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36 Coaching Skills - Accountability to Visioning

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36 Coaching Skills - Accountability to Visioning

Lesson Content

Throughout the course, I have defined many of the thirty-six key Coaching Skills from Accountability to Permission. In this section we are going to briefly define eleven additional coaching skills specifically focused on how they can enhance your ability to communicate within a coaching relationship. Many of these skills you most likely already employ, yet looking at them through the lens of coaching and intentionally using them in a coaching context should aid in helping you to accelerate results.

First, Bottom-Lining, this is the skill of brevity and succinctness on the part of both coach and coachee. Bottom-lining is also about having the client get to the essence of his or her communication rather than engaging in long descriptive stories that don’t provide the coachee any new insight.

Number two, Brainstorming, partnering to generate ideas, alternatives, and possible solutions. Some of the proposed ideas may be outrageous and impractical. This is a creative exercise to expand the possibilities available to the client. There is no attachment to the ideas…a true exercise of process over product. It is also important to not introduce brainstorming too soon, as honoring time for deeper reflection can often make brainstorming actions more effective.

Number three, Celebrating, fully honoring wherever the client currently experiences him- or herself in life. The coach uses this skill to deepen the coachee’s appreciation of his or her own successes and failures, disappointments and wins. Celebrating is not necessarily about cheering. It is about brining attention and acknowledgement to the client’s process. This is one of the most important and undervalued skills, as it builds a muscle of positivity and appreciation which the coachee can then use to celebrate others.

Number four, Championing, different from celebrating, when you champion coachees, you stand-up for them when they doubt or question their abilities. Despite the client’s self-doubt, the coach knows clearly who the coachee is and that he or she is capable of much more than the they think. When the client is in the valley, the coach is on the next hill, waiving the flag and saying, “Come on. You can make it!”

Number five, Failure, the lack of achievement of a goal or activity to which one committed oneself. Failure is often confused with being wrong, morally shameful, or bad. To fail merely means that you did not succeed at what you set out to do. It is an opportunity for reflection and correction, which can then forward the action toward success.

Number six, Gremlin Taming. Developed by Richard Carson, the Gremlin is a concept that embodies a negative or fearful thought process that maintains the status quo in our lives. It is that voice (or voices) in our head that keeps us from moving forward and getting what we truly want. When we can identify it for what it is, the Gremlin loses its power—then we can become more aware of our options, entertain more expansive possibilities, and consciously choose what it is that we really want or need. It is the coach’s job to introduce this concept to the client and create a comfortable enough environment for them to use their imagination to visualize, even personify the Gremlin. Describing what it looks like, where it lives, what it says, and articulating its agenda. The Gremlin could not only be a separate topic for one of these courses, but there is an attire approach to coaching centered on Gremlin Taming.

Number seven, Inquiry. When a powerful question is given as homework to the coachee, either as a deliberate strategy or just because you’ve run out of time during your conversation, it is intended to deepen the coachee’s learning and provoke further reflection. The intention is for the coachee to consider the inquiry between sessions or over a longer period of time, and to see what occurs for them. An inquiry can have multiple answers, no one or two of which are “right.” Examples of powerful questions for coachee’s to ponder include: “What are you tolerating? “How is a certain behavior or perspective holding you back?” “How might life look differently if you expected everything to work out?”

Number eight, Metaphor. Metaphors are used to illustrate a point and paint a verbal picture for the client. “Your mind is like a ping pong ball bouncing between one choice and another.” “You’re almost at the finish line. Go for it! You can win the race!” Metaphors also help coachees detach from literal interpretation and start to engage their imagination to see things symbolically and find expanded meaning in their circumstances.

Number nine, Meta-View. Meta-view is the big picture or perspective. The coach pulls back (or asks the coachee to pull back) from their immediate issues. From the clarity of that expanded perspective, the coach reflects back to the coachee what they see. “If your life were like a road, and we were to take a helicopter ride up above it, what would we see?” “When you look back over the narrative of your life, what are some of the common themes that brought you to today?”

Number ten, Requesting. One of the most potent coaching skills is that of making a request of the client. The request, based upon the client’s agenda, is designed to forward the client’s action. The request not only includes a specific action, but also any qualifying conditions and deadline by which it will be done. The coachee has the option to respond to a request in one of three ways: Yes, No, or to make a Counter Offer.

And finally, Number eleven, Structures. Structures are devices that remind coachees of their vision, goals, purpose, or actions that they need to take immediately. Some examples of structures are collages, calendars, messages on voice mail, alarm clocks, and so on. Structures can be part of requests and challenges and help create a sense of accountability for coachees.

Stacey Zackin


Stacey Zackin

If Stacey were a Super Hero, she'd be The Status Quo Buster. With 15+ years of experience in human behavior, management, and entertainment, Stacey merges psychology, strategy, and imagination to...

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