Training leaders to coach

Josef Gardiner
March 19, 2023


In this video, I'm going to talk a little bit more about the Coaching Conversations program that I facilitate, where I train leaders to use coaching skills in their leadership. There are three components to the program.

The first is a series of four Coaching Clinics. These are four-hour coaching workshops, generally held over Zoom. We explore four key coaching skills: contextual listening (listening  deeply to what someone's saying, listening beyond the words, listening beneath the words, listening out for the body language, the values that might be inherent in what they're saying).  So that's what we're doing in contextual listening.

The second skill is discovery questioning, and discovery questions are the what, the how questions, the curious questions, the questions that can't just be answered with a yes or no. So we're trying to invite you to ask better questions of your people, ask those open questions, those curious questions that help people to move from where they are now to where they want to be.

The third skill is acknowledging and we spend quite a lot of time on acknowledgment and how important that is for making people feel heard and valued. As I mentioned before, our brains are hardwired to maximize reward and minimize threat. We want to be getting as much of the reward response as possible in the people that we're coaching leading,  so we acknowledge them for their efforts, for great work that they're doing, for their strengths,  their challenges - these are all important things to notice so that people feel as though they're heard and valued.

And  the fourth skill is messaging.  You know, in coaching, we're trying to give as much space as possible for the coachee - typically, 80% of the time for the coachee and around 20% for the coach. Messaging is your opportunity to perhaps share one or two things that you would like the coachee to think about, based on your experience. Perhaps you've got some information that they're not aware of that might help them to reach where their goal.

So those are the skills that we're using in the Coaching Clinic Workshops and we also spend  a lot of time talking about a simple  Coaching Conversation model where you're following 5 steps: establishing the focus of the conversation, discovering possibilities, planning some actions, surfacing new awareness, and then inviting the coachee to do a recap.

The Coaching Clinics are followed up by Coaching Circles. We have six of you in each of the Coaching Circle, and they're an opportunity to keep practising the skills learned in the Coaching Clinc workshops. They're held quarterly so that you get time to keep the learning alive rather than just leaving it in the training room. In those Coaching Circles, one person coaches another, everybody else watches and provides feedback and we then rotate roles.

And  in the last part of the Coaching Conversations program, everyone who participates is offered two confidential one-to-one executive coaching sessions with me. They can bring whatever challenges they want into those coaching sessions. They're confidential coaching sessions and participants deepen their learning about coaching by being coached by a professional credentialed coach.

So those are the three main components: the Coaching Clinics, the Coaching Circles and then the individual executive coaching sessions.