Module 5 ~ Lesson 1
Business coaching is the process of engaging in regular, structured conversation with an individual or team whereby the primary goal is to enhance the “client’s” awareness and behavior so as to achieve business outcomes for both the client and their organization.
Business coaching empowers the client to understand and take responsibility for their role in achieving business success, and to enhance that role in ways that are measurable and sustainable. The coaching process may take different forms (e.g., individual or team coaching) and involve different goals (e.g., problem solving, implementing effective business systems, increasing business and profitability, career and exit strategy, leadership/executive development, creation of high-performing teams).
Asking for Help
You can’t help (coach) someone who hasn’t first asked for help! You must decide in the initial meeting if the agent is coachable and committed to the coaching and accountability process. Effectively using the skills and suggestions outlined below will assist you in making that determination.
Coaching helps the one asking for help by:
- Identifying and maximizing business ideas and opportunities
- Gaining clarity and more self-awareness
- Setting obtainable goals and outcomes
- Increasing productivity and performance
- Staying focused and keeping on track
- Enjoying the journey to success and results!
Focusing on the Person, Not the Subject
Coaching is the key to unlocking the potential of your people, your organization, and yourself. It is based on the concept that individuals learn most from the everyday application of skills and by trying things out in practice.
The coaching is all about helping others to identify and define their specific goals, and then organize themselves to attain these goals. Coaching deals with building an individual’s personal skills, from setting the goals, to communication to management style to decision-making and problem solving. Coaches draw upon a client’s inner knowledge, resources and creativity to help him or her be more effective. It is about bringing the same structure and creativity to your interaction with colleagues as you bring to solving business problems.
Foundation of all successful coaching is an open, trusting relationship and goodwill. This trust may exist from previous interactions between the coach and player – or the coach may need to earn it. A powerful way to do this is to disclose some of your strengths, weaknesses, experiences, and lessons learned.
Rapport is a process of building a sustaining relationship of mutual trust, harmony and understanding. It is essentially meeting individuals in their model of the world. This happens through matching the accessing cues from words, eye movements and body language.
Rapport is achieved when two people can see the other person’s viewpoint, appreciate each other’s feelings, and be on the same wavelength. We all have different maps of reality – ways in which we perceive the world – and we tend to really trust people who look at the world the way we do.
If we feel understood, we give people our trust and open up to them more easily. Taking the other person’s perceptual position will help you achieve rapport and build trust.
To create rapport, it is important to mirror, match, and pace the person or persons with whom you are communicating. In order to do so, it is important for you to open your sensory channels. You can train yourself to build and refine this skill.
Opening your sensory channels provides you with the ability to see, hear, and sense external changes (minimal cues, both verbal and nonverbal) presented by individuals with whom you are communicating.
- Facial expression & blinking
- Tone (pitch)
- Tempo (speed)
- Timbre (quality)
- Volume (loudness)
- Predicates (visual, auditory, kinesthetic)
- Key words
- Common experiences & associations
- Content chunks (big picture or detailed people)
- To inform – you are providing information for use in decision-making, but aren’t necessarily advocating a course of action
- To request a specific action by the receiver
- To persuade – to reinforce or change a receiver’s belief about a topic and, possibly, act on the belief
- To build relationships – some messages you send may have the simple goal of building good-will between you and the receiver
- Know your audience and match your message to the audience.
- Respect your audience and suspend judgments.
- Know exactly what you want to achieve.
- Think and organize before you proceed.
- Think from your audience point of view.
- Be mindful of what your face and body are conveying nonverbally.
- Listen carefully to all responses.
- Be willing to share what you know and hear what you don’t know.
- Stay focused on what you want to achieve and don’t get distracted.
- Find a way to get your audience to explain what they think you said. Discuss differences until you hear a satisfactory version of the message you wanted to convey.
Benefits of Effective Communication
- Achieves shared understanding
- Directs the flow of information
- Helps people overcome barriers to open discussion
- Stimulates others to take action to active goals
- Channels information to encourage people to think in new ways and to act more effectively
Benefits of asking versus telling:
- Establishing rapport: don’t try to impress people with your ideas, rather establish rapport and trust by eliciting ideas from them and thus expressing how much you care about them
- Better listening, deeper understanding: all too often, while you are talking, your prospect is not listening but thinking about what he/she is going to say. When you ask questions, you make your prospect think in the direction you propose.
- Higher motivation, better follow-up: the right answer will not be imposed by you, it will be found and owned by your client, who will be more motivated to follow it up
Types of Questions
- Open: Question does not invite any particular answer, but opens up discussion or elicit a wide range of answers for creative problem solving.
- Closed: Question is specific and must be answered with a yes or no, or with details as appropriate.
- Fact-Finding: Question is aimed at getting information on a particular subject.
- Follow-Up: Question is intended to get more information or to elicit an opinion.
- Feedback: Question is aimed at finding the difference that makes the difference.
Active listening is a communication technique used in coaching, training and conflict resolution, which requires the listener to effectively reflect back what they hear to the speaker, to confirm understanding of both parties.
Keys to active listening include:
- Listen for ideas, not facts – ask yourself what do they mean
- Judge content, not delivery, i.e. what they say, not how they say it
- Listen optimistically – don’t lose interest straight away
- Do not jump to conclusions
- Be flexible, adjust your note-taking to the speaker
- Concentrate – don’t start dreaming – and keep eye contact
- Do not think ahead of the speaker – Avoid the tendency to think about what you will say after they stop talking
- Work at listening – be alert and alive
- Limit the time you speak
- Keep emotions under control when listening
- Open your mind – practice accepting new information
- Relax physically, get comfortable; breathe slowly and deeply
Verbal Techniques of Active Listening
- Repeat key words as an encouragement and confirmation that you have heard and understood.
