Research Paper By Lucie Patria
(Executive Coaching, CHINA)
Better than a thousand hollow words Is one word that brings peace. Buddha (Dhammapada)
Communication relies on two keys, taking responsibility of your own speech and what it carries of your state of mind; and being aware that what a person expresses carries a share of its own emotion at the time which is only its responsibility, not the listener’s.
In a coaching relationship, communication and trueful exchange is determinant to pursue transformation and growth for the client. The present paper wants to introduce several approaches using words as tools and explore how those tools can transform a coaching practice by providing both the coach with tools to use during the coaching relationship, and the coachee with tools to use in its life and pursuit of change and growth.
II. Words in Marketing
While building and sustaining a coaching practice, many business approaches can be followed. They all involve some written elements such as leaflet, website, blog, model, workshop material and conversations through networking.
Words are very much part of marketing. They can be chosen as they are trendy, linked to a context, right to the spot, incentive and attractive to the targeted clients. They provide a public image to the coach and very often in the coaching area reveal and/or highlight a coach core values.
When networking and conversation intervene in the coaching marketing process, small talks tips (Lowndes, 2009) can be beneficial to break the ice and connect with people and possibly future clients. One invaluable part of the conversation for the coach to enhance the connection is to be in that moment an outstanding listener and words detective (Lowndes, 1999) to identify the topics of interest of the other person and rebound on those or also identify the buying word signals (Cappello & Coradeschi).
III.Words as tools for the coach in the coaching relationship
In the coaching relationship, the coach is in charge of the process. Its choice of words, explicit as implicit, is key to build a safe and trust zone, ensure the quality of connection and challenge a coachee in its ways of thinking and towards change.
1. Words through ICF Competencies
Throughout the ICF competencies, the coach is invited to pay attention to its client words and to choose its words. Below are some examples:
Clarity on words and their meaning, their definition, in the discussion between coach and coachee: Once the client and the coach share the language and concepts, they will be able to work together. The very first word to clarify is the word coaching and what to expect out of it. The same precaution is necessary in a cross-cultural environment where language and concepts can carry different meanings or weights.
Non-judgement practice in coaching session requires attention from the coach to maintain a good use of words to build-up and sustain a safe place for the client. This implies to avoid words that would put the coachee in a defensive mode and make him feel vulnerable.
Congruence of a coach living by its word and leading by example
Communicating effectively through active listening focusing on the client and identifying:
- words level to adjust to language level to the client,
- emotions and submodalities indicative of client learning style and personality,
- word patterns and pursue from those on powerful questioning,
Creating awareness in particular through feedback and paraphrasing using the words of the coachee or pointing out some words to create a shift of perspective, highlighting patterns and underlying beliefs
Promoting ownership, for instance by emphasizing the use of the responsible “I” talk instead of the blaming “you”
Acknowledgement and celebration offer positive words to a coachee. They represent as many milestones to account for its wins and progress.
2. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
NLP considers that all the cognitive processes (thinking, creating, imagining …) are functions of neuro-linguistic programs that are set in motion to reach an objective (Delivre, 2010).