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Home » Blog » Making the Coaching Conversation More Engaging

Coaching Conversations:  Keep It Curious and Clear

As professional coaches, we may not always consider our method of session preparation to be planning because it is something we do naturally. Nonetheless, planning and outlining the conversation you will have with your coachee are critical components of guiding them toward their goals.

This article will discuss several strategies for structuring coaching sessions, practical tips for session planning, and specific examples of successful coaching conversations.

Three Notions of A Coaching Conversation

Not all conversations are coaching conversations.

  • To begin, a coach-like conversation is highly deliberate and frequently includes pre-thought.
  • Second, a coaching conversation is centred on the other person, his or her strengths and weaknesses, and the characteristics that he or she brings to the discussion.
  • Thirdly, coaching conversations are intended to stimulate thought, growth, and change that result in action.

Essentials Coaching Conversation

Knowing how to engage the coachee in conversation during a session is critical. The introspective nature of coaching conversations enables us to develop and strengthen new neural pathways in the brain.

Both parties leave coaching conversations feeling competent and confident in themselves and appreciative of the other person’s support. Here are 4 must-have skills to amplify the value in your coaching conversation.

1. Committed Listening

Committed listening strengthens your relationships with others by focusing your attention on the other person. Your undivided attention demonstrates your respect for the speaker and a sincere desire to engage in dialogue rather than a monologue. Committed listening contributes to the development of trusting relationships. Indeed, committed listening is a necessary component of all coaching conversations. When you are a dedicated listener, you pay close attention to the speaker’s verbal and nonverbal cues.

2. Continuing the Conversation Further by Paraphrasing

This is one of those skills that one learns over time. Unless you are a dedicated listener first you can not come to this step.

Paraphrasing is a colloquial term that refers to a concise statement or summary of what another person says. It assists the speaker in articulating his thoughts and aligns the speaker’s and listener’s thinking. Once you have a better understanding of the speaker’s thinking, you will be able to engage him in a more productive conversation. Simultaneously, by listening to him and paraphrasing his statements without offering advice or interjecting your own judgement or story, you’ve increased your mutual trust. Paraphrasing communicates that you are paying close attention, taking an interest in what he is saying, and comprehending, or attempting to comprehend, his point of view.

3. Asking Powerful Questions

Our language is filled with negativity. You are wrong. That is incorrect. Why don’t you think before you act? You must be mistaken. How could you possibly say that?

For many of us, assuming positive intent is a novel way of thinking. Assuming positive intent means that we enter a conversation with a positive attitude toward the other person, and our language reflects this attitude.

Effective questions are open-ended and posed with genuine intent.

One of the most effective ways to ascertain the coachee’s intentions is to ask how and why, framing the questions around the coachee’s intent or purpose. By leaving questions open-ended, you encourage your coachee to consider the significance of their objectives and the steps necessary to achieve them, which is critical for understanding the self-improvement process.

4. Keeping Room Open for Discovery and Feedback

Start your conversation with the mindset that all feedback is a gift.

Giving feedback is a gift to your client, one that you sincerely want to provide, and a great coach must be empathetic. However, because we dislike conflict, we project our own insecurities onto our clients. Alternatively, we avoid initiating the conversation out of a desire to be liked.

Don’t forget that empathy and compassion go hand in hand. When you put yourself in the shoes of your coachee, you gain a better understanding of how to best guide the conversation and deliver feedback in a positive, constructive manner.

Here, your “soft skills” come into play: how you say something is just as critical as what you say if you want to have an emotionally intelligent conversation. Assure the employee that both of you are working toward the same goal of assisting them in reaching their full potential.

After you’ve shared your feedback, inquire of the employee what assistance they require from you to carry out the coaching you provided.

If giving feedback continues to make you feel uneasy, try being vulnerable.

A statement such as, “I wish I was more practised at providing feedback,” may establish a foundation of trust and authenticity for the conversation. They’re likely already aware of your discomfort – might as well own it!

A clear commitment to results and a heightened trust in the partnership are the end results of any excellent coaching talk. You’re laying the groundwork for both of you to grow and succeed in the future.

Productive coaching conversations are within your grasp. Be clear, compassionate, and curious. Constantly seek confirmation and then get a commitment. At times, you may find it difficult to initiate certain conversations for fear of endangering a relationship, provoking anger, or speaking incoherently. True coaching conversations, on the other hand, create space for you and others to reflect deeply, to understand one another’s perspectives, and to provide feedback that is not critical of an individual, but rather creates space for personal choice and productive action. The more intentional and inviting you are in your conversations, the more frequently you will experience positive outcomes from your interactions with others.