Why I practice my coaching every week, and what it’s costing you if you’re not practising regularly.
Eight, nearly nine years ago I walked hesitantly into a community hall in Brighton for my first class in Argentine Tango. As well as being captivated by the drama and elegance of the dance, I was immediately struck by how challenging it would be for me to get any good.
So, what did I do? I committed myself. I resolved to do everything I could to master the dance, I knew then I was going to have to practice and not just hard, I would have to practice well.
Maybe you’re a new coach who has attended your first coaching course or possibly you have a desire to add to your existing toolkit. Perhaps you have a similar understanding of what it’s going to take to get really good at coaching as I had in that first dance lesson.
Or, you’ve had a similar experience to this one: you leave a training course, mind filled with new concepts, tools and methods that you could use to help your coaching clients more effectively. You’re excited to put your new found (and often costly) knowledge into your practice but where do you start? The answer here should be obvious – you get on with doing it.
Let’s be very clear. Just like the Argentine tango, coaching is a set of very specific skills and competencies and like any skill, you get good at coaching by doing coaching!
And does the need for careful, deliberate practice end when you finish training or get qualified? I hope not.
“When you stop growing you start dying.” William S. Burroughs
Read on to find out five benefits of regular coaching practice and what you, your clients and your coaching business could be missing out on if you don’t do it.
1. Practice gives you the chance to get feedback, and then try again
To introduce new coaching methods or reinforce old ones, I practice my coaching at least once, sometimes twice a week with other coaches. We have an agreement to test things on one another and we give each other permission to do that most valuable thing when learning a new skill, to get things wrong.
Feedback is a key element of skills development. If you’re not getting quality feedback on your coaching you could just be instilling your own bad habits. It would be better not to practise at all, if all you’re doing is practising your own mistakes over and over again.
When coaching for performance or personal development, much of my work involves inviting clients to try something new when their old methods are no longer serving them.
It’s an old, simple model but T.O.T.E. loops are at play here; we try something new, then ask – is this moving me closer to my desired destination, or further away? Then we modify and repeat until we reach our outcome. So too when I’m learning a new skill, and not just coaching and dancing – I also apply T.O.T.E. loops when I’m learning a new programming language or how to make music.