the most important coaching skill

Today I listened again in my car to Dr Stephen R Covey 8the habit.

He made me think about an article I read a few weeks ago in a major business magazine. In that article a woman talked about coaching. Not your average coaching but coaching of high potentials and CEO’s. She said  among other things that you should never work with a coach that says he knows how to listen. Especially those coaches that are really therapist and do the coaching on the side to bring in extra money.

I was stunned when I first read this.

I can see why she says that a coach should have business experience. That she should know what it takes to run a company.

But in my opinion that is not what a real coach is about. A coach should make people go to where no man/woman has gone before. Not even the coach.
What that woman was talking about was more what I would call a mentor. Marshall Brown explains the difference between mentors and coaches really well at the beginning of this video.

Carlos Rodriguez never played at the same level tennis as Justine Henin did. But that is not needed for being a good coach. I don’t want to go into the discussion if Carlos would be a good business coach. I know that he knew enough about tennis to bring Henin to the top. And on top of that he knew how to coach her and stimulate her to go the extra mile. Whatever that was for Justine.

Back to Covey, at the beginning of CD 3 of the 8the habit, he says that 3/4 of peoples life we communicate. 40% of that time is spend listening.

He continues to say that most people never had more then 1 week of learning how to listen and of the people that do thay are trained as therapist etc. (It was this speech that made me want to follow my 4 year GTO course)

In my opinion, if you are a good listener, you can hear (see) what people are frustrated about, and help them to find the solutions. They don’t need me to tell them what to do, they need to find that within themselves. And yes I agree having experience in the field you are coaching in helps, and is most of the time required . But it is not the only skills you need. In fact if you can’t listen no other skills will help you.

I am Yves Hanoulle, your virtual Project Coach and you can reach me @ Yves at my agile training company .net



2 Responses

  1. Agree, i’m coaching nurses in informatics nowadays and see the same thing.
    btw, i’m reading 7 habits in dutch.
    Saw Tony Robbins’ introduction on TEDtalks yesterday, and he said the same thing. “I’m not here to motivate you, you’re gonna do it yourselves”…

  2. coaching nurses in informatics?
    Will you please explain what that is?
    Funny you say the motivation quote. As a coahc I received once a question:
    “Will you help us to become motivated?”

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