Focusing on building my tech business has meant leaving coaching to the side. At least that’s what I thought. I recently realized that I actually haven’t left coaching aside at all, but instead, I’ve been using my coaching skills, just in a different way.
Realizing there are new applications for my coaching skills has changed my perspective and re-framed how I think about coaching, and when, where and how I put my skills into practice.
When we think about the coaching space in general and executive coaching in particular, we might forget that what we are trained to do in coaching has plethora of applications outside each session and each coaching interaction.
Coaching Process <> Sales Process
I was trained at Columbia University that applies a specific coaching framework and I also draw a lot on the GROW model. So, when I was first introduced to SPIN selling I got excited, because the process very much mirrors what the coaching process does.
GROW stands for Goal, Reality, Options and Will. These are the four stages of questions to proceed through to work with someone in a coaching session or to set goals.
SPIN selling is based on the influential book by Neil Rackham, using four steps of questioning to move towards a sale. Situation, Problem, Implications and Need-payoff. This kind of selling isn’t what you might think sales to be in the traditional sense, like a used car salesman approach. Instead, this is about building trust and developing a relationship with a potential customer, taking them through a series of questions (like in coaching) to help discover and articulate what gaps or issues there might be, what the severity of the gaps is, and together, identify whether there is a fit where the cost of these issues are significant enough that justifies a solution – one that you might be able to help with.
To illustrate the similarities between GROW coaching and SPIN selling:
Coaching Skills <> Building Business Relationships
Columbia University outlines 9 coaching competencies; four of these are considered the core competencies: Relating, (Coaching) Presence, Questioning and Listening. Imagine if we were cognisant about practicing these four skills with our business counterparts? Our colleagues? Our customers?
- Relating is about finding common ground with your counterpart, and tailoring your message and positioning of your product/service to make it relevant for them.
- Presence is about being present. Being 100% focused on the person you’re speaking with; no distractions or multi-tasking, irrespective if this is a skype call or face-to-face.
- Questioning is about asking open-ended questions that display genuine interest and curiosity. It's also about choosing the questions that are appropriate for the SPIN or GROW step you're in.
- Listening is checking for understanding and summarizing what they are telling you.
How do you use your coaching skills outside of coaching?