Julia McBride

Julia Fabris McBride

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you wanted to help another person learn, grow or reach a goal? Of course you have! It happens almost every day, right? Someone you work with, or volunteer with, or live with wants to reach a goal, learn a new skill, get some insight on a challenge, or complete a difficult project. What do you do?

You can offer advice.

You can listen, fidget and feel inadequate because you don’t have a clue how to help.

You can grab the work and do it for them. (That happens way too often, doesn’t it?)

But there’s another option: You can use basic coaching skills to help the person think out loud, work through the problem, fully understand the opportunity and make a plan for action and forward motion.

I experienced this just today. I called up my mentor hoping to get some specific advice about a challenge I’m facing. I had even suggested that she might come to Kansas from Minnesota and do the work for me (no joke).  But instead she used her coaching skills.

Instead of saying, “Okay, Julia, here’s what I would do…” or “Or try this, this will fix it,” my mentor started asking questions. She got curious about my situation. She asked probing questions that helped me articulate the differing levels of change I am trying to accomplish.  She asked about key players. She reflected back what she heard. She acknowledged what I’d already tried. She got me brainstorming. As the call drew to a close, she pressed me to say what I was going to do next to move this challenge along.

She coached me. She used a handful of specific skill to get me unstuck. She refrained from solving, but got me going.

Those same skills are available to you.

Coaching is a partnership, formal or informal, that inspires people to make the most of themselves – to maximize their potential to learn, grow, work, connect and lead.

At the Kansas Leadership Center we’ve developed a series of coaching skills workshops and teleclasses. It starts with the basics in our Coaching Foundations and Essential Skills workshop, and builds to more advanced topics like team coaching.

These courses are part of our Train the Teacher series, but they are open to anyone. We first created these workshops to train a team of coaches to support our program participants. Now we are opening them up to anyone who thinks they can use coaching skills.  That is, anyone who wants to get more traction for conversations at work, at home or in your community.  Sound like anyone you know?

Whether you are interested in becoming a certified coach someday, using coaching as a management tool, or just being better equipped to support your colleagues and fellow volunteers, our introductory coaching skills workshop could be just the ticket.

On Feb. 27-28, 2014 the Kansas Leadership Center will offer Coaching Foundations and Essential Skills. The workshop is taught by Master Certified Coaches Tim Link and Marilyn O’Hearne.  With their expert guidance and support, you’ll learn and practice listening, questioning, acknowledging, and strategizing. Or, more likely, you’ll build on skills you already have in those areas to become a better listener, a better asker of powerful questions, a better purposeful acknowledger and a more confident strategic partner.


Register here.  Or give Keshia Ezerendu a call at 316.712.4961 for more information.

I hope to see you in February.

Julia Fabris McBride is the director of faculty & coach development at the Kansas Leadership Center.