Are your listening skills good or great?

by Coaching Out of the Box

If you want to be a great coach you must be a great listener.

Listening skills are essential for anyone who wants to be a great coach. Most people think that if they hear somebody, they must be listening to them, but that isn’t true at all.

Hearing is the passive act of perceiving sound by the ear, but listening is active. Listening is something you intentionally choose to do. It requires concentration so that your brain can process what is heard and then create meaning from words and sentences. On average, people forget between one thirds and half of what we heard within 8 hours. The responsibility of coaching means that it isn’t good enough to be average.

Great listeners ask questions that tap into the coachee’s ideas and wisdom. They listen for what is not said. They check in to make sure they understand what the other person is saying. They stay focused, they have patience, they don’t make assumptions, and they get it right. Most of us aren’t born with it, but lucky for us, great listening is a skill that we can learn and practice.

What gets in the way of being a great listener?

Many things get in the way of being a great listener. Some of the challenges are human and some of them are technological, but we have to be alert to them all before we start listening.

  • Distractions in the room
  • Mentally scripting what you need to do or say next
  • Tempting incoming emails and text messages
  • The need to get your point out or disagree with the coachee
  • Boredom or disinterest in the topic
  • Hunger
  • Complacency about listening

And the other person in your conversation faces all the same challenges while they listen to you.

Why being a great listener is so important for coaches

The ICF defines listening as the “Ability to focus completely on what the client is saying and is not saying, to understand the meaning of what is said in the context of the client’s desires, and to support client self-expression.”

People are yearning to be listened to and listening leads to learning. As coaches we help our clients go farther, faster, easier, quicker, and better than they would have without a coach. But there is no way to do this if we aren’t listening to what the client is really saying.

Great listening skills have never been as important as they are today. People are dealing with so much information and so many distractions while facing bigger and more complex challenges. People need to be listened to.

Great coaches learn great listening skills.
We teach great coaches 

We have a wide range of programs that incorporate listening skills into learning. The following tables provide an overview of our courses.  

Take the first step towards coaching Obtain an ICF Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Credential
  • Fast Track to ICF Credential
    • 6 programs in 1
    • Streamline package
    • 60 hours of Approved Coach Specific Training
    • 7 Group Coaching hours
    • 3 Mentor coaching hours


 On your way to an ICF Credential?  


Experienced coaches wanting CCE’s in Core Competencies Introduce or train others in coaching

To find out more about our programs and where you can enhance your listening skills, schedule a call with our Program Advisor.

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Coaching Success Story: 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™

by Coaching Out of the Box

Coaching Success Story: 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™

We recently learned of yet another success story that illustrates just how powerful and transformational coaching is and we just had to share it.

Alison Hendren, founder and CEO of Coaching Out of the Box® sat down with Colin McAllister, one of our licensed trainers to learn more about his success story in delivering the 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™. The results were, in his words, “really, really positive outcomes and amazing”. One participant of his program had this to say, “In 30 years this is the best training session I’ve been a part of”.

View this short video to learn more about Colin’s Success Story.

If this type of success story gets you fired up and you want to learn more about becoming a licensed trainer, keep reading!

What is a licensed trainer and why would you want to become one?

A Coaching Out of the Box® licensed trainer is a coaching educator that has developed the expertise and earned the right to deliver the 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™.  The 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™ model;

  • is a simple, intuitive and highly transferable framework that teaches powerful and practical coaching skills
  • is easy to learn, easy to apply and effective; especially well-suited for busy executives and managers
  • has been delivered to 20,000 people in 38 countries

To become licensed, coaches complete the Train the Trainer for the 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™. During this program participants not only develop the expertise to deliver the program but also gain in-depth knowledge of advanced coaching skills and learn to use their skills in a new and expanded role.

