Sunday 10 January 2016

Coaching - the art of asking powerful questions

Good question.:

After coaching others for the last 15 years I undertook some CPD by attending an Association for Coaching accredited coaching workshop last summer. As with anything we've been doing for some time the biggest challenge was moving from unconscious competence - or perhaps in some cases unconscious incompetence. That is to put aside what I already knew, and be open to new and different perspectives and insights.

Coaching - like a lot of words - means different things to different people.

In essence it's about asking powerful questions to help the client identify where they are, where they want to be, and how to get from one to the other. Then it's a case of asking different and yet still powerful questions, as they move towards their desired outcome - supporting the client's learning and insight as they go. 

Unlike mentoring the coach may not need to know anything about the area the person is being coached on. So long as they have access to the right questions. That said, it's always useful for the coach to have experience in for example procurement because it's easier to understand the variables about which to ask questions. 

Coaches do have areas of expertise - some might for example excel at leadership, management, team working, communication, health or fitness coaching. Or they might cover all of these within a specific profession such as procurement, sales, marketing and so on. Or excel in a specific sector such as Pharma, Transport, FMCG and so on.

Whilst not exclusively so, the majority of my coaching clients work within procurement, and have ranged from buyers to CPOs. The types of coaching undertaken have included client's:
  • Developing a vision for their future
  • Implementing continuing professional development strategies
  • Understanding how to engage and work with others differently
  • Identifying barriers to progress and releasing them
  • Taking more personal responsibility for their actions (often linked to developing more emotional intelligence)
  • Developing category or supplier relationship strategies
  • Implementing these strategies 
In addition to asking powerful questions coaches also have a vast array of tools they can use to help a client explore the situation. What these tools are will very much depends on the coach - for more on the tools I use do see this post written last year. You may also want to read this post that explores my use of metaphor in much of my work.

Sessions may be ad hoc, involve a number of sessions over a period of time, or even be for an intensive 1 or 2 day session. 

Do get in touch if you'd like to explore more about the coaching I might be able to offer you, a team member or your team.

I look forward to speaking to you very soon.

Kind Regards

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring Change Inside and Out (more here on why that's important)
+44 (0)7770 538159  

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