by Suzie Doscher, Executive Coach and Life Coaching focusing on Personal Development, Self-Help Author: Balance - A Practical Handbook for Life's Difficult Moments
Coaching your team? Add this skill to your coaching style – being non-judgmental.
There is an abundance of articles on being a coach to your people. I enjoy reading the quality information provided by the Harvard Business Review.
The desire to increase, enhance or maintain the quality of work, and in some cases even the quality of life at work, is evident.
The article in the HBR: Most Managers Don’t Know How to Coach. But They Can Learn, offers wonderful insights on what coaching is all about and aims to achieve.
Your responsibilities include leading, motivating, inspiring and with your coaching you hope to further their growth, development and enhance their skills.
Feeling seen and heard and being there for them is what coaching actually is.
It is not consulting, telling or instructing them what to do, sharing your expertise.
As a professional coach I would like to add an important mindset for truly successful coaching - being non-judgmental. In my opinion this is the part that really allows the coachee to feel seen and heard. This is the area that allows people to truly feel supported. In the end it is all about support. Support allows you to step out of your comfort zone, into the unknown to grow and develop. To me the main skill, apart from listening well and asking questions that will provoke thinking, is being non-judgmental. I can only relate to my own coaching style and practice so am not speaking on behalf of all coaches.
For the sake of this article I am going to stick to the benefits of being non-judgmental.
So, you are now managing and leading people. You are no longer one of the ‘soliders’. You will have let go of being too involved in the day to day nitty gritty running of the business, you will have delegated to the right people and expressed your expectations clearly. Your coaching time is spent on keeping them focused, inspired and motivated to do their part of driving your vision forward.
You are clear what the goal is - HOW your team gets there is your responsibility.
You know the HOW depends on HOW you manage, lead, inspire and coach.
You aim to truly be there for your team. You schedule one-to-one meetings, listen with the desire to hear what is being said and consequently help them with any issues that come to the surface.
To do this effectively being judgmental serves the opposite purpose.
There simply is no room for judgmental thoughts or behavior.
To be open-minded which is essential if you wish to be non-judgmental you need to put your own mood, thoughts and most importantly opinions on hold. This creates space in the conversation for the other person’s thoughts, questions, feelings, beliefs and fears.
Do not forget that if your opinion differs from theirs, this will most likely be perceived as you being judgmental.
Consider these motivations to be non-judgmental:
What I wish for you to takeaway is the awareness that coaching will be most effective if you are truly there for the person. To achieve this, remember to schedule your one-to-one’s wisely and realistically.
Define clearly what your reason is for being their coach is, what motivates you to coach them? Without motivation it will be difficult for you to be open and interested. If you are squeezing these conversations into your already overloaded schedule then re-motivate yourself for choosing to coach them instead of simply wasting good time and energy.
It is better to have fewer meetings of better quality than frequent meetings of inferior quality. Quality over quantity.
I suggest you read the HBR for some valuable input.