Career Development

Essential Coaching Skills for Strong Leadership

February 22, 2021

Effective coaching strategies focus on helping an individual improve their skills and performance. Coaching skills of an organization's leadership can be effective in the workplace to improve employee morale and help companies achieve their goals and objectives. The leaders' coaching skills will directly impact productivity and the ultimate success of a team or company.

In this article, we explore what coaching skills are with some examples of how they can be used in the workplace, review ways to improve leadership coaching skills and identify how to highlight these attributes in resumes, cover letters and job interviews.

What are coaching skills?

Coaching skills are the qualities and actions that focus on helping individuals improve performance. Rather than focus on deficits, coaching skills aim to pose probing questions in order to guide others toward improvement and learning through teamwork, positive leadership and strengths.

Examples of coaching skills

Leaders who exhibit great coaching skills earn the respect and appreciation of those they work with. The coaching skills and techniques they use help them form strong bonds while gaining the trust of others.

Incorporating a coaching methodology into your leadership strategy can help your employees, teams and organization to improve culture, employee satisfaction and productivity. Here are eight fundamental coaching skills that can help your leadership guide your business toward success:

  1. Empathy
  2. Curiosity
  3. Positivity
  4. Persistence
  5. Innovation
  6. Communication
  7. Sincerity
  8. Guidance

1. Empathy

Strong leaders have the ability to connect with others in a way that's free of judgment. When you have an innate ability to see the perspective of another and understand them, you make good decisions even on difficult subjects because your focus is on helping the greater good rather than identifying what caused the difficulty. The ability to empathize with others shows you are a trustworthy individual and earns respect from others.

2. Curiosity

Curiosity is a trait that seeks to understand and improve when able. By remaining curious, you model the desire to learn and develop professionally, which helps you guide your team by example. A curious nature teaches others that learning and developing is a journey rather than an end goal, and it enables you to facilitate others' learning as well.

3. Positivity

Focusing on weaknesses only disengages and discourages others, so staying positive is a coaching skill that is much needed to move a team in a productive direction. Help others see their strengths and validate their hard work. A good leader will help an individual identify their unique abilities and harness those skills to help them improve professionally and sometimes personally.

4. Persistence

A strong coach is focused on staying the course, and helps guide others toward their goals without getting discouraged. They can foresee issues and use obstacles and challenges as a means of improvement. As a good leader, your persistence will motivate others to keep pressing on despite any difficulties that arise.

5. Innovation

An essential coaching skill is to lead in developing ideas. Asking probing and open-ended questions of others is a way to help filter these ideas and solve problems creatively. Your ability to formulate questions and focus on solutions rather than problems will support others and assist in maintaining focus on a common goal.

6. Communication

Another essential skill to be a coach is effective communication. Communicating with clarity and transparency gains the trust of others and ensures that everyone is clear on expectations. Asking for feedback from team members or employees, practicing active listening and being forthright and articulate when voicing your ideas can help you create an inclusive environment, improve performance and help employees take ownership and enjoyment in their work.

7. Sincerity

Good leadership and coaching skills entail a sincere focus on the individual and a genuine desire to help. People will follow those who do not have ulterior motives and take a sincere interest in others. Being passionate about your work, humble in your abilities and patient with others demonstrates reliability and goodwill.

8. Guidance

Guiding a team with direction is another good coaching skill that effective leaders have. They can tactfully confront excuses or resistance by reflecting, clarifying and reforming problems as solutions to gain insight and overcome obstacles.

Read more: 15 Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader

How to improve coaching skills

Some ways to improve your coaching skills are to:

  1. Define your strengths. Consider the qualities you have already developed and use those as a basis for improvement and as tools to help guide you.
  2. Identify your goals. Set some goals for improving your skills by asking for professional feedback from those you work with. Be open to their ideas and ask clarifying questions to be certain the message is clear. Try to make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based so that you have a clear target.
  3. Seek a mentor. Observe those around you and identify someone you have confidence in and ask for help or guidance. This can help you develop lasting bonds and adopt their most effective traits as your own.
  4. Build confidence. Keep your focus on your improvements and maintain some flexibility when learning. Staying positive about how you've helped coach others will build your own confidence.

Read more: Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

Coaching skills in the workplace

Implementing coaching skills in the workplace, regardless of your industry or level, can make you more effective at work and lead to promotions or other professional opportunities. Some skills in the workplace to consider are:

  • Providing feedback: Individuals like to and need to hear how well they are performing. It helps to give positive reinforcement and promotes a positive work environment.

  • Accepting feedback: Asking for others to give constructive responses will help you see any room for improvement you might need and will serve as an example for others who also want to improve professionally.

  • Being flexible: Understanding that things can sometimes change without expectation and being able to adjust to those changes is great support for those you work with. It helps to build trust among team members and shows that obstacles can be overcome easily when working together.

  • Improving morale: Team building is an essential part of leadership. Helping individuals build a relationship with one another motivates them to work effectively and makes the process of reaching goals and objectives enjoyable.

Read more: 139 Action Verbs To Make Your Resume Stand Out

How to highlight coaching skills

Many coaching skills are leadership traits that are transferrable across many different industries and roles. Featuring these skills and qualities on your resume, cover letter and during a job interview can help a potential employer see how they can benefit from them. It can also make you a competitive candidate for job opportunities.

Here are some ways to focus on your coaching skills when composing your resume and cover letter or when on a job interview:

Coaching skills for a resume and cover letter

Consider discussing your skills in terms of how they helped you achieve goals in your previous role. Explain these achievements or any awards you may have earned in quantifiable ways if possible. Rather than say you improved productivity, you can indicate that your solution-based plan of action increased employee production by 10% within a three-month period. Focus on describing your achievements to show that you are a well-rounded candidate who can help guide the company or business toward success.

Coaching skills for a job interview

To highlight your coaching skills during a job interview, focus on strong non-verbal communication and maintain eye contact. Be sure to allow the hiring manager to complete their thoughts before you offer a response and show that you have strong listening skills.

Additionally, be sure you articulate your response well and that you answer the questions asked. Maintaining a consistent talking pace, upright posture and dressing professionally will demonstrate that you have respect for the position and will help you exude confidence as a distinctive and viable candidate.

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