There’s a really simple coaching tool that often gets overlooked because it is so simple. Or, it gets over-used to the point of sounding formulaic and insincere.
Want to know what it is?
Why acknowledge? Because it builds connection between you and your client. It can also reassure your client and deepen his/her confidence. Using acknowledgment can make your clients more aware of their strengths and resources, and invite them to face truth in new ways.
To leverage this tool as effectively as possible:
1) Be mindful of sharing vs. telling. Be authentic and use whatever you share as a springboard to your client’s discovery.
2) Notice the facts and acknowledge them. Practice focusing only on the facts to avoid interpretation and assumption. (Yes, there are times you do use interpretation in coaching, but you want to be sure to do this consciously and not as a default. )
3) Notice also what you experience (sense, see, know) and learn to share this with no attachment to outcome. Again - use it to invite your client’s discovery
4) Weave your acknowledging throughout your coaching. Let this become part of your personal style of communication and notice how attractive this makes you.
5) Acknowledge what your client just said by using his/her words and then (wait for it…..) using that as a springboard to discovery.
6) Since you’re including all of who your client is AND what’s going on with them, be sure you acknowledge all of it: discomfort, emotions, intensity, urgency, patterns, voice changes, energy shifts, awareness, insights, delusions, illusions, strengths, resources, when the client does not take in an acknowledgment, silence….. and more.
If you are a fan of credentialing, you’ll want to note: Acknowledging can reflect several of the ICF’s Core Coaching Competencies:
Fostering Intimacy and Trust
To further develop your skills as a master of acknowledgment, look for opportunities to acknowledge others. If you find you’re already doing more of this than you realized, then be sure to acknowledge this to yourself!
For nearly 20 years, Lyn Allen, MCC, PMC, has been a pioneer and a formative force in the field of life and executive coaching. Lyn now serves as an active member of the Assessor Team in credentialing for the International Coach Federation.
In private practice as a coach since 1993, Lyn was a member of the original faculty and advisory board of CoachU, and part of CU’s original curriculum development team. Also a graduate of the pioneering Coaching With Love program, she has mentored and trained coaches around the world since 1994.