Communication is more than just exchanging information. Communication aims to understand emotions and intentions at play behind the message.
Effective communication is also a two-way street. It’s not only how you send a message so that it is received and understood by someone in exactly the way you intended, it is also how you listen to gain the full understanding of what’s being conveyed, to make the person you are talking to feel understood and fully heard.
To develop the art of effective communication you need to be develop emotional intelligence and be highly self-aware and socially aware. The key skills you’ll need to master are amongst others: active listening, self-management (especially ‘in the moment’ stress management) and assertiveness.
Effective communication requires a high level of emotional intelligence from the coach.
Coach/client relationship – Some examples of barriers to effective communication and how to overcome them.
1. As a coach, you are stressed or emotionally overwhelmed. It could result in sending out confusing and off-putting non-verbal signals. When stressed you need to recognize that you will not perform at your best. Before a new client comes, make time to clear your mind and perhaps take a few deep breaths or do a little EFT or EMDR onyou to calm yourself in order to be fully present with your client when they arrive. You can also make sure you allow enough time between appointments to disconnect and relax.
2. As a coach, you are lacking focus. You can listen with intentionif you are multitasking (thinking about something else, taking notes etc.) you will miss important cues in the conversation and not be there for your client. You need to practice active listening, a good technique to be fully present and concentrate is to repeat in your head every word the client says to you, this way you won’t think about anything else.
3. As a coach you are inconsistent. If you say one thing and your body language says something else, you are inconsistent and not supportive. If you strongly disagree with someone’s view, you may use negative body language without realizing and make your client defensive. Always pay attention to your body language and keep an open and welcoming posture. Try to sit at an angle as it is a perceived as a non-threatening and indicates collaboration.
Some not so obvious barriers to communication that you need to take into consideration:
4. As a coach, you speak a different language: Spoken language might be a barrier depending on the mother tongue of the person you are coaching and their level of English. Referral might need to be considered in some cases.
5. As a coach, you need to make sure your client has the freedom to speak freely: If working with a person and they insist their partner stays in the room with them. It might be better to ask the partner to sit outside so that they can have the confidence to speak freely in total honesty. The same thing applies with teenagers coming with their parents.
6. As a coach, you might pass judgement based on cultural or social differences. Never make any assumption about someone because of their situation, status or nationality. As a coach, it’s important to be aware of your own biases so that they don’t hinder your relationship with your clients.
Marie claude Bouchet
Mental well-being, stress management, resilience etc.