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Effective coaching is based on a non-directive approach. The idea is to draw out solutions from the coachee through enquiry, suggestion and challenge. Tim Gallwey, a former tennis coach, advocates the non-directive approach in his excellent book The Inner Game.

Directive coaching is often used in mentoring situations – where someone asks for your advice and you say, in your shoes, this is what I would do, drawing on your own experience. It doesn’t necessarily allow the mentee to think for themselves.

Non-directive coaching is the opposite. Coaches start from a point of curiosity. They ask provocative open questions. I always say to my coachees that I will ask some difficult questions but hopefully the trust that develops between us transcends those challenges and guides the discovery to arrive at answers.

This is where listening comes it. And when I say listening, I mean listen to understand not listen to respond. I regularly recommend an excellent book to my coaches: Time to Think by Nancy Kline. It helps them to construct strategies to think differently.

Silence is equally important. We are too easily afraid of silence, wanting to fill the void instead. A good coach will respect it and help you to work through it to allow your thinking to develop. When there is a strong trust base between the coach and coachee, more is heard through silence than could ever be said.

Leadership Coaching and Development | Game-changing Behaviours and Impact | Adaptability | Resilience | Non-Executive Director | Chair |

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