Coaching techniques and tools - if used correctly - can change the client's life and help them achieve constant growth, prosperity, and sustainable success. Influential coaching transcends the ability to ask the right questions in the right order. Distinguished coaches have the expertise to guide their clients through the change process, develop their capabilities, enable them to reach their full potential, overcome obstacles, and achieve sustainable success.
Here are the 14 most effective coaching techniques and tools to improve the performance of your clients and enhance your coaching skills:
1. Check previous progress before starting the session:
Ask your clients to fill out a brief questionnaire before each coaching session, so that you and your clients know the amount of progress and success they did since the last session and to find out if they are facing any obstacles or challenges. This clearly shows you what is bothering them at the moment, and what they should focus on in their next session.
This technique helps your clients prepare mentally for the next session and make the preparations very effective. Hence, there will be no surprises, and you will be able to easily modify the session to suit their needs. You can also use this technique to provide effective coaching to groups and teams using answers as a starting point for the next meeting.
2. The smart goals technique:
Smart goals setting technique means that goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
This technique sets a clear structure for goals whereas each goal has clear and verifiable elements rather than lacking clarity in its details. For instance, the smart goals model transforms a general goal such as "business development" into detailed practical steps: I will earn five new clients for my coaching business this month by requesting recommendations from my current clients and asking them to write two useful articles, and publishing them on my blog and on social networks, which allows me to increase my profits and set up a prosperous coaching profession.
3. Encourage clients to write and share their notes after each session:
Encourage your clients to share their notes and conclusions after each session to appreciate the value they got from the coaching you offer them. You can help them do this easily with a few simple questions such as: "What is the point of this session?"
This coaching technique helps you clarify things and avoid misunderstanding. You can take these notes aside so that you and your clients can read and summarize them at any time later in the coaching process.
4. Ask open-ended questions:
Open-ended questions allow your clients to add more information, including their feelings, attitudes, and understanding of a particular topic. In addition, it gives the coach a deeper understanding of their client's thoughts and feelings about it.
5. The power of writing:
Writing down plans and goals is the first step towards achieving them since it obliges your clients to take action, especially when sharing it with someone else, such as a coach. Writing is ideal for working leisurely and helping clients notice their progress and express their feelings or thoughts, which clarify their goals and then an internal dialogue begins. Writing enhances the client's ability to observe and focus during the change or development process besides that regular writing also improves mood and reduces stress levels. A study conducted on two groups revealed that people who write down goals and prepare a weekly progress report achieved their goals by 76%. As for the participants from the second group who did not write anything, they achieved their goals by only 36%. Writing is an effective technique for helping clients achieve sustainable results in coaching.
6. Focus on clients and take care of them:
Breathe calmly before each session for two minutes. Once your meeting begins, try to avoid distractions, focus on your clients thoroughly, and show your concern for them. This may seem intuitive, but it is an important step in building a trustful and productive coaching relationship.
7. Give constant feedback:
Conduct regular surveys, where clients could share their progress, experiences, success, and the challenges they face. Continuous feedback between sessions is considered a great method to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the coaching. This would also show your clients that you are concerned with their progress which will give them a feeling that they are not facing these challenges alone. Thus, you would receive valuable information that could help you deal with the client’s case, and prepare for the next step according to the results. This coaching technique helps your clients take responsibility and commit to achieving their goals.
8. Coaching notebook:
A coaching notebook is where your clients can write down their thoughts and the progress they have achieved, which will help them develop and gain self-awareness. A coaching notebook is much like the previously mentioned feedback mechanism where they can put down their feelings, experiences, notes, challenges, and thoughts without having to wait until the next session which may be in a week or two weeks. This would allow them to share what is going on in their minds right away and would give them a feeling that you are listening to them even if you are not present at that moment which may be night or day, in the train station, or even in the doctor’s waiting room.
So, a coaching notebook makes them focus on themselves without feeling time pressures and away from distractions. After putting down their thoughts on their laptops or smartphones via a coaching app specialized in this regard, they can always go back to these ideas later to read or summarize them. When you read these notes, you will acquire valuable information which could help you move to the next level of the coaching process.
9. Homework to reinforce accountability:
Regardless of their name, these tasks support the progress that clients make during the coaching session. They help them think, take action, achieve the necessary milestones to reach their larger goal and see if the plans made in the coaching sessions are actually implemented, allowing them to focus on their plans, ideas, and goals.
Your clients receive a guide to apply what they have learned from coaching in real life and take responsibility for their development, actions, and success during the coaching process and in life in general. Clients are usually tasked with carrying out these duties by a certain date with some automatic reminders to enhance their accountability, which makes it a successful approach not only in work or life coaching.
10. (GROW) Model:
It is a simple method for setting goals and solving problems in coaching. It includes 4 stages:
It is the goal that the client wants to achieve, and it must be clearly defined, and it can be combined with the (SMART) goal technique.
It represents the status quo, where the client describes their current situation and how close they are to achieving their goal.
10.3. Obstacles and Options:
Determining the obstacles that prevent the client from achieving their goals, after which the stage of finding suitable ways to overcome them begins, which is the stage of options.
10.4. Way forward:
Once the options are identified, they must be converted into action steps that will help your clients achieve their goals.
11. Mutual task list:
Clients commit to various steps and action plans during coaching sessions. Once they write these tasks and share them with you, they come into play. They represent a contract between you and them and enhance their accountability. You and the clients can then see what has been achieved and what has not yet been achieved at any point in the coaching process, so you know if there are some stalls or difficulties that need your support. A mutual task list helps you prioritize, achieve milestones faster, and track small gains during the coaching process.
12. Visualize goal achievement:
This tool is based on a key question, and it is a very motivational coaching technique. The client will have a great mental experience if you ask them to describe in detail an ideal day after achieving their desired goal, but the description should not be vague; Rather, it must be a description of an entire day from its beginning till its end, where clients talk about how they feel after waking up, what they will do, and their feelings, so the client uses their positive imagination to picture what they want. Then you can work together to take practical steps to make this visualization a reality.
13. Develop coaching skills:
Each session allows you to become a better coach and enhance your coaching skills, so be sure to write some ideas right after the client leaves. You can track their reactions to the questions, and think about the techniques and methods you used in the session to evaluate them and see how effective they were. So, think of the overall success of the session and ask yourself: " would I do anything differently if I could redo the session? Then write down the notes, observations, and ideas, so you can use them for the next session. Like the famous American actor Philip Rosenthal says: "When you stop trying to improve your performance, you will fall back".
14. Digital Coaching Software:
Digital Coaching is a platform that supports you and your clients during the entire coaching process. It automatically organizes your communication with clients and enables you to easily implement all the coaching techniques and tools mentioned in this article. It guarantees continuous and long-term success and saves you a lot of time you need to perform your daily tasks, such as preparing for the coaching session, worksheet tasks, and documents.