Business coaching is an investment that most businesses reserve for senior leadership. It’s too bad that not everyone can work with a business coach, but there are countless workarounds that allow anyone in any position to make use of the principles of business and leadership coaching. intel
Everyone has the opportunity for leadership, including self-leadership.
And it doesn’t matter if a person isn’t a designated leader or even a de facto leader of a group. If nothing else, we are all in charge of how we approach our responsibilities, and business coaching principles can be applied to how we lead ourselves. Here are several key business coaching techniques anyone can use, whatever their position.
Learning to Build Trust Through Accountability
Trust is essential for success in business and in life, and it should be omnidirectional. Not only should a person strive to build trust with those higher up, but also with colleagues, new people, people in entry-level positions, and those in positions with little to no bearing on how we carry out our own responsibilities. Self-accountability is the key to building trust, and it requires consistently practicing the skill of keeping our word and ensuring our words are honest.
Developing Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to “read” a situation, control our emotions, and respond appropriately. One of the most important ways to build emotional intelligence is to get into the habit of pausing before speaking, taking a brief moment to assess the situation as best we can. This can prevent outbursts, “tone-deaf” comments, or misreading situations and causing confusion. There are many online resources anyone can use to build emotional intelligence skills.
Learning to Strengthen Networks
Networking isn’t something you do once for all time. It’s an ongoing exercise in interacting with others, including, but not limited to, people who are of obvious professional benefit. Building a strong professional (or personal) network requires putting yourself “out there” to some extent: participating in professional organizations, volunteering, writing articles for trade journals, speaking to groups, or even asking questions when attending professional presentations.
Improving Time Management
Improving time management skills helps with both professional and personal life. The skills are simple in concept, but require consistent practice to master. Techniques that are beneficial to practice and hone include:
- Making a schedule and following it
- Prioritizing tasks to the best of your ability
- Setting boundaries to minimize interruption of important tasks
- Learning to use various apps and other technologies for time management
- Overcoming temptations to procrastinate and multitask
These are some of the skills top leaders often work on in their business coaching relationships.
Time management is a skill that benefits everyone.
Learning How to Listen and Ask Good Questions
Learning how to listen well is a prerequisite to learning how to ask good questions. Listening is an important skill, and everyone knows that. But how many people think of themselves as good listeners, and how many of them actually are good listeners? It’s not as easy as many people think! Some steps to becoming a good listener include:
- Facing the person speaking and maintaining appropriate levels of eye contact
- Being attentive, without being overbearing
- Being open-minded and waiting until the speaker finishes before formulating a response or question
- Avoiding the temptation to interrupt
- Avoiding the temptation to impose a “solution”
Good listening may feel inefficient in an era of multitasking and business transacted at the speed of light, yet it is one of the most important skills addressed in business coaching. It is a skill that will never become unnecessary.
Business coaching is partly designed to address skills gaps like the ones listed above. Leaders are not immune to having poor listening time management skills, and when those skills are not up to scratch, the consequences can ripple throughout a company division or even an entire organization.
But you don’t have to be a leader to benefit from the skills and techniques that business coaches use with their business coaching clients. Building skills in accountability, emotional intelligence, networking, time management, and listening are beneficial for anyone, in any personal or professional capacity. Fortunately, there are many resources available to all that can help those who seek to improve their professional effectiveness.
I encourage you to check out my books, including Intelligent Leadership: What You Need to Know to Unlock Your Full Potential. You owe it to yourself to maximize your potential and optimize your performance, whatever your profession and position.