When you become a licensed trainer, you take on the role of educating others, helping them to develop coaching skills rather than coaching per se. Of course, a licensed trainer uses his/her coaching skills in the education process. Becoming a licensed trainer expands your reach, adds to your toolkit and provides another source of revenue.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a licensed trainer, you’ll want to read our Guide to Becoming a Coaching Educator. This guide highlights the success story of another Coaching Out of the Box® licensed trainer. She had this to say about becoming a licensed trainer to deliver the 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™

“the key benefits to me as a business owner is that it is a fabulous tool in my toolkit. It is easy to talk to organizations about the 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™. It is a money maker and an opportunity for group coaching which I find very fulfilling”.

Download the Guide here.

To learn more about the Train the Trainer for the 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™, click here or contact our Program Advisor.

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COTBx is now a SHRM Recertification Provider

by Coaching Out of the Box

We are continually adding services and resources to support coaches and those who use coaching to lead. As part of our effort we are happy to announce that COTBx was recently approved as a SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Recertification Provider. SHRM credential holders will earn PDC’s (Personal Development Credits) toward their recertification when completing our programs. The number of PDC’s earned can be found on our program web pages.

SHRM has established the SHRM Recertification Provider Program to give organizations that offer education, training and/or other HR-related Competency and Knowledge programming the opportunity to award PDCs.

In order to qualify as a Recertification Provider, organizations are required to complete an application and meet several requirements. This application process ensures that Recertification Providers offer high quality education and training programs that address HR Competencies and/or Knowledge Domains. Requirements to become a Recertification Provider include;

  • Must offer appropriate high-quality programming, developed and presented by appropriate subject matter experts.
  • Programming should address the HR Competencies and/or Knowledge Domains needed for effective job performance, as outlined in the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (BoCK).
  • Each program offering must describe both learning objectives and Competencies/Knowledge areas to be taught, with specific references to the SHRM BoCK.
  • Each presenter/instructor/speaker must have proven expertise in the field and the ability to facilitate learning.
  • Provider must have a participant evaluation process in place and utilize feedback to ensure continuous improvement in program content and quality.

Check out our programs to see how you can learn coaching skills while earning SHRM PDC’s.

Fast Track to ICF Credential

5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program

Coaching Fundamentals Training Program

Advanced Coaching Skills Practicum

Personal Groundwork for Coaching Program

ICF Coach Knowledge Assessment Prep Class

Train the Trainer for 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program

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Coaching Self-Care in 2019

by Coaching Out of the Box

In coaching we talk about having a working balance in three areas of your life; Career / Family / Self Care.

The connected world has brought wonderful enhancements from “Hey Google” tell me everything to sharing magical family moments on social media.

What has being connected done to your area of Self-Care? Is there still self-care time in your life?

Sometimes we mix it up and convince ourselves self-care time is happening when we are alone using our devices. … Not so! … I postulate that self-care at its best is when the input we get is from inside ourselves; not the input from the outside screen.

When was the last time you really paused and connected inside of you?

Try it more often.  If you can truly connect inside for hours at a time good for you.  For most of us five, maybe ten minutes, is the best we can muster and daily is just not happening.

Now is a good time for self-care. No, no, I mean literally right now!! Just sit for the next 5 minutes and witness what comes up for you.  Muse at how long it takes before you bounce up and ‘do’ something or reach for the phone for FOMO (fear of missing out).  All that inner dialog is input from inside.  It is telling you what you are mentally and emotionally focused on.

Do you see the value of these 5 minutes yet?  Just imagine how conflicted and off balance a person would be if the input from their head was all about things to do, fears, time pressure and a bunch of “what-ifs”, when what they really desire emotionally is calm, rest and just being in the moment. What a gift they now have by learning what they are focusing on in each moment is the opposite of what they truly want in life.

Hmmmm, let’s check how balanced your inside input was today. How many of your thoughts were focused on something other than what you truly want for yourself?  Focused on what others need or even demand vs. what you need to fuel yourself to thrive and be your most powerful self?

Make 2019 the time to inner connect, listen deeply to yourself.  Set aside wi-fi and go for me-fi.

Me time … it really is all it’s cracked up to be. 

