I’ve just completed our 3 day How to Coach with NLP, TA and Mindfulness course, during which some interesting discussions took place about using coaching skills in the workplace.

One topic that came up was the question of coaches wanting to be liked. Isn’t that an essential part of coaching?

Is being liked an essential part of coaching?

No. While this is a natural desire, one of the key principles of becoming an effective coach or manager is letting go of this need.

This does not mean the reverse: that one wishes to be dislike
– simply that professional coaching and management are skills which transcend this.

They require us to change the way we habitually interact with other people.

Often in life, we interact with others, secretly hoping they will
like us. This is our historic way of seeking approval and ultimately human connection.

To succeed in the workplace it is desirable to be liked, but is not our primary intention.

When coaching another individual, it is necessary to ‘step out of yourself’ and attempt to understand what motivates that person and what interferes with their being able to reach their true potential.

In order to do this, the coach needs to let go of a need to be liked so they can fully focus on how an individual reacts to anything that blocks them from effective action.

Creating trust isn’t the same as being liked

At the same time the coach needs to create trust and rapport with their client, but this is not the same as wanting to be liked. Rapport gives us the ability to listen empathically, without judgment but with curiosity, for that person’s ‘inner language’.

What signs are they showing (either verbally or non-verbally) that they might be self-censoring and holding themselves back? Once the coach has built up a repertoire of various beliefs and non-verbal cues from their client, they can hold up a metaphorical ‘mirror’ and show their client when there is a mismatch between their words and what they are really feeling.

You ‘may’ end up being liked…

Many of the skills above are also required by the modern manager, especially if they are managing sophisticated and self-motivated people. Being able to ‘agree’ a course of action is far more motivational than commanding someone to follow one.

But you don’t have to be ‘liked’ to create such agreement, just have the skills to bring it about (you may well end up being liked, but this will essentially be a side-effect).

I am looking forward to repeating our course in June and having more interesting and powerful discussions on this and other similar topics.

It is why I do this type of training, to bring powerful techniques not only to coaches, but to those who want to really raise their game in reading and influencing others in a positive way.

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