11 “In the Moment” Coaching Practices to Make You a Better Coach

Do you like to be told what to do? Of course not. Neither does anyone else. Stop “telling and selling,” and start weaving coaching practices into your day-to-day conversations to build stronger relationships, cultivate support for change and create opportunities to learn with and from others.

Use these simple practices to up your “in the moment” coaching game:

1. Set the intention to learn

The intention of “in the moment” coaching conversations is for both people to learn with and from each other, so begin by suspending judgment and open your mind to consider new possibilities.

2. Get curious

Invite others to share their perspective with open ended questions like, “How do you see this situation?” and phrases such as, “Tell me more about that…”

3. Stop “telling and selling”

As soon as you start pushing your point, you stop listening—and so does everyone else. When you catch yourself “telling and selling,” stop, take a breath and go back to being curious.

4. Focus on igniting insights

“In the moment” coaching is all about igniting insights. It’s the “aha” experience of learning something new that motivates people to take action.

5. Listen for limitations

As you listen, consider, what the other person may not be aware of that’s keeping them from moving forward in a positive, productive direction. Focus on creating an insight using stories, analogies and questions that will help the person recognize that they have more options than they thought they did.

6. Recognize fears

Fear is personal. What people are afraid of and how they express their fears is unique to each person. Learn to recognize when someone’s fear is limiting them from moving forward, and focus your coaching on helping them shift their perspective and learn the skills necessary to begin to move through their fears in a productive way.

7. Have compassion

We are all human, and as such, we all make mistakes, and we all have the potential to learn and grow. Treat people with the same compassion that you would want to receive if you were in the other person’s shoes.

8. Invite reflection

Sometimes simply inviting people to reflect upon their situation and their choices can help them to recognize how they are getting in their own way. Ask questions such as, “How did you arrive at that (place, decision, crossroads…)?” or “What would you do differently if you could do that over again?”

9. Focus on forward momentum

The goal of “in the moment” coaching conversations is to create positive, forward momentum that facilitates learning. That doesn’t necessarily mean getting answers that resolve issues completely.

10. Support action

When people don’t take action on ideas, it’s often because they don’t know what to do and/or are afraid of failing. Support people to move into action by helping them to find a path forward that works for them. It may mean starting small. That’s okay. The important part is to begin.

11. Practice, practice, practice

When it comes to building your “in the moment” coaching skills, start wherever you are and challenge yourself to get a little bit better every day. That’s how coaching becomes a life-affirming, life-changing way of life.

Where do you stand with your coaching-based leadership skills? Take Cylient’s Coaching-Based Leadership Assessment to find out.

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