December 14, 2013

Coaching for Success Part 1: Engage

A Coaching Leader has an storehouse of valuable coaching skills that inspire excellence. This week, we will be reviewing one of Coachwell’s 5 Professional Coaching Skills to encourage our leaders to lead and coach well. These are the fundamentals of our practice and the foundation of everything we do.

We will start with Engage. The very act of engaging means we capture people’s attention. When we engage, people are expecting good things to happen. It’s a posture of anticipation and it’s the mindset I want you to assume right now. Are you ready? Let’s jump in.

As leaders and especially coaches, we are called to provide an engaging experience that motivates people to change. That sounds nice, but when we go deeper, we ask the question, what is an engaging experience? How should a leader communicate and keep people tracking with them?

There’s nothing worse than having a conversation with someone who isn’t paying attention to anything that you’re saying. All the verbal cues are there, but as their eyes start to wander around the room, or maybe when they start fidgeting with their phone you realize that they are not paying attention. This is an awful experience and unfortunately, one that we’ve all had. Let’s start with some helpful engagement strategies.

Engagement Strategies:

1. Be present and block out distractions.
2. Emotionally connect.
3. Remember important details.
4. Be directive.
5. Encourage and celebrate.
The first strategy is to eliminate distractions that keep you from having 100 percent focus on the person in front of you. Distractions like our smart phones, other people, or feeling anxious because we arrived late for the meeting. Don’t let your poor planning steal another person’s need to be valued and heard. Do all you can to be fully present in conversation!
Also, emotionally connect. This happens at a heart-level when we open ourselves up and use our emotional intelligence. Men can sometimes have a hard time with this one as it’s different than IQ. IQ is knowing facts about a person. Emotional Intelligence is understanding the nuances of how to best connect with that person, using questions or knowledge you already have about them.
Remembering important details, like your coworker’s wife’s name, or even their kids goes a long way in making a person feel valued. A good memory is a skill set that has to do more with being intentional than naturally possessing a great memory. Let’s train our brain to show honor and value by storing important details for later!
Being directive means simply having a goal for where you want the conversation to go. Maybe it’s just a meeting to get to know the person better, or to gain clarity on their goals and aspirations, or to help them discover solutions. Direct the conversation with good questions and Active Listening to ensure you are tracking well with people.
Lastly, encourage and celebrate. At Coachwell, this is what I like to think we do best. We place tremendous value on the people we coach and we love it when our leaders help others to win. That’s why we offer Coaching Certification to our leaders to build thriving and successful Coaching Cultures of their own. We train the best to be even better! It’s part of our passion as Coaching Leaders.
To your excellence,
Coach Greg