Posted: December 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

√ Life Coaching Skill #2: Questioning

Life coaching is not counseling. It is not giving advice. Sometimes, those may sneak in, but coaching is a different practice from counseling.

Questioning skills are to life coaching what the tool box is to the auto mechanic. Asking the right questions in the right way and at the right timing distinguishes a good life coach from the mediocre.
Questions are the tools for the trade. A life coach must ask questions in such a way as to help the client excavate the solution by herself. When the client arrives at an answer by herself, she owns it. She becomes more committed to the process of change than if you just prescribe the answer.

Here are some “unorthodox” ways I employ to continually polish my questioning skills:

• Listening to high profile cases such as the Oscar Pistorius trial. I learn a lot from the way veteran lawyers ask questions.

• Watching world class journalists conduct interviews. I particularly loved the retired Larry King. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and Richard Quest, as well as BBC’s HardTalk host, Stephen Sackur are among my favorites.

• I interact a lot with children. Children are a natural when it comes to asking questions!

“Mummy, do angels fly?”

“Yes, dear, they do.”

“Yesterday, while you were out shopping, Daddy called the housemaid an angel. Can she fly too?”

“Most certainly! I’ll make sure she flies back to her village first thing tomorrow morning!”

Notice the enormous change that innocuous questions can achieve!
√ Life Coaching Skill #3: Rapport

In the first century AD, the diehard Saint Paul wrote: “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.” There is no better illustration of rapport than this.

For the life coach, it is impossible to connect meaningfully with a client unless there is rapport. Rapport is the process of you participating in the internal world of that person. A life coach can achieve rapport through empathy – demonstrating genuine interest in the affair of the client. In a face-to-face session, your body language, the tone of your voice and choice of words would radiate acceptance and trust. Rapport builds a non threatening atmosphere that encourages your client to share at a deep level that would guarantee the desired change.
√ Life Coaching Skill #4: Working with beliefs and values

When a 45-year old client sits across the table, facing you, you are dealing with 45 years of calcified beliefs, values and attitudes! He is the way he is because of the environment that shaped him and the values he has internalized. Since ou are confronting a worldview that took decades to form, you’d better possess the skills for dealing with disempowering world views.

A middle aged client of mine battled bitterly with the early parental audios that played endlessly in his head. He had a toxic father who always told him that he was useless. It affected his performance at school and followed him to his career. Thirty years later, his father’s voice is still castrating his self confidence.

Negative or faulty beliefs are always primarily responsible for the performance barriers of our clients.
A life coach must have the skills for detecting thinking errors, diagnosing blind spots, challenging disempowering world views, bursting myths and negative beliefs that hold people down.

A working knowledge of psychocybernetics, neurolinguistic programming (NLP), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Gestalt psychology would be unquestionably valuable. I am also currently exploring Jungian psychology.
√ Life Coaching Skill #5: Self education skills

A life coach must be an avid reader, researcher and personal development addict. You have heard it said that you cannot give what you do not have.

Speed reading and note taking skills would greatly amplify a life coach’s ability because there are tons of materials to explore and digest in only a very short time.

Because I am very interested in helping people achieve their desired change in their health, relationships, career or finances, as short time as possible, I am constantly exploring the world of research in psychology, education and entrepreneurship. I am always on the lookout for new tools, tested and proven processes for personal change.

Your credibility as a life coach is in your result. Are people getting helped in your practice? Your result depends on your skills and abilities as a life coach. How current are you? How accurate, relevant and effective are you?
√ Life Coaching Skill #6: Entrepreneurial skills

It is true you are helping people experience success, good health and happiness. But you are also running a business. You might be a very good life coach and fail as a businessman.

Michael Gerber, in his classic E-Myth Mastery, describes the difference between a successful entrepreneur and the one that is being strangulated by his business. The successful business owner works on his business while the struggler works in it. Part of the reason, he says, is that life coaches tend to have the imbalance of three personalities – the technician, the entrepreneur and the manager.

You cannot be everything – the life coach, the accountant, the legal consultant, the manager, etc. Knowing how to spend your time, energy and resources strategically will determine the profitability and sustainability of your life coaching practice.

Getting entrepreneurial education and hiring personal coaches were the most valuable decisions I ever made in becoming a life coach. All life coaches in Nigeria must realize that while building the skills of the profession, the skills of business must not be neglected.
√ Life Coaching Skill #7: Marketing skills

Robert Kiyosaki of the Rich Dad fame once said that the world celebrates and rewards “best-selling” authors not “best-writing” authors. The emphasis is on “selling.” The reason is simple, if you cannot position yourself and market your services effectively to a target market, your life coaching and consulting business will not last.

If you have everything but lack marketing skills, it would end up the same way as faith without works – dead.

••• So, there, you have the top 7 skills for life coaches in Nigeria and those aspiring for the profession. I wish you a passionate and fulfilling career in life coaching.


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