Use These Clear Communication Techniques in All Your Coaching Sessions (Coaching Session Skills Series, Part 3 of 4)
Yesterday I was working at my favorite coffee shop near my home in Connecticut and a woman came up to me and introduced herself. An aspiring life coach of many years, she recognized me from a New York Times article I was featured in a few years ago.
After a few minutes we found ourselves deep in conversation and coaching. She wanted my help to understand why she was struggling to make money as a coach and why, after 5 years, she was unknown online and struggling to make it in a career she so desperately wanted to make work.
I asked her about her training and she revealed to me that she’s been reading books on coaching, following coaches and their blogs, and doing all the free training she could. I was practicing the coaching technique of listening mastery with her as she spoke. The very same coaching session skills I shared with you on the blog last week for part two of my FREE training series all about coaching session skills.
I’m sharing this story with you today because it may be a powerful mirror for you and it will also help me to teach you a new coaching session skill this week: becoming a master communicator.
Now back to the coffee shop. The music is playing underneath us, people are talking in the background, and I ask her to tell me what she does as a coach. I was looking for what I could reflect back to her, to help her achieve the success she desires as a coach. I was doing more then asking her questions about what she does as a coach – I was also testing her responses as I opened up about personal challenges to get a feel for her coaching mastery.
I noticed a few challenges with her ability to communicate.She wasn’t specific or measurable when explaining what coaching was. If you want to be understood and clarify exactly what you’re trying to communicate, you’ve got to be specific and measurable in your communication. She used a lot of concepts from her internal experiences, which made it very hard to follow her. I felt no emotional connection as she spoke. It’s important not to be too clinical and detached when you’re building a coaching brand.
I reflected back to her that creating a space in her life where she’s willing to invest in increasing her skills as a coach may have a dramatic effect on her confidence and the results she can help her clients to achieve. The more she trusts herself and her genius as a coach, the more active she’ll be in sharing her work with the world. And when clients are on the other end of those masterful and artful coaching sessions they’ll be willing to invest as well.
You can’t expect people to invest in you when you’re not willing to invest in yourself.
Coaching session skills are hard to master by reading books and following other coaches. You need the space to be a student and receive support and devotion in helping you to master the art of coaching and becoming a feminine leader within your life and business.
I hope you’ve been enjoying my FREE training series all about coaching session skills. We’ve been exploring the skills you’ll need to use inside your life coaching sessions if you’re devoted to becoming a sought-after life coach.
So far we’ve covered:
Part 1: The 2 questions you need to correctly diagnose your clients.
Part 2: How to become an expert listener.
And now it’s time for Part 3, all about the techniques that will make you a beautifully clear communicator – your clients will love you for it. Here we go!
Many new life coaches don’t realize it’s not a given that their clients will understand what they’re saying. It’s common to assume that if you simply speak your mind, the other person will understand you. Nothing could be further from the truth!
The 5 Barriers to Clarity
You should be aware of these bumps in the road on your way to clear communication with your clients. Watch out for a tendency to fall into any of these communication traps:
Discussing something that’s not specific or measurable. If you want to be understood and clarify exactly what you’re trying to communicate, you’ve got to be specific and measurable in your communication.
Being too conceptual. When you only discuss your internal experience of something, it may be hard for your client to follow you.
Having no emotional impact. It’s important not to be too clinical and detached when you’re explaining a concept.
Any kind of unnecessary verbal gymnastics. Double meanings, rambling, or failing to make your upfront point. Don’t dance around your point and don’t try too hard to illustrate your point before actually making it. The fewer words you use to make a point, the better.
Using “two dollar” words. Larger-than-necessary words tend to deaden the emotional impact of your point. Not to mention your client may not fully understand the meaning of the words you’re using! Don’t be too much of a smarty-pants in your sessions.
Metaphors, analogies and verbal pictures are useful tools for Life Coaches.
There will be times when, no matter how clearly you explain something, your client just doesn’t get it or understand it. In these instances, use one of the following devices to help your client connect the dots:
Metaphors. This is connecting something unknown to something your client already knows. Let’s say my client is good at making business deals and bad at relating to her husband (yes most of my clients are women who are stuck in the masculine and seeking a more feminine way). I might talk about simply “making a deal” with him. She understands that, so then we can begin to work further and help facilitate some progress in her relationship with her husband.
Analogies. These are devices used in a series of relationships to relate ideas to one another. Think of it as using one complex system to help your client understand another. While working with the same client who’s trying to deal with her husband, I could say that failing to influence your husband is to your marriage as making a concession is to a big entrepreneur networking deal.
Notice in this example, I didn’t try to make the marriage and making the deal the same thing; I only describe the relationship within each complex system and discussed how they’re similar.
Verbal pictures. You’ll use real pictures, usually when you’re using a metaphor. Anytime you can, create a visual with your words to help your client understand. Here’s an example of using verbal pictures as well as metaphor together.
Leaders in business have a hard time delegating because they’re so good at what they do. Most of the women I work with are lone warriors. They pride themselves on being independent and shy away from support systems like sisterhood because they believe that is the only way to be successful and get shit done. They come to me because they are tired and believe there is another way. A better and easier way. Imagine you’re playing basketball and you’ve got the ball, but you’ll have to pass the ball and give it to others to score and receive more easy points yourself to win the game.
See how I created a verbal picture? Suddenly the lone warrior and concept of sisterhood is better understood when she pictured herself standing in front of the hoop alone. Use some of these communication techniques in your next session, and let me know how it goes!
Next week we’ll be talking about the exact leadership skills the feminine leaders and master coaches I work with inside Mentor Masterclass use to provide more value (and charge more money).
And if you’re loving this free training, it only skims the surface of everything we tackle over the course of a year in Mentor Masterclass, my all-in premium life coaching course. It takes so much more than simply following coaches to become a truly sought-after life coach! You may want to consider a program that teaches the high-level coaching skills that will turn your struggle into a celebration and prove that you DO have what it takes to become a life coach.
All my love,
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