By Richard Stokes, Mojo Development
I’m a former advertising exec, turned qualified executive coach. I passionately believe in the power of coaching and the transformational effects people can see from investing in a coaching relationship. I speak very personally on this subject because I have experienced these benefits first-hand; without coaching, it’s unlikely I’d now be a coach, running my own coaching and training business and living in Ibiza (currently on coronavirus lockdown, but otherwise paradise). Coaching helped me not only establish these life goals but also held me accountable to actually follow through and create these changes.
At its heart, that’s what coaching is – a means of creating or adapting to change through enhanced self-awareness and belief. On a practical level, it’s an intimate one-on-one relationship with someone who, through suspension of agenda and judgement, will help you do your best thinking out loud. A sounding board for ideas and strategy, an independent ear to discuss and improve challenging relationships, and an opportunity to consciously work on your own development.
Coaching is different to mentoring. Where a mentor has ‘been there, done that’ and will share this valuable advice with you, a coach does not need to be an expert in your business, because the coach’s job is to help you solve your issues and challenges.
The great news is that we can all coach if we commit to two things. We can better support our teams and businesses once we realise that at the core of coaching is really listening to the very last syllable of the last sentence of what is said. By listening to understand and empathise rather than listening to respond, we have a better opportunity to grasp ‘what’s really going on here’. And to listen more effectively, we need to practice asking great open questions that will go deep and encourage thought. To avoid asking closed questions, my pro tip is to watch out for your use of pronouns. If the second word of your question is a pronoun, chances are you’ll be asking a closed question, leading to a Yes/No answer.
I hope this short piece gives you a better sense of the potential power of coaching, both as an investment into your business but also a practice that all managers can utilise each and every day.
Richard Stokes is an accredited executive coach and runs Mojo Development Ltd – a coaching and training consultancy. He coaches face to face in London and also remotely via Skype/Zoom. He also hosts The Mojo Podcast. www.mojodevelopment.co.uk