- Paraphrase: Briefly play back what has been said but in your own words to confirm you’re listening and check your understanding.
- Encourage: Use simple phrases to encourage. ‘Go on,’ ‘And then what?’
- Ask for clarification: Stop the speaker when you lose the thread of the argument or not understand and ask for clarification.
- Express empathy: Reflect the speaker’s feelings; show that you understand them without necessarily agreeing with them.
- Summarize the main points and any discussions taken at the end of a topic. This is more than paraphrasing as you are providing a summary of a section.
Non-Verbal Techniques of Active Listening
- Send open body language signals: Use nods and smiles to signal encouragement or agreement. Have a relaxed body posture. Lean forward slightly but do not invade the speaker’s personal space.
- Use the right amount of eye contact: Avoiding eye contact suggests you are uninterested. Staring is threatening. Focus around the area between their eyes and bridge of the nose.
- Listen to emotions: Listen to the tone and how things are said, not just what is said. The tone conveys more message than words.
- Listen more and use silence: Allow the speaker time to think. Let him or her end the silence most times. This also prevents you from rushing in with inappropriate reactions just to fill the silence.
Feedback is more likely to be acted on when:
- Strong relationship of trust and goodwill exists between you and the receiver.
- It is given with passion (from the heart), as from one loving friend to another – someone who cares a lot about you and the organization in which you work.
- It is asked for by the recipient or offered and only given if the other assents.
- The timing is right. As immediate as possible but when the other feels receptive.
- The balance is right, i.e. much more appreciation is given than criticism.
- The form is right, i.e. it is phrased in a non-evaluative way – concise, accurate and descriptive.
In this stage of the coaching process, the coach’s intention is to gain commitment to action. Coach and client select the most appropriate options, commit to action, define the action plan, the next steps and a timeframe for their objectives and identify how to overcome any obstacles.
It is imperative that you set clear expectations with the agent you are coaching from the beginning. The best time to explain your coaching process, any guidelines and discuss what they can expect from you and what you expect from them in during the initial coaching intake session.
Coaching Agreement. If you choose to use a formal coaching agreement, take a look at the “Coaching Resources” on the following pages for some content you could revise to suit your needs.
Accountability. One of the coach’s primary roles is to hold the client responsible and accountable. The client is responsible for their actions and results.
The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole.
Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:
- Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
- Encourage client self-discovery
- Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
- Hold the client responsible and accountable
The primary objectives in the initial coaching session are:
- Discover and assess where the agent currently stands in regards to their business systems and their production
- Have the agent decide on initial priorities – which systems to work on first
- Set the expectations of coaching with you and explain the process
- Gain agreement and commitment to the coaching process
Use either one of these documents to conduct the initial discovery session:
- Running Your Business as a Business
- Real Estate Business System Assessment
After you have completed the initial assessment, reviewed the status of current business systems and production and established the priorities with the agent, you are ready to start conducting follow-up coaching sessions.
It is highly recommended to always start with the Business Plan & Goals. You will find that, most agents don’t actually have a written plan or goals! Everything will naturally build from assisting the agent with developing clarity around their goals and the target areas for business generation.
Your coaching sessions should always result in a commitment from the agent to complete 3-5 specific action items towards whatever priority or system you are working on with them.
Generally, you will be covering a lot of the same material, recommendations and action items with the agents you coach. Of course, each agent has individual needs, goals, strengths and weaknesses that will require you to modify and customize your approach.
Handling Resistance and Challenges during Coaching
- Most people are uncomfortable with change – getting out of their comfort zone. Real growth and progress happens when people are willing to stretch their boundaries and operate out of their comfort zone.
- Resistance – objection handling
- Be prepared to handle and process…..Problems – Procrastination – Excuses
- What do you want to achieve? What are your goals?
- What is the path towards achieving your goal? What are the specific steps on this pathway?
- What are you best at doing for yourself? How do you do that? How can you apply these skills in new ways to achieve your goals?
- What are you least practiced at doing? What level of excellence would you like to achieve in this area?
- What might be the first step to help you improve your skills? What is the first improvement you can make then in coaching yourself?
- What might be your next step?
- What one specific action would have the greatest impact on bringing this plan to fruition?
- What is the one action that you most need to take today?
- What do you feel inspired and ready to do now?
- How is that working for you?
- Does that take you towards or away from your goals?
- Would you like to be right or free (have peace)?
- Whose choice is that?
- Are you focusing on lack or abundance?
- So what needs to change? Or who needs to change?
- Are you being honest with yourself?
- Is that your highest choice?
- What is your highest choice?
- Are you challenging yourself?
- Are you capable?
- Who is in charge of your success? Your environment?
- Is that reactive or proactive?
- What is the next step?
- Have you given yourself permission?
- Who is really stopping you?
- Is that acceptance or denial?
- Is this challenge bigger than you?
- Is that really a need?
- Is that love or fear?
- Are you asking me or telling me?
Additional supporting documents to download:
- Key Coaching Questions
- Success Action Plan
- Five Habits
- Coach Meeting Notes
- Sample Coach Commitment Form
If you have not already done so, go to the Module 5 Overview page and download the Workbook, Slide Decks, and all related Documents for this module.