by Ndidi Yaucher, DLCC Coach
Often when we think of “coaching”, it is in the context of personal goals such as career, relationships, finances, health/sports, and even one’s home environment. However, coaching communication skills such as powerful questioning, active listening and direct communication can easily be applied when interacting with employees. For these skills to be effective, the manager must shift expertise from self to the employee and believe that the employee is creative, capable and competent in performing their job.
- Asking powerful probing questions. Powerful questions evoke exploration, insight, discovery and action. These are open ended questions that start with “what” or “how.” These questions help employees brainstorm ideas and self reflect on areas of strength and work through opportunities for improvement. Asking questions engages employees in decision making and gains their perspectives on issues and challenges. When employees are engaged in their decisions they are also more likely to committed to their actions.
- Active listening. Active listening is a simple yet important skill that requires the listener to fully concentrate, understand, respond and remember what is being said. It also means listening to body language and other means of non-verbal communication. Listening shows that opinions are valued, and it gains respect and trust. Listening positively impacts the quality of the relationship between the manager and employees.
- Direct communication. Direct communication is the ability to communicate using positive language that is clear, articulate and direct. Direct communication helps establish mutually respectful relationships, which improves employee satisfaction and can boost productivity.
There is great value in applying these communication skills to the workplace. Recognizing employees as experts in their jobs has multiple benefits, including:
- Empowers employees to become committed and accountable to focused results
- Enhances problem solving and decision making skills
- Increases employee engagement
- Provides opportunities for self reflection and awareness, leading to meaningful changes within the individual that positively impact the business
- Develops and fosters productive individuals and teams
- Creates a positive, safe environment and improves team morale
Applying coaching skills is an important element to workplace training and development and results in engaged, committed employees.