In our continuing interview series with Craig, we’re chatting today about his passion for one-to-one coaching.
Q. In a nutshell what is one-to-one coaching?
This is where one person dedicates themselves to helping the other person find their own answers by asking beautifully crafted and thought-provoking questions and listening until their ears hurt. Craig’s recent blog on ‘listening to hear’ endorses this. The awesome news is that coaching improves thinking and builds confidence.
Q. What’s your philosophy on one-to-one coaching?
I believe that every person already has the answers inside them. As a coach I help the individual draw them out. I believe that coaching rocks. If coaching was a band it would be the Beatles; positively impacting billions of people with its impact remaining long after the record is produced.
Q. Why is it so important to be coached as an individual?
If you can help an individual come up with their own answers to a potential situation, development area or performance improvement, then they’re more naturally committed and bought into the achievement of that outcome.
Traditionally people rely on being given answers as opposed to coming up with their own way of thinking, as is the case when they’re coached. I would much rather learn by finding my own solution than by being given an answer where I don’t have to think too much. As a result of coming up with their own solution, when an individual is faced with a similar situation in the future, they have a reference point to draw on where they’ve solved the issue themselves. Coaching isn’t always comfortable, but the outcomes are outstanding
Q. How can an organisation benefit from one-to-one coaching of its employees?
This is the brilliant thing… this is where coaching rocks. When an organisation chooses coaching as a leadership style and development approach for its employees, it drives accountability for the achievement of personal, team and organisational goals. The individual is no longer reliant on a course to gain their learning, they are confident in their own answers, that a coach has drawn out of them.
It goes further. An individual can also self-coach. As a coach when I ask a question, sometimes it doesn’t matter what is or isn’t said by the coachee because the true change is happening inside. So, when you ask yourself coaching questions, the same reaction is taking place. You can’t help but answer a question inside your head when someone asks you a question. Have a go right now!
- what are you thinking and feeling right now?
- how is that helping you?
- what could you choose to think and feel that will help you more?
Do you see how your brain automatically focuses on the answers to these questions inside your head?
Q. How do you approach coaching with your clients?
My first thought is that I fundamentally believe in the other person’s ability and commitment to achieve. My role is to create an environment where the coachee feels confident and comfortable to answer in the most honest way and to ask questions that make the other person think. As a coach you need to recognise it’s all about the coachee. I am simply there to help them be the best they can be.
Q. How do you determine if your coaching has been successful?
If the coachee achieves the outcome they want to achieve. It’s the stories they tell. It’s the stories others tell of their experience with that person. It’s the moment when you see them physically grow during the coaching session, such as body language changes.
Coaching is emotionally draining but the reward for me far outweighs this. I desperately love helping others to be better. A coach is a special type of person; you have to ask the questions that no one else will dare ask and have total belief in the other person even if they don’t have the same belief in themselves.
Q. Who can benefit from coaching and why?
Anybody. Coaching isn’t hierarchical. Coaching is a choice. The people who want to be coached will gain benefit from it. It’s fantastic. It can help young people with accountability and choice and it reminds adults of the power of their thinking.
The coolest thing about coaching is that I don’t need the solution or answer. I just need the right question. As Albert Einstein said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper questions to ask.”
Q. Would you recommend coaching as a strategy to all the leaders you work with?
Coaching isn’t a strategy; a coaching culture is a strategy. Coaching itself is a vehicle to achieve something… to get you from your starting point to your destination. However, I would certainly recommend coaching as an approach and vehemently encourage all leaders to develop their coaching skills and techniques.
Q. What are your top three tips on coaching that will supercharge your life?
- the most straightforward questions are the best
- learn to love the power of silence
- believe in the other person and be curious about them
Thanks Craig, this coaching session has been refreshingly different and energising; we’ve loved it.
We’d love to hear your experiences with coaching!