When people ask me what I do as a leadership coach and what my coach training programs entail, the first question I get is “What is Neuro-linquistic Programming (NLP)?” While the practice of executive and leadership coaching and its place within today’s successful organizations is gaining acceptance, many people are not aware of the different modalities coaching professionals can utilize within their practice. Because of this, they also may not be aware of what coaching techniques might be most beneficial for their organization.
If you are reading this blog post and you would like more information on NLP please check out this blog post. This should give you some great perspective as we dig into our topic for this post –The skills needed to be effective in NLP.
As an executive coach, my job is to provide the coachee with the tools they need to make appropriate decisions that will help them reach their business and personal goals. It would be foolish for me to assume that I can just walk into an organization and start pointing out shortcomings or offering input without the appropriate skills in place to facilitate a meaningful coach/coachee relationship. With that in mind, here are some important skills that must be mastered as a coach to create positive coaching outcomes.
Building rapport is all about developing the foundation for the coaching relationship. This is a process that not only establishes a level of trust, but it also helps to create positive communication between the coach and the coachee. Rapport includes both internal and external focuses. External rapport means that we have a feeling of trust and mutual understanding with another person. Conversely, internal rapport creates clarity, focus and understanding among our different parts. As a coach, it is my job to foster both types of rapport to create a positive coaching relationship. NLP teaches us many linguistic techniques to build rapport with out clients easily and effortlessly.
The purpose of coaching is to guide the client towards their desired end-result. With than in mind it is an executive coach’s job to help the leader define their desired outcomes and help them create a plan to get there. Helping a client to clearly state what they do want, rather than what they don’t want, is essential. We can make better decisions when we are clear about the desired outcome. The neuro part of NLP (neuro linguistic programming) works with helping our clients learn to set their reticular activating system (RAS) which is the portal through which nearly all information enters the brain. This part of the brain labels all information that is important to the client and when as a coach we support our client to create well formed outcomes, their RAS can start to work to support our client in reaching those outcomes.
Utilizing Sensory Acuity
The world in which we live and coach is not one-dimensional. With that in mind, it is important that a coach is able to develop and utilize the skill of perceiving or experiencing through different lens and filters. Each individual experiences this world just a little bit different from another, some are more visual, some are more auditory and some or more kinesthetic. Subsequently, how we sense things is also slightly different. Using NLP allows the coach and the coachee to create an understanding of how information is being processed within their coaching relationship by asking questions and observing reactions as well as having an understand of how a person processes information. There are many NLP tools that help us get to better understand our client and how to best support them.
Exhibiting Behavioral Flexibility
There is a saying that goes – “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” As a coach it is crucial to embrace this type of mantra. As I noted in the sensory acuity section, we are all unique individuals and therefore, experience things differently. This means that, in general, there is not one set approach that works for every individual. As a coach, it is crucial to be flexible to the idea of changing direction if a given approach is not having the desired effect. Being flexible is a key to being successful as an NLP Coach.
Learning how to incorporate these skills into a coaching relationship takes practice. This is why it is important to receive the proper coach training – specific to NLP coaching techniques. For more information coach training, or the programs available through the Academy of Leadership Coaching & NLP, please feel free to contact us.