A coach must be flexible enough to select and use language that will be most effective with a leader. Knowing the leader’s communication style is the first step.
Interpersonal Style. Your leader’s preferred communication style impacts interactions. Does your leader prefer conversations with humor? Do they need to discuss the big picture before getting into the details? Do they focus on logic or feelings? It is critical to be aware and conscious of communication styles and preferences, as well as flexible in style practices to contribute to positive and comfortable communications. Modeling this will help your leader recognize the importance of adaptable styles in interactions with others.
Communicate Openly. Be candid and direct when sharing insights and feedback. It is the coach’s responsibility to ensure the leader clearly understands the purpose of your sessions, the rationale of best practices, and the importance of your coaching relationship. Communicate clearly and completely. Avoid vague explanations, jargon, or half-truths to prevent hurt feelings or fear of retribution.
Eye Contact and Body Language. Be aware of cultural differences and use appropriate eye contact. Position yourself so you and your leader feel comfortable in each other’s personal space. Sitting at a table, as opposed to a desk, removes the barrier of power and creates a more intimate conversation. Keep an open body posture, supplementing your speech with natural facial responses and gestures. Provide quality meeting time so you can give your full attention.
The success of the coaching partnership is steeped in excellent communication. Reflect on these style reminders prior to each coaching session.