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When Coaching is Helping

Coaching continued… Last time, we ended on interpersonal communication, there is more to the critical skills of a coach, for instance, there’s helping. When we help, we make sure the person we’re coaching has all the necessary tools to be successful. We’re asking them to identify options and make recommendations about those options. Then we’re playing the game of cause and effect to weigh each option.

Helping also means becoming good at asking questions and digging deeper into situations. This is such a key part of coaching because it not only announces your intention to find a resolution; it helps the person you’re working with feel listened to. When you’re coaching, you’re going to come across ideas that aren’t yours. Learn to accept them with an open mind. The next critical skill is mentoring. It’s something we’ve all come across at some point in our lives. Someone actually might be coming to mind right now as we begin talking about it. If you have pen and paper in front of you, go ahead and write that name down. One part of mentoring might not be for you to mentor them, rather it might be for you to show them how to build a relationship like that on their own.


From the Coaches Perspective

Rather than coach you and mentor you, I might invite you to my next business luncheon where you’ll have full access to mingle with the people I work with closely on a weekly basis. Or maybe you’re new to the company and are nervous about heading to your first Friday Happy Hour down the street. Rather than just tell you to go on your own, I’ll walk down with you after work and introduce you to members of the team you haven’t had a chance to talk with yet. There might be meeting coming up that you’d find interesting and beneficial but you don’t have to be there. I would encourage you to talk to me about it so we can make sure there’s a spot for you to sit in on.


Essentially, your job is to be the Rolodex for that person. If there’s an area of interest you don’t know how to tap in to, let me see what I can find and help you meet the right people. At the same time, this might mean that you do become a mentor. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You should welcome it with open arms, especially if this is someone you can truly benefit. Remember that name you wrote down? Did they ever talk to you about the future? That’s a great way to show interest in someone and let him or her know you’re in his or her corner. With the right information, you might be able to help someone achieve the dreams they’ve been working toward for a lifetime. Let them know you care. You might even be a vessel for them to reach their dream job!


Through mentoring, you gain the insight to truly know someone and be able to help him or her reach any goals they might’ve set. It makes for a more productive person but also a more productive office space and professional environment. Sometimes coaching is mentoring, either way, it’s caring. A position of authority is not a prerequisite or defining characteristic of a coach. Coaching starts from a decision to genuinely help another. To be continued…

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