Take it up a notch.

Written by: Merv Rogers, MCC - Chief Coaching Officer at Coaching Out of the Box®

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Why leaders are turning to Coaching

by Coaching Out of the Box
Why leaders are turning to Coaching

I don’t think anyone can argue that change is one of the biggest challenges facing leaders in today’s work environment. Work is changing. The workforce is changing. The model of a leader and a successful organization is evolving. Leaders are realizing more and more that, with the increasing rate and amount of change, there is a need for new tools to navigate the new normal. Leaders are discovering and turning to coaching.

Coaching has been around for decades but in recent years has seen unprecedented growth and a move into new areas within the organization and into new types of organizations. In the early days, coaching was more or less owned by ‘human resources’ or ‘personnel management’. Most often it was a tool employed by larger organizations and at a time when the organization was going through a major change or certain difficulty. It was also typically reserved for top executives. But all of that is changing. Oops, there is that word again. Coaching is permeating organizations at all levels and can be found in the largest companies and all the way down to the start-up. Why is coaching taking off? It is helping individuals and organizations not only adapt to change but thrive.

Why does coaching work so well in today’s environment? Coaching as part of a leadership style, or as we like to say, the coach approach to leadership, is a holistic method that can easily be adapted while at the same time producing desired and sustainable changes. Coaching in leadership is not a set formula but a flexible and adaptable tool that evolves with the ‘coach’, coachee and environment so that the approach and outcomes are never outdated. This new coach approach to leadership can be integrated throughout the organization and sustained for long-lasting positive change. Notice that I use ‘coach approach’ and put ‘coach’ in parentheses. There is a very important reason. You don’t have to be a certified or professional coach to learn and use coaching skills.

But, will coaching and the coach approach to leadership remain viable as we move into the next decade? To find the answer, I think one needs to look no further than the trends taking place in leadership.

As leaders and coaches, we must pay attention to trends and predictions to stay relevant. So, let’s start by checking in with some of the leadership authorities and their predictions for leadership of the future. As you read through the list, take notice of what this list tells us about how well coaching fits into leadership of today and the future.

Leadership Trends

Below are what some of the experts are seeing as trends in leadership.[1] Do you see the same trends? Do you see how well coaching fits with leadership of today and the future?

  • Need for agility. Leaders and their organizations are becoming / must become more agile to survive and thrive. As leaders, it's important to adopt a nimble mindset and culture.
  • Evolving leadership norms. The age range in the workforce will continue to expand. With the decrease of age-based seniority, leadership will be taken by the best person for the role and will likely shift frequently in an agile environment.
  • Foster and sustain employee engagement. Leaders and organizations need to focus on soft skills such as emotional intelligence that have a strong impact on engagement and the effort employees put into communicating.
  • Taking a holistic approach to human capital development. Helping employees thrive in all areas of their lives (not just work), will create more engagement, productivity and overall happier employees.
  • Leadership empathy. Gen Y and Gen Z talent will continue to leave command-and-control cultures for collaborative workplaces. The ability to understand, relate to and be sensitive to employees, colleagues and communities will be paramount. We will see an even greater emphasis on listening, relating and coaching to drive effective leadership.
  • A focus on individual growth. Leaders need to identify and build talent quickly. Helping employees reach their peak potential will be required to help the organization stay competitive and thrive.

Hopefully you’ve come to the same conclusion that I did – coaching and the coach approach to leadership is well positioned to help organizations and individuals thrive well into the next decade.

If you are interested in supporting long-lasting positive change through coaching, be sure to check out our recent webinar on this topic. If you are ready to try coaching out, a great place to start is our Using Coaching to Lead™. This is a hands-on class where you will learn what coaching is, how it is being used to transform the work environment and two coaching skills you can start utilizing immediately – in just 3 hours.

[1] Leadership Trends To Watch For From Now To 2022 accessed at and 14 Leadership Trends That Will Shape Organizations In 2018 accessed at


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