I have started to think about my presentation about coaching that I will be giving at this year’s AAM (Association for Accounting Marketing) annual conference in Chicago in June. (That’s because I have to submit it in a couple of months). How am I going to demonstrate the value of coaching in a way that people will embrace it – and then be able to really absorb some of the techniques in a way that they can bring back to their firms and actually USE in some type of meaningful way?
I think the trick is teaching them to ACTIVELY LISTEN and then to ASK QUESTIONS. I think that professionals often resist the temptation to ask a question for fear they will appear ignorant or unsophisticated. This is an important shift that needs to be made. I don’t understand how people can ever learn anything without asking questions. Are YOU asking enough questions?
Active listening can be hard enough for some people. You know those types, whose eyelids are fluttering because they are forming their next sentence when you haven’t even finished making your point yet – is this really a conversation you’re engaged in? During the course of an average day, if you start to notice, you are not having as many real conversations as you should be, I’m afraid. With co-workers, supervisors, friends – your spouse. (Are you and your significant other really listening to each other?)
After you can turn yourself down a few notches in order to really LISTEN, then you have to craft some pertinent, thought-provocative questions that will help facilitate a discovery, a result or a commitment to the next step. Takes time – takes practice – takes patience.
Coaching works because, ultimately, the coach does not provide any real ANSWERS at all. A successful coach is so because of the GOOD QUESTIONS they ask.
Start asking “Why?” today and see what happens.