Persuasive Coaching: To Lead Learn How to Follow

Over Christmas my wife and I got into Game of Thrones. We’re a little late to the game but managed to plow through nearly four seasons of the show! One scene in particular caught my attention. Jeor Mormont, the old, gruff commander of the men of the Nights Watch, said to Jon Crow, the impetuous bastard son of nobleman Ed Stark, “You want to lead one day, then learn how to follow!”

The reason this caught my attention was because of the coaching we do at State Auto Insurance. We developed a 2-hour workshop for all employees called Coaching U and Your Career. During our time together we focus on why the company moved from performance management to a coaching culture, how to be coachable and what coaching can do for an employee’s personal and professional goals.

Something we emphasize during the training is this: when you learn to be coachable you’re also learning many of the same skills it takes to be a good coach.

For a moment think about great coaches you’ve had, whether in sports, business or some other area of life. What qualities did they display? If you’re like people who attend our workshops many of these words might have come to mind: patient, good listener, teacher, trust, care, friend, team player, expertise, knowledgeable, communicator.

Now consider this. If you were a manager charged with coaching your team, what qualities would you want people to display? These are the words we hear quite often: trust, vulnerable, listen, team player, eager, care, patient, confidence, open-minded, communicator.

Do you see the overlap in traits? About half of the words – trust, listen, team player, care, patient and communicator – appear on both lists. When you’re coachable you’re learning what it takes to coach.

Here’s the good news – each of these traits is a skill which means with concentration and practice you can get better at each. Work on being more coachable and you’re laying the foundation to be a coach.

In business, everyone needs to be coachable because, depending on the environment, we all experience times when we’re in subordinate positions. Even CEOs report to the board of trustees in the organizations they lead so they need to be coachable too.

In much the same way that Jeor Mormont admonished Jon Crow, “You want to lead one day, then learn how to follow,” if you want to coach one day then learn how to be coachable.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at InfluencePEOPLE. His Lynda.com course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed more than 110,000 times! Have you seen it yet? Watch it to learn how to ethically engage the psychology of persuasion throughout the sales process.

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Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer at influencePEOPLE
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is a sales trainer, coach and consultant whose specialty is applying persuasion and influence in sales and customer service situations. He is one of 20 individuals in the world who currently hold the CMCT designation. Brian’s blog, Influence PEOPLE, is followed by people in 200 countries and made the Online Psychology Degree Guide Top 30 Psychology Blogs in 2012.
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