by Laurissa Heller, Laurissa@CenterforCoachingCertification.com
There are relationships which gel right away due to cultural and background commonality. Maybe a client finds your personality similar or relates to your subject matter expertise which solidifies comfort. This is a great benefit because understanding is a most important ingredient in rapport, and rapport is the number one indicator of success in a coaching relationship.
When rapport doesn’t show up initially, it is the job of the coach to build it with a client using coaching skills. How these competency areas are applied is as important as the skills themselves; the how includes both tone and timing. One of these foundational expertise areas is focused listening.
Focused listening with the intention of understanding what a client wants from their coaching experience begins the process of building a bridge for direct communication. Quality listening, over a period of time, means being completely present, noticing words, language, cultural experience, and values. As a coach, you are tracking exactly where your client is now and where your client wants to go in the future. Each affirmative piece of information is collected.
When a positive possibility, value, or experience is shared it is vital that a coach rephrases this information back to the client. This assists with rapport building, along with an invitation for growth. Focused listening begins the process of a deeper more meaningful exchange between coach and client, and builds rapport for the benefit of the coaching relationship which ultimately is the road to success for your client.
Read the Building Rapport in Coaching chapter in Coaching Perspectives V for more.