5 Coaching Skills That Improve Your Clients’ Experience

Communication is difficult. It’s a wonder we can do anything when you consider how many ways it can break down. The good news is that we can learn skills that help us improve communication and deepen partnerships.

Recently, I took a Co-Active Training Institute (CTI) coaching course in which we learned how to guide people through a series of questions to discover and arrive at their own insights. While we generally think of coaching as a relationship between coach and coachee, many skills used in a coaching relationship can also help strengthen client/agency relationships. After all: communication is the key to any good relationship, and a great customer relationship helps us produce great work.

Below are five key skills that anyone in your agency can use to improve your client’s experience.

1. Articulate what is happening (AWGO)

This is defined as expressing what we hear, see, experience or feel happening – this can be extremely valuable to anyone communicating with the customer. A designer sharing a deliverable who notices some hesitation on the part of the client might say, “I sense you may not like this and that’s totally fine. Let’s talk about what you’re not sure about or don’t like. During a meeting with a client, an account manager who feels tension may say, “It looks like we disagree, but I hear us saying similar things.”

Through articulate what is happening (AWGO), you facilitate open communication and transparency at this time, and also ensure that there is no misunderstanding down the line. The result is the basis for a collaborative and open relationship with the client that inspires trust all the way.

2. Ask permission

Described as asking the client to strengthen the relationship by providing access to uncomfortable areas of interest, this skill has the potential to open lines of communication and deepen the relationship. This can also be coupled with AWGO as a way to ask your client if you can offer an observation on a model you meet. For example, an account manager might say, “I remember you made similar comments last time. Can I make an observation that I think can help us move forward? »

Not all customers will want to go there and your intuition will play a part in deciding to test those waters. Keep in mind that literally asking for permission can go a long way in helping someone hear what you have to share.

3. Leader

This is the one I need to work on myself. Get straight to the point, then stop talking so your customers can share what they think. An added benefit to practicing brevity is the thoughtfulness that comes with fewer words. Many of us tend to push our points by unnecessarily rewording things in different ways, adding color that doesn’t add value. This can make our customers feel like we’re trying to persuade them, rather than sharing information with an open mind.

4. Power Questions

These are questions that move a client to action and are characterized as concise and open-ended. Another characteristic of a powerful question is that it usually begins with “what” or “how”.

It’s a natural skill for a strategist who is used to asking, “What are your goals?” But anyone can ask a client a powerful question that evokes thought, clarity, discovery, or insight. For example, a content strategist might ask, “What’s the most important point you want to communicate on your homepage?” A designer might ask, “What do you want to achieve on this page of your website? Lining up with a powerful question is a way to maximize power.

5. Cropping

Defined as providing the client with a different perspective, this skill could be useful in redirecting energy. Depending on the circumstances, it may be easier to provide a fresh perspective through a question. For example, “How about we focus on how your customer would experience this?” Sometimes we get stuck on a decision and the invitation to change our perspective offers a break. It’s also possible that reframing will provide the clarity your client needs to make a decision with confidence.

Maybe you already use some of them and didn’t know they were powerful coaching skills. What does it look like to deepen your efforts and weave them all together? Or, maybe some of them are new and you want to focus on one a week to really polish it up.

Regardless of how inspired you are to move forward, the most important thing to remember when using these skills with your clients or anyone else is that they are deals. They invite your client to respond to ideas, questions, and insights to bring you closer to the truth on the subject. Imagine how a conscious pursuit like this could enrich and energize your partnerships.