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The #coachapproach 👩‍💻

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It’s helping them to l
Where Leaders Learn
The #coachapproach 👩‍💻
By Gillian Davis • Issue #26 • View online
“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It’s helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”  - Tim Gallwey 

My friends at Learnerbly put on an insightful event last night on ‘Coaching for High Performing Teams’ and it was a pleasure to be one of the speakers. The night kicked off with Alan Cairns, Chief People Officer at, Patrick Gibbons, Exec Coach + Org Psychologist, myself, which was then followed by a panel where we were joined by Nicola Anderson, VP Marketing at GoCardless who has just embarked on a coaching program. 
For me, the best part about asking to do talks on subjects that I am most passionate about is that I get to take some time to reflect on how I feel about the topic at hand and find a way to organize my thoughts so that they make sense to the audience (big thanks to Heather 👋 for helping me with this!)
Coaching for High Performance was not something I had spent a whole lot of time thinking about, but when I started to brainstorm it all came together quite quickly. 
I embarked on my coaching certification in 2011, with a healthy dose of apprehension and cynicism (I am half British) however became completely hooked within the first few hours! 
You may be asking yourself WTF is coaching which is an excellent question….
Love this definition of coaching from Patrick.
Love this definition of coaching from Patrick.
The basic premise of coaching is that you don’t tell people what to do, you ask the right set of questions that lead them to get their own answers. The power of this approach is invaluable as a manager and I shared with the audience some ways they can bring the #coachapproach into their everyday interactions with their team.
The 5 C’s of Coaching is a useful framework to apply to ANY relationship. When you take time to connect with others (by asking questions and being curious) you start to build trust and rapport. This allows for much richer conversations and gives you permission to challenge (#4) in a much more constructive way. 
I obviously didn’t go down the ‘pure coaching’ route but have interwoven the #coachapproach into my communication style. Although it was a conscious transition for me (my default is to tell, find solutions and direct) the benefits surpassed the initial discomfort. 
Coaching at its core is learning how to master the following; 
1) Learning to Listen 
2) Asking the right questions 
3) Creating the space 
1. Learn to Listen so you can Listen to Learn
Although active listening has become a bit buzzy, it’s key to an effective interaction. Actively listening is about being 100% present and focused on what the other person is saying. With so much going on in our minds this does take effort and awareness. 
2. Ask The Right Questions
How you ask a question can directly impact the kind of answer you get back. The example I gave was the difference between asking 'Why did you do that?’ and 'How would you have done that differently?’ 
When I first started coaching I used to have a '100 Powerful Questions’ list in front of me during my sessions. Eventually, this became much more natural to me and now my default is to ask an open-ended question. By asking open-ended questions you get the other person to reflect, explain their logic, and most importantly, come to their own answers. 
As a general rule, if the questions could lead to a 'yes’ or 'no’ answer, don’t ask it. 
3. The Sounds of Silence
One of the most challenging parts of coaching was getting comfortable not filling the quiet space. Often when we ask a question and the other person doesn’t respond immediately we jump in and re-ask in order to fill the space. Allowing people the time to process will lead to much richer answers. So start getting comfortable in silence and give people space to think the question through. 
Personally, the most impactful part of using the #coachapproach in management is the witnessing the power of helping people see and believe in their own potential. This is magical ✨ When people are connected to their own goals, are aware that they are working towards them and see the progress they are making their energy is contagious. This is what brought me to life as the manager and gave me the most reward. 
Start thinking about ways you can bring the #coachapproach into your day to day routine. An easy place to start is during 1-1s, prepare yourself by looking over a list of open-ended questions (I have linked to one below) and start to practice the art of asking powerful questions, listening to learn, and creating the quiet space for progress.  
Think about it 🤔
🔸 You don’t necessarily have to go on a coaching program to start applying a coach approach into your day to day. I recently read The Tao of Coaching and found it one of the most practical guides to using coaching as a manager. 
🔸 Start building your own bank of open-ended coaching questions so that it feels natural for you to ask. I started with a similar list to this one. 
🔸 There was a great question from the audience on how to coach upwards. It is possible and here are some tips on how to approach it. 
Podcast 🔊
Melissa Andrada: Learning to Learn
Attend 👩‍🎓
Leadership: Essential Skills Needed to Run a Team
Did you enjoy this issue?
Gillian Davis

Helping leaders inspire and enable their teams.

Author: First Time Leader // //
Reach out @gilliandavis07

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