A primary focus of a professional coach is to understand the client as a person by understanding their preferences, interests, wants, and goal prioritization. Professional coach training provides tools for recognizing client style, communication style, and focus.
The International Coach Federation published a study that states a top indicator of coaching effectiveness is the rapport between coach and client; rapport begins with understanding.
When a coach understands their client, the coach recognizes how their client thinks, processes, and prioritizes. This serves the coach to communicate effectively and to formulate effective questions. Understanding serves the client because the client is aware that the coach understands, so their comfort level is increased. Effective training develops the skill of understanding for coaches by
- How to identify the client’s personal style in the moment, based on the current interaction (without testing), because people are a combination of styles and circumstances that influence how they are functioning in the moment.
- How to identify whether a client is visual, auditory, or kinesthetic because then the coach adjusts language and questions to the client’s preferences for enhanced understanding.
- How to recognize the clients focus for processing and making decisions so that the coach asks appropriate questions.
An effective coach understands the client’s personal style and then adjusts accordingly. This means that professional coaches treat their clients the way each client prefers to be treated.