Advanced Coaching Communication Skills
Connect Like a Coach
In this program you will learn and practice the final four of Thomas Leonards infamous 5 fifteens Coaching System: Clarifiers, Stylepoints, Frameworks and Deliverables. (The 15 Coaching Proficiencies have a complete course to themselves in Level 2) Each of the four fifteens is described here:
In order to know which of the proficiencies to use at any given time, the coach needs to know, and sort through, what they are hearing. Thus the 15 Clarifiers which help the coach know the nature of what they are hearing and guides them to select the most important element of what they are hearing. Once this is clear (it can take just a millisecond), the coach naturally choose the most fitting proficiency.
1. Urgent or Important?
Is the matter urgent or "merely" important?
2. Addressed or Avoiding?
Is the client addressing the problem/situation, or avoiding it?
3. Accurate or Interpretation?
Is the client being accurate or are they interpreting?
4. Open or Resistant?
Does the client sound open or resistant about what they are sharing?
5. Internal or External Reference Point?
Is what the client is saying coming from them or an external reference point?
6. Want or Could/Should/Need?
Is it a want or a something very different?
7. Opportunity or Possibility?
Is it a real opportunity or just a possibility?
8. Source or Symptom?
Is it the source of the problem or a symptom?
9. Opening or Share?
Is what the client is saying an opening for change or just an FYI/share?
10. Response or Reaction?
Is the client responding to a situation or reacting to it?
11. Create or Eliminate?
Is the the client creating something or reducing/eliminating something?
12. Problem or Concern?
Is the client presenting a problem or just a concern?
13. Present or Past?
Is the client coming from the present or the past?
14. Acceptance or Resistance?
Is the client accepting a change/new reality or resisting it?
15. Toward or Away From?
Is the client moving toward something or away from something?
The Style Points
How you come across and interact/relate with your player can accelerate or slow down the coaching process. We've identified 15 aspects of communication that we call the StylePoints. Each of these 15 StylePoints can help you become more effective coach by tweaking your coaching communication style.
1. Hears what is actually said.
Points off for misinterpreting, filtering, reframing.
2. Responds cleanly.
Points off for adding positive spin, responding to something that wasn't said, irrelevant comments, pouncing with a solution, trying too hard.
3. Takes player's concerns seriously.
Points off for being dismissive, not getting seriousness of situation, invalidating.
4. Speaks simply.
Points off for being long winded, long stories, convolution, repeating self.
5. Is light and neutral.
Points off for being heavy, significant, charged, flat.
6. Is collaborative.
Points off for lecturing, pushes for change, being 'on,' peppering with questions, pushes point of view/agenda.
7. Communicates in full-duplex mode.
Points off for not being able to speak and listen at the same time.
8. Fully expresses.
Points off for holding back, not being themselves, tries to coach 'correctly.'
9. Keeps up.
Points of for falling behind, backtracking, missing a shift the client has just made.
10. Hears between the lines.
Points off for missing dissonance, subtleties, hints.
11. Uses commonly understood words.
Points off for jargon or technical terms unfamiliar to the client.
12. Is self-assured.
Points off for meekness, timidity, bravado, arrogance.
13. Is client-centric.
Points off for self-referencing, competing for attention.
14. Is comfortable with problems.
Points off for rushing to fix, pointing mostly to the bright side, trying to make the client feel better, positive spinning, providing medicants.
15. Is "with" the client.
Points off for being distracted, preparing for response, thinking too hard.
Frameworks are places that the coach (and player) come from in their thinking, perception, behavior and attitudes. Frameworks expand thinking, which can result in players moving forward more quickly and with less effort. Think of a space ship being launched. It needs the thrust of booster rockets to break the inertia/gravity/weight to get the rocket beyond the pull/heaviness of Earth's atmosphere so that it can play effortlessly in space, where there is no resistance. Something similar happens to the player when their frameworks are expanded. Blocks to success are reduced and progress accelerates.
1. It's all solvable, or it's not.
When you have come to embrace this framework, the worry and panic has no way to grip your thoughts or actions. Comfort and confidence are byproducts of the framework that it's all solvable, or it's not. And when you are comfortable and confident, the value you add to your client will be greater because you'll be more available to them.
2. Risk is always reducible.
Given that so many of our clients are becoming more independent and entrepreneurial in how they think and how they work, their ability to deal with risk is key to their continued success. And from a coaching perspective, part of our job is to help the client to afford to take more risks. That risk can be mitigated to helping the client to arrange for reserves so that any failure has fewer consequences, and/or we can help the client find ways to substantially reduce the risk of what they are undertaking. Risk is always reducible. Less risk equals more value.
3. There's usually a better way.
No matter what the strategy or approach the client is thinking of, there is usually a better way. That's a powerful place to come from as a coach because stimulates your creative thinking as well as that of the client. If one looks, and is encouraged to think beyond the traditional ways of solving a problem or accomplishing an outcome, a new, better, easier, faster, less expensive and less risky way is usually available. And, from the client's perspective, instant value has been added when it is discovered.
