Over the last two years, I’ve been on a professional—and personal—journey from corporate executive to executive coach. Friends and colleagues often ask what I’ve learned during this time, and the truth is that I’ve learned a whole lot! Here are some of my biggest takeaways that have helped me to grow and improve as a coach.
1. Care about your audience
By caring about your clients as people, you uncover your ability to guide your clients to find the right solutions for them. For me, this comes through in really believing that my clients are complete, smart individuals who have their own answers inside of them. What they need is a caring, skilled person to help them uncover the right solutions for their unique situations and lives.
2. Ask the right questions
Through the use of Clean Language, you can go after the client’s inner metaphors. This has been one of the most profound learnings for me. The Clean Language process has helped me build my confidence, as well as my ability to ask better questions and get my clients to uncover their unconscious metaphors. By doing so, I’ve seen my clients make substantial positive movement to overcome their barriers and achieve more success, joy, and happiness.
Though I was exposed to Clean Language in my initial coach training, leveraging what I’ve learned from Gina Campbell has been invaluable. Clean Language involves using clients’ exact words and a systematic process of simple questions. You can use it to enhance:
Growth: Purposefully guide clients to identify stuck places using their personal metaphors, develop new metaphors to replace them, and release the emotional charges and persistent patterns left unresolved.
Empowerment: Use clients’ metaphors to find and strengthen resourceful states, such as relaxation or ease, so that clients can call upon them again when they need to access those states.
Vision: Develop clarity on what your clients would like to have happen, facilitate their deeper self-knowledge, and enlist their participation in their healing process.
3. Ramp up your listening skills
If you want to be a great coach, you need to be a great listener, and learn how to bring out the answers from others instead of giving advice. I love learning about neuroscience and leveraging discoveries about how the brain works. It’s been shown that when people come up with the solutions themselves, the learning is so much more impactful. By asking just the right questions in just the right ways, a coach can help change clients’ perspectives and lead them to those remarkable, self-propelled “aha” moments that have such impact.
4. Continuous improvement
I love to learn, grow, and share insights with others. One way that I do this is by nurturing a strong network of people who help me grow—those willing to share their best practices and resources. I also love asking my clients to debrief their coaching experience: what worked well for them, what insights are they walking away with, and any suggestions to me to help coach them even better.
Having reprogrammed my own brain, as a coach and leader I am now applying these insights in my practice. Instead of giving my clients “the answer,” I’m using Clean Language to access inner metaphors and enabling them to discover their own solutions that improve their performance and that of their employees. It’s truly a winning result: the impact on my clients is greater, and so is the reward I feel as their coach!