In ‘4 Ways to Sharpen Your Coaching Skills’ I raised the question – How do you ensure that your coaching abilities are as good as they can be?
Here are 4 more ideas … let me know what you think, and which others you’d add!
1. Keep a journal – record your reflections
I’ve been using journals more and more recently. I have different journals for different reflections: one for reflecting on my training, one for coaching, one for supervision, a gratitude journal, and one to record things I learn from reading coaching and other books.
One of the advantages of journalling is that you need to organise your thoughts in order to put pen to paper. This helps you identify the most important and relevant parts about what you want to say, as well as the most relevant next steps … the ‘So what?’ bit.
They can also be useful to do a ‘dump’ of unhelpful emotions/feelings/thoughts, things that are tying you up in knots.
2. Join a coaching community where you’re supported and continue growing
It can be a lonely job if you’re the only one in your organisation delivering coaching, or you’re running your own coaching business.
It’s a good idea to find a coaching group (in your area – if you prefer face-to-face) to keep your motivation levels up, keep your skills sharp, and learn from other like-minded people.
3. Attend CPD days (further training / conferences / webinars etc.)
This is different to the one above in that these are stand alone events.
- What’s the best CPD day/webinar/conference you’ve attended and why?
- How did it develop your thinking and/or practice as a coach?
4. Gather testimonials
This may sound self-serving, but it’s useful feedback on what’s working. You can then use this as part of your overall feedback picture.
Often we focus on what we ‘need to do better’, and forget what we do well. By gathering testimonials, you will be making productive in-roads towards gaining positive external feedback.
Testimonials Tip …
Despite coachees painting glowing pictures of how coaching has helped them (particularly at the end of a session), and their willingness to write a testimonial for you, it may not materialise.
They may have the best intentions to do this for you, but once the session’s finished and they go about their daily routine, life takes over and/or they may forget.
Make it easy for them by giving them a starting point. For example, at the end of your programme of sessions with them, ask the following questions:
a) What’s been the most useful part of our work together?
b) What have been the key outcomes from receiving coaching?
c) What’s been your biggest learning point?
d) What have you enjoyed most about our coaching work together?
The answers to these questions can be recorded by you, and you can then use them to formulate a ‘draft testimonial’ that you can send them for editing, with their permission. This is much easier for them than starting with a blank piece of paper!
So what do you do to keep your coaching skills sharp?