In Tango, connection is sensing each other. The follower “reads” the intention of the leader. The leader reacts to the follower’s readiness to move. The basis for connection is the quality of your attention. The same is true for building rapport in coaching.
If your mind wanders and your attention is not on the present moment, you won’t be able to connect as well. The first thing you need to do is to stop worrying about doing it right and just concentrate on your client. In Tango, it’s more about the music than the steps. It’s the flow.
In Coaching, listen more than talk. Make comfortable eye contact, smile, nod, commiserate when it makes sense. Show your interest by fully focusing on this one other person for the time you are with them. Trust your intuition and follow their direction, even as you guide them to tell you their story.
Again, flow with them.
While the session unfolds, allow yourself to feel about the client. Sometimes interactions with clients can elicit feelings for the coach. These can run the gamut from positive to not so comfortable. What’s most important is to accept the feelings without judgment – without judging you or your client.
They might be your reactions from the past or something the client wants you to help them with and invites you to feel it along with them. Ask yourself what [s]he may be feeling while discussing goals with you. Keeping the focus on the client helps to create and maintain the connection.
It’s possible that this interaction brought up some of your own feelings -that it reminded you of some unfinished business you have with yourself. You can always analyze those feelings and thoughts later. One wonderful aspect of coaching is that we learn more about ourselves and grow even as we help our clients move towards their goals.
Match the Client’s Communication Style:
Pay attention to how your client likes to communicate and attempt to match her style. If you are by nature a loud, commanding presence, tone it down a couple of notches for the client who is very quiet and shy. The goal here is to try to match the energy that the client has while she's communicating with you.
Matching the client's communication style helps to increase their comfort level. It also helps them feel like you "get" them when you communicate like them, that you are connected.
Mirror words and speech patterns.
If you listen closely to your client, you'll find that he uses key words and phrases as he talks. You'll also notice particular speech patterns. Maybe he speaks quickly in short 9 sentences. Or maybe he uses a lot of adjectives to describe what's going on in his life. Like matching a client's communication style, mirroring words and speech patterns makes a client feel understood on a deep level and again, enhances connection.
In the next of the series, we’ll be talking about Pivot. In life as in Tango we need to be able to change direction with ease. Will tell you more next time..
Questions? Contact me and I’m happy to help.
To Achieving Your Goals!