Some people are born leaders, some become leaders by accident, whereas most learn how to be good leaders. Apart from a select few who instinctively understand how to lead, most executives employ the services of business coaches who guide them on how to be effective leaders. After all, even the best of managers & senior executives require regular upgrades on how to lead!
As such, your role as a business coach is vital in not just guiding or motivating your client in their respective work roles, but also in nurturing their personal development, helping them focus on challenges & goals, and encouraging them to make their own choices.
As a coach you need to chart out the most effective business coaching strategies that can deliver transformative results for your clients and their organization.
So, let’s dive in and find out more about the 10 best business coaching strategies that you as a coach should employ to create successful engagements for your clients.
1. Get to know your clients, build mutual trust
A good business coach makes the time and effort to understand their client – their thoughts, strengths, weaknesses, motivations, challenges, career aspirations, etc. This first step is vital to any future success of the coaching program. Invest in understanding your client, be open, honest & transparent in your communication as this will gradually build a level of trust between you and your client.
Once there is trust between you and your client and they realize that you only have their best interests in mind, not only will it boost confidence in their own abilities but it will make the client more receptive to implementing your coaching advice and tips. Mutual trust will positively impact the process as well as the result.
2. Listen first, ask questions later
One of the most effective business coaching strategy that you as a coach need is to first listen and listen well; after all coaching is about the one who is being coached. So, focus on their thoughts, concerns, needs and objectives without interrupting or being too quick to advice.
Once you have all the information, then put forth your questions, in an open-ended manner, so that your client can respond in an elaborate, well-thought-out manner. This will help you challenge their thought process, gauge knowledge levels, work attitude and their interest in the topic at hand.
Not only that, if you pay close attention, then you can infer a lot from non-verbal cues such as their head or hand movement, breathing, and even facial expressions – you can put forth those observations in a curious (non-attacking) manner and ask probing questions to delve deeper and get more information that the client may not be actively relaying to you during the interaction.
3. Emphasize that this is a collaborative venture
One of the important business coaching strategies includes conveying to your client that the coaching process is a not a competitive but a collaborative effort and requires commitment from both parties to deliver transformative results. It is also important to be clear that it is not an advisory or consultant role as well, wherein you as a coach are expected to provide them with answers.
The collaboration requires the coach to be the mirror or a sounding board – which the client can use to then come up with their own answers and solutions.
4. Empower clients to self-achieve
One of the golden business coaching strategies that you can aim towards is that the lesser your client eventually requires you as a coach, that shows that you have done your job of empowering your client towards self-awareness.
A good coach always places their client in the driver’s seat, acting only as side navigator, letting them take the wheel to think for themselves, work on skills that need improving, zero-in on their challenges and learn to problem-solve, instead of expecting to be spoon-fed.
Including self-improvement training exercises in the coaching process can help clients identify obstacles as well as further develop their strengths. This type of coaching is an effective way to instill a learning ethos in the organization.
5. Different individuals have different requirements
Every individual that you coach comes from a different background, mindset, education, has varying skills, and needs to be assessed as such.
Let’s say you are an executive business coach working with an organization where you are interacting with junior-level, inexperienced employees as well as key contributors and decision-makers who bring a lot of knowledge and expertise as well as the time they’ve spent with the company.
In such a scenario, to avoid future confusion & mismanagement, it is better to categorize the groups separately as newbies and senior executives, as they will require different kind of coaching intervention. A junior member, who is looking to further their career, will need more information and guidance starting out whereas the top-level executive has a different set of responsibilities and challenges that will need a separate approach.
6. Set clear processes & goals
Stress the importance of having a strategic plan in place to your client, one that will help them define clear, structured objectives and goals that are time-bound, accountable & quantifiable. Steer them towards setting up team meetings to brainstorm innovative and out-of-the-box ideas that will help achieve those goals.
The biggest benefit of this business coaching strategy is that it becomes easier to develop a timeline that helps keep track of the progress, brace for any challenges that may arise and develop deeper levels of team cohesion toward completing that goal.
7. Cultivate man-management skills in your clients
No two human beings are the same; each individual will have their own perspective, thought process and plan of action to any particular task. As such, it is absolutely normal that certain conflicts or differences of opinions may arise.
Interpersonal disputes can have far reaching consequences not just on a particular project but also on the entire team. It vitiates the work environment and diverts the focus from the set goals.
One of the most useful (but one that needs to be handled with care) business coaching strategies is to help your clients cultivate man-management skills. After all, the human resource (and a happy human resource at that) is the biggest strength of any organization.
Encourage your client to have an open-door policy with team members, where they can have frank communication to understand any inter-departmental problems and set up a process to address those issues and avoid similar disagreements in the future.
8. Applaud achievements & milestones
Nothing motivates and energizes an individual as much as praise or cognizance of good work by their seniors. As a coach, you should stress the importance of praising & celebrating milestones and achievements, whether it is as an individual or as a group.
This is one of the more effective business coaching strategies to keep team members on track towards their set goals, inspire them to do better in the future, and keep the team morale high.
9. Be frank about constructive assessment
Just as there is a place for good work & fine achievements receiving its due praise and applause, so is there a place for honest, constructive assessment. As one of the most critical aspects of business coaching strategies, the way you provide feedback can have a serious impact on deciding a team’s future course.
As a coach, imparting constructive feedback via a well-crafted message would have a greater chance of getting a positive or corrective response than just pointing out mistakes and what went wrong.
Set up a process to assess what went right, what went wrong and what can be done differently & improved upon. Documenting the responses to these questions is not only necessary for continuous improvement but will also provide future references on tasks well done & lessons learned.
10. Ask for feedback on your coaching technique
Just as giving constructive feedback is a vital business coaching strategy, receiving feedback is equally important. As a coach you need to continuously evolve, upgrade and learn to adapt to changing work cultures.
Always ask your clients for honest feedback on your coaching processes and areas where they think you need to improve. Keep your ego out and evaluate your own performance with an open mind as a coach based on the feedback.
This will help you work on your personal development to deliver a better coaching experience for your clients going forward and in turn could lead to better (or quicker) results for your clients.
Are business coaching strategies essential for high-impact engagements?
Business coaching is ultimately a relationship where the coach supports, motivates and provides a roadmap to the client to refine their vison and achieve transformative results.
So yes, business coaching strategies are essential for high impact engagements when employed by a professional coach as they can act as value addition to the client and assist them with continuous skill upgradation & learning, breakthroughs in company goals, implementing best-practice systems and processes – all of which will finally help them grow their business and revenues.