4. Success is a byproduct.
Going after success directly can definitely work but that's like pushing string. It's usually a lot easier to live the life you want and develop/follow your passion and let success find you.
5. Emotions are our teachers.
Even emotional reactions, if you wish to learn from them. Emotions are are barometers, our teachers, our mirrors of what is left to learn.
6. Delay is increasingly expensive.
The windows of opportunities open more often, yet shut more quickly than ever before. And with the consumer has come to expect immediate service, delivery and problem resolution, a highly responsive competitor can make its mark in mere months, not years. Combine that dynamic with the level of flow and just-in-time synchronicity that humans are coming to rely on to be their best, and the notion of delay is fading quickly as a viable option in life and business.
7. Inklings are higher intelligence.
The definition of an inkling is a subtle sense of something, even with no evidence to back it up. An inkling is even quieter than intuition and even more powerful. Inklings are at the gateway of truth and as we sensitize ourselves to feel at this level, we get access to inklings and have the courage to act on them, vs waiting for them to become intuition or fact. As clients come to trust their inklings, they make better choices sooner. A clear value add.
8. The answer is somewhere.
Does the player have the answer? Or does the coach? How about a book? How about the ethers? The point here is that it doesn't really matter where the answer is, but that there is an answer somewhere and it's up to the coach and player to find out where it is. This also stimulates the creative/collaborative relationship between coach and player, instead of forcing either party to come up with the answer.
9. Self-confidence can be arranged.
You don't need to rely on yourself to feel confident. You can arrange ample support structures and encouragement, and design situations that will feed you the confidence you need because you've earned it.
10. Memes and genes are evolving at different rates.
We all know what genes are: they are the genetic make up of living things; there are genetic structures, the genome and the gene pool where replication and mutation are the process, and natural selection is the byproduct when environments change. Memes are EXACTLY the same type of thing; except that memes refer to ideas, messages and opinions that are shared (replicated) and modified (mutated). And, given memes can replicate 1000's of time faster than genes can, and also evolve that much faster as now thanks to the Internet, our bodies are pressured/stressed by changing ideas before our cells have a chance to adapt and keep up. Hence, mental stress.
11. Work is for joy.
What good is owning a business if it doesn't bring you pleasure? What good is having a job that doesn't bring you joy? The point here is that when you come from this place, you'll be encouraging your clients to have a much more enjoyable relationship with their business or work, even if it means that the client has to make substantial changes in order for this to occur. So, rather than be consumed by a business or job, have it actually be a source of joy. Novel concept for many. Instant value add.
12. Problems are immediate opportunities.
Got a problem? There is likely an immediate opportunity for you in that problem. Either a chance to grow/evolve, or a chance to learn something, resolve something, use as a spring board, and even as a profit center/business.
13. People are doing their very, very best, even when they clearly are not.
When you look at life this way, compassion, empathy and respect are the norm.
14. Awareness is unifying.
What unifies humans? What helps us transcend the petty reactions and historical conflicts? Awareness, meaning the dawning/understanding of truths greater than the one we currently know. Not just information/knowledge, but truths. As we all increase awareness, we see the commonality/ connections among all of us; that can lead to harmony.
15. Life is about us, and it's not personal.
And yet it can feel so personal.
Deliverables are what the coach delivers; Which is distinct from the outcomes that the player may have or cause as a result of the coach's deliverables. (Deliverables vs. outcomes is a key distinction in coaching.) Just knowing these will improve your Coaching.
The coach provides fresh or different ways of looking at a situation, context.
Points off for limited, ill-fitting or coach-centric perspectives.
The coach validates via encouragement and acknowledgement.
Points off for puffery, mushiness, exaggeration.
The coach shares fitting knowledge, opinions, or wisdom.
Points off for clichés', Hallmark Card sayings, off-the-mark messages.
The coach provides energy and support as needed.
Points off for adrenaline, misreading energy need, hype.
The coach shares a solution to a problem or issue.
Points off for off-the-shelf solutions, single solutions, being absolute.
The coach co-develops a plan of action with the client.
Points off for just to-do list, missing timelines/deadlines.
The coach provides support and a check-in structure for the client.
Points off for being 'too loose or too strict,' not calibrating to client wants.
The coach suggests/refers client to experts, books, tools, assessments.
Points off for rushing in with a resource, or for presenting ill-fitting resource.
The coach expands the number of options the client thought they had.
Points off for missing obvious and out-of-the box options.
The coach cares via listening, patience, safety and love.
Points off for taking on a parental/sibling role, sharing the burden.
The coach trains clients in personal and business skills.
Points off for convincing, selling or pushing skills on clients.
The coach provides advice via recommendations and suggestions.
Points off for single-option, risky advice; advice beyond legal/ethical scope.
The coach develops or co-develops a personal or business strategy.
Points off for tactics-only.
The coach offers feedback, observations, insights, ideas and opinions.
Points off for reactions, agendas, narrow feedback.
The coach provides a challenge to the player to stretch or make a change.
Points off for setting up the player for failure, pushing too hard; not enough.