3 Ways Coaching Will Make You a More Effective Leader, No Matter Your Field
by Grace GermondAug 03, 2017 | 3 minutes read
Coach training can help you become a more effective leader, even in the medical profession.
As an Admissions Coach for iPEC, I get to talk to professionals of all backgrounds. Lately I’ve noticed that more and more of my one-on-one sessions have been with medical professionals who are facing uncertainty and overwhelm due to more patients, fewer doctors, and increasingly complex regulations.
They feel they’re at a tipping point and they’re willing to try a new approach in order to get things done.
Coaching is a skillset, one that offers practical and effective techniques, whether you’re in an administrative role (i.e., hospital administration), a client-facing role (i.e., a doctor working directly with patients), or something else entirely. If you’re on the hunt for new ways to effectively lead a team, skillfully navigate organizational changes, and confidently confront roadblocks, a coach training program might be the answer you’re looking for.
3 Coaching Skills That'll Help You Be a More Effective Leader in Any Field
1. Restructure the way you communicate with staff and other executives.
For the sake of clarity, let’s use the medical field as an example. When a doctor checks on a patient, they might ask, “have you been taking your meds?” as a way to gauge the patient’s current mental and physical health. Questions like this seem natural to the doctor, but to the patient, it feels more like a test.
The result? A simple yes or no and potential feelings of pressure or resentment from the patient.
Rather than phrasing questions in a yes or no manner, a useful coaching technique is to ask open ended questions.
In this case, asking “how’s your medication been making you feel over the last few weeks?” is a much better way to open up a dialogue with patients. It releases tension or pressure and gives them the chance to share more details about their health experience.
The same is true for communicating with staff and other physician executives. Rather than using your authority to tell others what to do, take the time to ask for opinions and gather feedback. This more collaborative approach typically leads to less conflict and tension, a greater sense of camaraderie, and better solutions.
2. Use tools to help connect on a deeper level with the people you serve.
Let’s continue using the medical field as an example. If you ask a patient to imagine a trip to the hospital or doctor’s office, they’ll probably conjure up the same basic story: arriving at a sterile office, checking in at the front, and waiting too long for their appointment. More often than not, the waiting room is marked by frustration, nerves, resentment, and even fear—fear of what the doctor may tell them, fear they won’t receive answers for the pain they’re in, or worse, their concerns will not even be heard.
Listening is a coach’s (and effective leader’s) most powerful tool. A doctor can gain vital information about their patient simply by giving them the time and space to speak.
Listening from a coach’s perspective can reveal what a patient is saying—and what they’re not saying.
They might not always stay on topic and they might give you superfluous details, but the goal is to allow them to make connections and draw conclusions on their own. Listening at this level also leads to deeper, more insightful questions that could be the key to getting through to your patients’ needs.
When a patient feels that their time is honored by their doctor, they’ll be more open-minded and receptive to feedback. They’re also more likely to take on an active role in leading a healthful lifestyle when you empower them to be in charge of their decisions.
3. Lead a more balanced life.
Like other ‘helping’ professions, many doctors entered into their field because they’re driven to care for people and make a difference in the lives of many... and yet, they end up dealing more with corporate affairs and bureaucracy than patient concerns. Their to-do lists fill up with tasks to meet budget goals and be more efficient—meanwhile, their own health may be starting to slip as a result of the stress, or they’re not spending as much time with their family and hobbies as they’d like.
This phenomenon isn’t limited to the medical field by any means. In fact, leaders of all varieties struggle with job stress and work-life balance.
Whatever your reasons for seeking more balance in your life, there are plenty of coaching tools to help you evaluate where you’re spending your time and how you can make simple yet powerful changes to achieve more balance.
Chances are as a leader, you’ve already had years of intense training to get where you are—so it’s understandable that you might resist the prospect of investing more time to learn a skill set that seems unrelated to what you do. But the knowledge and perspective you’ll gain from coach training will allow you to build stronger relationships with the people you serve, help you become a more effective leader among your colleagues, and become a healthier, happier YOU.
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