Life Coaching Language and Communication Skills.

The quality of our communication determines how well we hear and are heard by other people.

Core conditions of coaching:

  • Empathy
  • Congruence (agreement, harmony)
  • Unconditional Positive Regard

The Art of Attending People

Immediacy: the quality of bringing one into direct and instant involvement with something, giving rise to a sense of urgency or excitement.

Yoda: "Do or do not. There is no try."

Attending and Immediacy skills:

  • Repeat what the other person says and reformulate it into a question. Like: "you were correction me..." turned into "correcting?" (with a questioning face).
  • Explicitly mention non-verbal behavior, like smiling, thinking, etc. Say what you see.
  • Asking to go deeper, by saying things like "such as...", "like what...", "why...", etc.
  • Summarizing what the other person said (and offering your interpretations).

All of the above techniques help to keep a conversation going.

Roadblocks to healthy communications

  1. Ordering, Directing, Commanding
  2. Warning, Threatening, Admonishing (reprimand firmly)
  3. Moralizing, Preaching, 'Should do's' and 'Ought to's'
  4. Advising, Giving Solutions, Suggesting
  5. Using Logic, Arguing, Over-Intellectualising
  6. Criticising, Judging, Assuming, Blaming
  7. Praising, Agreeing, Supporting
  8. Labelling, Name-Calling, Ridiculing
  9. Analysing, Interpreting, Diagnosing
  10. Reassuring, Sympathizing, Consoling (comfort someone) --> Empathise instead
  11. Questioning, Probing, Interrogating
  12. Avoiding, Diverting, Ignoring

Summarized, the twelve above points come down to asking questions in a conversation and letting the other person be in control and determine the conversation path.

The four stages of communications

  1. What I mean to say
  2. What I actually say
  3. What I hear he says
  4. What I assume he means

All communications should be dialogue by nature. It's a two-person dance, a two-way street.

The Communication Spectrum

Core Communication Skills

  • Attending (be present)
  • Immediacy (mention behavior that you see)
  • Active listening
  • Positive outcome focussed (keep your focus forward)
  • Reflecting back
  • Non-directed questions (W-questions)
  • Appropriate silence

All that coaching ever needs to be, is defining practical action steps.

Three levels of listening

  1. Internal listening (listening to ourselves)
  2. Focused listening (connecting with others)
    Use attending and immediacy first to really focus and ground with someone. When that happened, you know better what questions to ask someone.
  3. Global listening
    Combining focused listening (what the other person is saying) with internal listening (what you're thinking). Becoming a second set of eyes and ears for someone.

You do not need to know the answer to all problems. What you do need to know is the process that is required to solve them.

The six step 'no-lose' life coaching method (a framework for coaching conversations)

  1. Define the problem
  2. Brainstorm possible solutions (conversationally)
  3. Honestly evaluate the solutions
  4. Choose the best solution
  5. Plan some possible next action steps
    This is the only time when a coach could make suggestions.
  6. Choose date for steps to be taken by

Hierarchy of Ideas (or chunking up and -down)

  • Chunking up: greater agreement, look for the real reasons, look for the "why" behind something.
  • Chunking down: details and distinctions, give specific examples.

Chunking up is going abstract, chunking down is going specific.