come to you and pay you because they are not achieving what they want. If you cannot meet this expectation and use your coaching skills to help the person get closer to their goals, a coaching relationship will not last very long.
To quote famous Life Coach and Motivational Speaker, Tony Robbins, “If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.”
So translated, clients hire coaches because they tire of doing what they do and keep getting the same thing over and over.
While we have several coaching techniques in creating an action plan, these six steps are the major components.
Step 1: Clarify the action step: i.e. Go to the gym more often, write on my blog, take time for myself, etc
Step 2: Quantify success, i.e. How often? : 4 times this week
Step 3: Duration: i.e. For one hour at each session
Step 4: Outcome: i.e. What do you want to accomplish at each session?
Step 5: Specific: i.e. What days? When do you start?
Step 6: Accountability: i.e. How are you going to stay accountable?
Knowledge is indeed power, but knowledge alone doesn’t help anyone achieve a goal. By using some of the professional coaching techniques discussed above, a coach helps a client transform knowledge into action which is going to get a client closer to their goals and ultimate success in life.