4 Points to Consider About Coaching
By Khaled Elmasri, MS, Corrective Rehabilitation
Most of us have been on a plane and heard the flight attendant say numerous times, “If the cabin should lose pressure, an oxygen mask will fall from the compartment above. Place your mask on first before helping those around you who need assistance.” Those words of wisdom can translate into many aspects of daily life and especially in business pursuits.
For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the business application. The question that begs attention is this – How do we know when we are ready to mentor or coach another? I am a firm believer that everyone has something to contribute based on life experience, regardless of degrees earned, or certificates or achievements. However, when it comes to teaching others, I believe we need first to be taught.
Here are four points to consider regarding leading others.
1. It is important to know the difference between Mentoring and Coaching. A Mentor can be someone we look to as an example and whom we can emulate in our lives or business. This can occur without even having met the person. It can be accomplished through books, trainings, and live events, etc. Coaching indicates a more personal relationship. There is interaction between two people, one being the “Coach/teacher” and the other being the “student.” When we recognize this difference we become aware that we can unknowingly be mentoring at any time.
2. Know that “best intentions” may not be enough. Many have an interest in helping others. While this is a good and noble desire, it alone does not qualify us to teach or guide in every situation. Advice has its time and place – it just happens to be later and more infrequent than most leaders think. When we offer advice, we have a greater probability of shutting down the conversation than expanding it. We cannot solve, or become tempted to solve someone else’s problem, we become a roadblock to that person’s ability to solve the problem for themselves.
The Socratic Method is named for the process that Socrates used to teach Plato. It is a powerful tool where the teacher guides the learner through a series of questions instead of providing answers. Not only does it build the capacity of the coachee to think things through on his own, but it also does not assume that the leader has all the right answers. While a Socratic questioning session always takes longer than just telling the coachee the answers, it will deliver a more sustainable benefit.
3. Successful coaching begins with a relationship, the desire to connect and work well together. If the coachee is not interested in improving his/her current performance or career development, no growth will happen. So what do you talk about? While a lot of mentoring is spent coaching the coachee through current issues, many relationships will venture into the area of life/career ambitions. You can have tremendous impact as a mentor if you are able to help a coachee build long-term goals out of vague notions and strivings.
4. Self-evaluate. Take an honest look at your personal journey. Have you been a student along the way? Have you consistently sought information, advice, and expertise from other knowledgeable sources to assist you in your pursuits? Have you researched tools or trainings available to equip yourself to do so? Are you committed to the time that it may take to be trained, and then, are you prepared to meet the time and energy commitments coaching others could require?
The above points are designed as a roadmap for you to consider when becoming a coach to others. Like John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on Leadership.” By taking these early steps, you are beginning the journey of teaching and learning and “putting your oxygen mask on first!”
Founder, Nor-Cal Fitness Summit
Khaled Elmasri has been a leading trainer for 10 years and is currently coaching at Evolution Trainers in Mountain View, CA. He has a Master’s degree in Corrective Rehabilitation and training certifications from NASM, ACE, FMS, and TRX. He has been part of the Todd Durkin Mastermind Group for 4 years and created the NorCalFitness Summit in October 2013. The NorCal Fitness Summit is a platform for up-and-coming instructors that have incredible content to share with fitness professionals yearning for the next level. You can find out more information at www.norcalfitnesssummit.com.