Coaching Skills Training- Coaching and Communication 3

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Coaching Skills Training- Coaching and Communication 3 Powered By Docstoc
					?If you've read my first two articles in this series you'll know that I've so farf
examined six communication styles and the relative advantages and disadvantages of

Tells, Sells, Tests, Consults, Joins and Delegates

So how does all this relate to coaching and where would we place coaching on the
spectrum. Some argue that coaching is all about empowering others and so must sit
'right of centre' towards delegation. However, we can also see that perhaps coaching
doesn't belong to this range of alternatives at all as it almost represents a philosophy
of communication rather than a style. It's as if coaching becomes the way we can have
the advantages of each whilst steering clear of the disadvantages.

Good coaches don't fear loss of control as they know that the people they coach will
have formulated their plans and ideas in their presence. Thus the coach has the ability
to warn against a certain course of action if it is against the rules or likely to cause
problems. Also, we've seen that coaching is an effective way for managers to build
trust in their teams and so they can resort to Tell when the situation demands it
without worrying about the team being uncooperative or becoming disillusioned.

So far we have considered the merits of various communication styles in a general
context. What about when we need to communicate with another to help them

It seems that Tell is dominant here and perhaps this is because most of us were
conditioned to learn in this way at school. We would sit in rows of desks while the
teacher would tell us what we needed to do and how to do it and lessons would
consist of being told what we needed to know. But this doesn't always work. Try
explaining to someone how to do up a tie or lace a training shoe without showing
them - it's almost impossible. To do so requires us firstly to understand exactly the
process that needs to be done and then to find the language to convey that process to
another person in a way they can understand. The modern world of work is changing
so fast that we can no longer be certain that the ways and methods we used to become
successful will be valid for the next generation. It's risky to solve the probelms of
today with the solutions of yesterday. Furthermore, people don't retain a great deal of
learning when they have only ever been told what to do. How many managers have
you heard yelling, "If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times!", or "Just
exactly how many times am I going to have to tell you?"

Coaching presents a way of dealing with these problems as it is concerned with
drawing our rather than putting in and thus enables people to learn in their own way
and at their own speed. This means that we can get learning which sticks and that
remains available to us whenever we need it. It's like when we learn to cycle or swim
using all five senses.
There's an old Chinese proverb which, roughly translated, states:

"Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand"

Coaching is the best way to involve people in their own learning.


Matt Somers is a leading voice on coaching in the UK where he writes, presents,
trains and consults on all aspects of Coaching at Work. An author and regular
conference speaker, he is currently producing a range of resources to help with the
people side of working life. His popular mini-guide "Coaching for an Easier Life" is
available FREE at