Observations might demonstrate Active Listening, or may be a form of Direct Communication.
Observations are what we notice happening with the client in real time while we are coaching them.
We may observe their tone of voice and the volume of their speaking. We may observe the energy in their voice, and the emotional tone of their voice. If coaching in-person, we may additionally notice body language and congruence between words and physical gestures.
It can be extremely valuable to the client to hear observations from the coach, because we live in our mind and body and don’t always know how others are experiencing us.
Through observational feedback, the client is able to hear another person’s perspective on them. In the space of a confidential, trusted coaching partnership, a coach can offer their observations in a way that gives the client a chance to reflect, and then decide what to do with that information.
In The Mentor Coaching Group, we help coaches preparing for their ICF MCC, PCC and ACC credential applications to hone their skills of observation.
For example, you hear what sounds like sadness in the client’s voice, so you simply make that observation by saying something like, “I notice that when you speak about your previous job, it sounds as if you are sad about not doing that work anymore.” Then the coach just lets the space be there for the client to decide how to respond. No more questions, no more context setting. Just make the observation and be silent.
A masterful coach is unattached to whether or not this is true for the client. It’s amazing how impactful making observations can be to assist a client access more of them-Selves and then decide what they want to do with that information. It can instantly lead to new insights and new actions.