Coaching has been defined as a method of directing, instructing and training in order to develop specific skills or achieve an objective or goal. Coaching is a process that invites awareness, sources understanding, empowers creative thinking, focuses on action and self-responsibility. What coaching is not about is providing information, showing the way, counselling or mentoring, or assigning responsibility. A strong leader knows the difference between the two and is able to coach and lead their team successfully.

There are two core rules of coaching. The first is that you must have a fundamental belief that people can achieve whatever they believe is achievable. The second is that you must continually raise that level of belief. With those two rules in mind, there are three fundamental skills involved in being a successful coach. These fundamentals include asking questions – as a coach you should be facilitating questions and stimulating thinking in the individual(s) that you are coaching. Active listening is another core skill – as a coach you are responsible for focusing and connecting with the person you are coaching. Finally, a strong coach is someone who is motivating action – challenging, encouraging and confirming what the person you’re coaching is capable of.

These three fundamentals require there to be a high level of trust between the leader and the employees being coached. Without trust, it is difficult to develop a coaching relationship and to find success. As a leader, some of the ways you can build trusting relationships include: suspending your agenda, stopping and listening – especially when other people’s emotions enter the conversation, conveying empathy for the challenges that your employees are facing, asking how well you have understood their views and feelings, and finally following through and doing what you say you will do.

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