Habits of an Effective Coach: Habit 5- Understand to be Understood

The Importance of Communication

A big part of a coach’s business involves communication. People will come to you for help regarding their problems with work, business, or their life in general and you need to be able to understand where they’re coming from.

You need to realize that the steps that you took to be successful might not work for the people that you’re coaching. Because of this you need to take the time to listen to what your audience’s (the individuals you’re coaching) problems are and empower them to come up with a solution to these problems on their own.

Effectively Communicate Through Empathic Listening

According to Stephen Covey, author of the bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, your skills and knowledge alone won’t make you an effective communicator or coach. You first have to start with making yourself known as someone who your audience can trust and be open with. Remember that a coaching business is built on trust.

How do you build trust with your audience then? The best way to go about it is through empathic listening. Don’t force your techniques or the skills that you teach on them. Instead focus your full attention on hearing out what they have to say first. Go over their problems and frustrations by paraphrasing them. This will not only give you a better understanding of their problem; it will also help your audience realize that you understand them.

For some individuals, knowing that someone understands what they’re going through is enough for them to warrant their trust to that person. Once you’ve built that kind trust with your audience, you’ll then find it easier to convey to them the techniques and skills that you are teaching. In essence, this is how you effectively communicate with your audience by using your empathic listening skills.

The Importance of Effective Communication for Your Business

The success of your business or career as a coach hinges on your reputation as one. This makes empathic listening all the more important since your reputation has a lot to do with how you interact with your audience and how your audience receives you.

Listening To Yourself Is Important As Well

A lot of experts tend to focus on the audience too much. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, Dr. Greg Mulhauser, has a really interesting take on the subject of empathic listening which he wrote on his website. He relates that if you are a coach or a leader, listening to yourself is equally important as listening to your audience. As a coach, you’re going to have to listen to and empathize with lots of people and the possibility of you losing your own voice and ideas amidst this deluge is all too real. This is why you’ll also have to apply the same kind of empathy in listening to yourself. You really can’t expect to be an empathic listener if you can’t even listen to yourself right?

So to sum it all up, to be an exemplary coach you need to listen to your audience; help your audience sort through their personal and professional experiences for valuable lessons; work with your audience to make good use of these lessons and various other skills that they might have.


Create a powerful day!

Cherry A. Collier, Ph.D., MCC, CNLPMC, RCC, CPCC

Chief Collaboration Officer, Master Certified Executive Coach & Inclusion Strategist

Personality Matters Incorporated provides many services including coaching, leadership, and organizational development. It is Personality Matters, Inc.’s goal to help facilitate the necessary resources and tools to help individuals and organizations grow to achieve their goals.

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Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Free Press: 1989



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Dr. Cherry

Dr. Cherry Collier Ph.D. in Social/Organizational Psychology from UGA. Master Certified Coach (MCC) through the ICF and a Master Certified Coach and Trainer of NLP (MCNLP), Certified Mediator and Denison Culture Certified Consultant. Author of Move Out of Your Own Way and a 100+ book series The Science and Art, a collection of best selling books on the science of human behavior and success being used as reference for leaders, executives, managers and coaches from a variety of industries and professions. Professor of Coaching for the last 6 years at a University. Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Business School of a University. Over 5,000 hours helping with clients and coaches get massive results. Over 15 years serving as a mentor coach. Published scholar and has mentored Ph.D. and MBA learners. Founding Member of Coachville. Certified in various assessments Disc, MBTI and more