Being a coach or a mentor is not an easy role to perform. These roles are very crucial to an organization and its people. Because of this, when investing in coaching and mentoring programs in the workplace, quality must be observed in terms of the processes, standards, and the people assigned to do coaching. The organization must have high expectations from the designated coaches. These individuals must possess the necessary personal and professional qualities of a good and effective coach.
Usually coaches and mentors are part of the management in the organization. Being such, they ought to have the right leadership qualities. Leaders are equipped with skills that make their coaching sessions effective and successful. Furthermore, the staff or the employees look up to their coaches as role models. An effective coach or mentor should have various skills and these abilities will be outlined in this article.
Primary Coaching Skills
The skill of building rapport is the same as being people-oriented and having good interpersonal skills. Since the connection between a coach and a learner must be properly established, rapport-building is deemed necessary in order to attain a level of understanding between the coach and the individual. One way to apply good rapport-building is to create a comfortable atmosphere during the session. This way, learners will not hesitate to cooperate in the drills and activities.
The ability to be a good and active listener is very essential to coaching. Listening is not just about understanding the verbal cues but also listening to what is not said. The coach also makes conversation a two-way street during the session which means that the learner is given the opportunity to talk and open up more while the coach actively listens. Part of demonstrating good listening ability is avoiding interruptions. Paraphrasing can also be used to confirm understanding of what was being said.
A coach must be able to apply effective questioning techniques and must know how to ask intelligent questions. The use of open-ended questions is effective as this type of questioning encourages the individual to elaborate more. Good follow-up questions after a learner’s response also manifest a sincere interest and concern toward the person.
Since coaching involves a lot of discussions and open conversations between the coach and the learner, the coach should know how to effectively get the message across to the individual with ease. This is especially important during the giving of feedback to the learner. The coach must be able to relay feedback and remarks constructively and positively without demeaning the learner’s self-esteem.
General Coaching and Mentoring Skills
Apart from the primary coaching skills mentioned above, there are other essential skills that the coaching profession requires. The list of skills and attributes below would make an effective coach and mentor:
• Ability to promote trust and respect
• Ability to facilitate level of understanding
• Ability to create an effective coaching and mentoring process
• Ability to motivate and inspire
• Ability to offer positive and constructive feedback
• Ability to guide the learner in goal setting and attainment
• Ability to stimulate action
• Ability to inculcate self-awareness and self-knowledge
• Ability to open up new perspectives
• Ability to follow a variety of approaches in coaching styles and techniques
• Ability to recognize significant changes in thoughts and behavior
• Ability to assist in identifying the value in a situation
Coaching and Mentoring Competencies
Many organizations tailor their standards for coaching performance from accredited coaching associations such as the International Coach Federation (ICF). The association has set the following coaching competencies:
• Ability to adhere to the ethical rules in the coaching profession
• Ability to create a coaching agreement
• Ability to initiate a trusting relationship with the trainee or the learner
• Ability to be vigilant, mindful and spontaneous
• Ability to provide active listening
• Ability to ask effective and powerful questions
• Ability to effectively communicate
• Ability to increase the individual’s level of awareness
• Ability to design action plans to address needs and issues
• Ability to establish realistic goals with the individual
• Ability to facilitate the trainee’s progress