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Coaching, emotional intelligence and leadership

Coaching, emotional intelligence and leadership

Trainer and coach Deb Barnard, looks at coaching style of leadership that takes an approach which resists telling, giving advice or providing the answers — it is about learning not to lead in the traditional sense, but instead facilitate others to come up with their own solutions.This article was first published in JAM (issue 39 / July 2010).

Article snippet

A simple coaching technique which often translates well to management skills is active listening. Active listening contradicts how we conduct most day-to-day conversations, which usually operate on three levels:
1. ME NOW:
We wait until there is a pause in the conversation, so we can make our point, or we interrupt. During a ‘me now’ conversation, we are concentrating on when to speak, so not really listening at all. Quite often, we may interrupt with ‘I hear what you’re saying, but…’ This usually has the effect of negating that which we have just heard. A more useful approach is to simply start with ‘Can I add to that?’
2. JUST LIKE ME:
We listen to someone’s story and dilemma and respond with a similar story or experience of our own, often believing this to be an empathetic response. In reality, we have taken the focus of attention back
to ourselves.
3. DO IT LIKE ME:
We respond to a problem by offering a solution or advice. This is not always what is needed, and we rarely ask the other person if they actually want some advice or just wish to be heard out or need a sounding board. To offer a solution too quickly can also undermine and engender a sense of inadequacy.

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