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The 3 Most Valuable Coaching Practices I’ve Learned To Coach Anyone

This month marks 15 years since I first started coaching people! And, maybe, just maybe, I think I can share what I've learned that can help you coach others too! 15 years ago: Jeff: "I'm a professional coach" Joe: “Coaching? Do you coach football?” I think Joe must have looked at my size or something and just assumed it must be football. No one ever mentioned gymnastics or long distance running! But, when asked “What do you do?” and I explained I am an author and a “coach” I would almost invariably hear the question:“What sport?” all the time. But, that’s not so much the case any more. Today, people throughout the world have recognized life, career, financial, business and insert the category _______ coaching is a profession that’s here to stay. When I left pastoring and leading a non-profit in 2001, there were roughly 3000 coaches in the US. (ICF said 2100 in 1999) NOW: According to the ICF (International Coaching Federation) Global Coaching Study, as of 2012, there were approximately 47,500 professional coaches in business worldwide with a cumulative annual revenue close to $2 billion.The forecast by IBISWorld Market Research is that the coaching industry will grow to over $4 billion by 2020. 
And I think coaching has the potential, almost more than any other profession or skill, to change the world for good. Really be a catalyst to help people change themselves and change their environments. However: I believe there are many, many more coaches both because so many do it on the side AND, as I want to share because ..YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A PROFESSIONAL COACH TO COACH PEOPLE. If coaching is all about developing people to their full potential and helping them and their teams fulfill their dreams or get from where they are to where they need to go, then consider others who can benefit from coaching skills and principles.

  • Parents

  • Employers

  • Mentors

  • Pastors

  • CEO’s

  • Non-Profit Leaders

  • Managers

  • Counselors

  • Consultants

  • Teachers

  • Team Leaders

  • Multi-Level Leaders

  • Executives

If you have an real interest, either by passion or position to see others become their very best and achieve better results, YOU CAN LEARN by applying coaching principles! So, without going into real detail, here, in15 years of professional coaching (this month!), here are three keys I’ve learned that apply to COACHING ANYONE.

1. Listen to their Stories and Dreams First

In today’s world of missing parents, megachurches and institutional education, I continue to be reminded that few really have had the opportunity to share their authentic stories and dreams with anyone in a deep and meaningful way.

Great coaching is more about listening then telling. You’re hearing someone’s heart and allowing them the space to let come out of their mouth what’ been banging around inside. Maybe for the first time.

When words of desire and dream come out of the mouth, it’s as if they become real. They come to life and sometimes become visions that become unstoppable.

I can’t tell you how many times I hear the words, “Ive never told anyone this before” in reference to their story or “I’ve never shared this” as it relates to their dream.

Yet, dynamic motivation and inspiration often comes when you care enough to get to know what makes them tick and tap into their bigger dreams.

(One of the best books I’ve ever read on this is called “The Dream Manager” by Matthew Kelly)

Two simple questions to ask someone your coaching:

If you were to achieve your full potential ,what would that look like?


If God blessed you fully in the next five years and you were to live into your dream, what exists five years from now that doesn’t exist now?

2. Navigate Via Curiousity

Another simple, yet powerful coaching principle involves remaining intensely and authentically curious about the person you’re coaching.

Long ago, I gave up showing up with a complete curriculum to get through each session. (though some structure does help) Instead, ask yourself, “What makes me curious?” “Why are they saying that?” “Why are they squirming right now?” “What’s getting them so amped up?”

Life and direction can change when you ask someone a profound or pertinent question. And the best questions come as you are fully present to them and

Listen to what they’re saying.

Listening to how they’re saying it. (and experiencing it with your whole body)

Listening to what they're not saying

Then, ask the question that’s REALLY in your mind. Not what you should say or could say. Say or ask what you really wonder.

3. Help Them See WHO They Were Meant to Be

Finally, help those you coach get a picture of who they are when they’re living at their very best or fulfilling their destiny. I call this, “Holding up the mirror.”

It’s incredible how the voices of fear, other fearful people or our own crud can distort the picture of who God created them and calls them to be. The words you use to help them see your mentee can and will change their lives.

Sometimes this means helping them see when they’re settling for the false self, the “mini-me” or some caricature of “bad them” they unknowingly accepted from a parent, employer, spouse or even bad coach.

Coaches (professional or not) who help others see who they really are change the world for great good. I’ve experienced it, watched it happen and love being a coach for that very reason.

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