Many business owners and managers bemoan the lack of talented people to fill critical positions in their organizations. They struggle to identify and recruit needed people. What they overlook is the potential to grow the people they already have.

Coaching provides a powerful way to accelerate the growth of people within your business or profession. It focuses on what the particular person being coached wants. Coaching also delivers candid advice in a direct way that enables people to find their path for advancement.

The following steps take less than an hour’s time and create a solid foundation for a productive coaching relationship.

  • Ask, “What are your hopes?”

The first objective is to identify the person’s aspirations. What does he or she want in career terms? Why is this important to him or her? This connects people with the power of their own passions. You also avoid projecting your preferences onto the people you are coaching.

So many people live in a world of what’s expected of them that they lose sight of what they really want for themselves. Early in my career, I focused on what employers and peers expected of me. I progressed, but I didn’t thrive. Only after a friend asked me about my hopes and why they are important to me did I find alignment with my interests and energy for sustained success.

  • Uncover the real issues.

Again, a few simple questions provide the catalyst for progress. Ask, “What stands between you and where you want to be? What issues or obstacles need attention?”

Before addressing what you think the person needs, be sure that you’ve really heard him or her. Truly listening to someone else is the greatest gift we can give. The best coaches for me have been the best listeners. They demonstrate their listening by paraphrasing back the essence of what they hear me say. This not only assures me that they have tuned in but also gives me a chance to reflect on my own thoughts.

  • Explore options.

Many people hold the keys to their own success. They simply need someone to precipitate action.  Ask them, “What choices do you see?” Offer additional ideas: “Have you considered…”

Choices expand people’s opportunities and give them a sense of personal power. Help them identify a range of choices to compare.

  • Share stories and experiences.

Every time I asked Eugene Kleiner, one of Silicon Valley’s legendary venture capitalists, for some advice, he’d tell me a story. At first, it frustrated me. Why didn’t he simply answer my question? I learned, however, that the stories provided a richer and more lasting set of insights about the issues I raised.

Stories slip into our psyches and deliver their messages without hitting us over the head.

It’s the difference between giving someone a fish (handing out an answer) and teaching the person how to fish (helping him or her to find answers).

As coach, you might ask, “May I share some experiences?” After providing a story, check: “How does that fit with what you are thinking?”

Once you’ve established a solid foundation, coaching shifts into action mode. My next blog will describe how to stimulate big results for the people you coach.


Copyright © 2018 Don Maruska