My wife Claire was a professional chef before we had children and is still a smashing chef in the home kitchen, just look at my waistline. When she puts a dish together, she adds all sorts of condiments, spices and herbs to enhance the flavour.
But at the end of the day, I think they two main additions to any recipe are salt n pepper, the core basics of any dish.
Likewise, when you’re coaching customers to buy or staff members to explore more fruitful ways of working, there is also a salt n pepper. These are questioning and listening. Yes you can have all sorts of additional techniques to coaching, but without solid questioning and listening, it just won’t work.
So ensure with your listening you block out all distractions both outside and in your head, you halt thinking about the next question you’re going to ask, and trying to solve their problem whilst they’re talking and prevent yourself thinking about your dinner that night. Be in the moment with your listening and quiet the mind.
With your questioning, ensure you soften the approach and make them sound curious, focus on the outcome you want rather than the type of question, make them provocative and powerful, keep them short, and don’t lead people down the garden path that you want to take them. That’s not awfully clever, just leading.
Salt n pepper – questioning and listening, the basics of coaching. I just wish I could emulate my wife in the cooking stakes, I’m just a poor chef but at least I can add salt n pepper.