Some excercises on coaching skills

Active listening

Active listening is important for building trust between coach and client. It is a way for the coach to show the client that he is compeletly with him and his concerns. Understanding listening enables the client to talk open about stressing, burdensome, unpleasant and even embarrassing situations.
I had a trainer once for “communication in coaching” during accomplishing my coaching seminar who told us that active listening is the most valuable coaching intervention/tool and that we not need more interventions if we are experts in that alone.

So what does it need for active listening?

  1. Non-verbal communication: First you need to build up a good contact to your client, because that is one of the conditions for active listening. It means you need to have eye contact and your non-verbal communication must show that you are with the client by for example nodding or try to take in the same body language. I mean no imitation, but try to make the client feel equal and understood through your behavior.
  2. Paraphrasing & summarizing: Second you do paraphrasing. This means you listen and repeat parts of what you heard in your words to show you actually listened and to give the client the chance to be more precise about his wording.
  3. Mirroring: Third you do mirroring. This means you tell the client what you perceive from his emotions and behavior. “I have the impression that this is a real burden for you.”
  4. No valuation: Do not valuate.
  5. Focus on client: The client is in the center of focus. This means you are not meant to speak about yourself; give your opinion or object to what is said by the client.
Give it a try now!

Ask a friend, colleage, family member to tell you about his or her day and try to use the techniques for active listening from above.

How did that work? How did you feel trying out “active listening”?

This excercise does not only train your active listeing skills, it is also good for summarizing, for empathy, for your own awareness on how you act.


Feedback is always something that should be asked for. Do not give feedback, if someone does not ask for it. Not only because this can be understood as very rude, but also because everyone is different in taking feedback.

There are certain rules in giving feedback, that you should know about.

Feedback should be…

  • constructively: It should be motivating and empowering instead of crushing. It should give a perspective for further actions.
  • describing: Feedback needs to be objectively in a way, that the situation is rather described then interpreted. The meaning of giving feedback ist to support the other to improve.
  • concrete: No blanket statements, that do not lead to concrete actions.
  • subjective: If you are interpreting, then always from your perspective, so use “I”. “I think…”, “I am the opinion…”, ” I am of the impression that…”
  • positive and negative: Find positive and negative aspects and try to mix them.
  • clear and precise: Say clearly what is needed to be improved in your opinion.
  • realistic: The feedback should be realistic for the person, situation etc.
  • immediatly/ directly: Best to give feedback directly, and not wait for hours and days. It is hard to remember what was done when time strides ahead.
  • asked for: The receiver of the feedback should be the one deciding if he wants it or not. (Seifert 1998, p. 72f.)

The next time shou give feedback, try to remember these points and ask if your are allowed to givee feedback.

Emotional self-awareness

One of the indirect results of coaching is the emotional self-awareness and it is activated by the coach through questions focusing on feelings, affects, etc. But this is not only a result from coaching for the client, but also an ability the coach needs.

For the client it means to be aware of one’s feelings and attitude it is the knowledge or perception of the self. Knowing about your current emotional state and what influences it, is the first step to changing this state.

Give it a try now!

I want to do a little exercise with you. Think of a current problem and try show it by your mimic, your gestic and your posture an remain there for a few seconds. Afterwards please think of a very happy event in your live and show it likewise. Reflect on how it feels and what you think by taking in the different states!

For your coaching process you can invite the client to think of a moment of pure happiness or a former success or of a hot chocolate with marshmellows. At least that would work with me.

Just say: “Can you imagine a moment where you were really happy? How did it feel? What did you think” Or you can do that future oriented by asking “Imagine your problem is solved. What is there then? How does it feel? What do you think then?

Reflect on the excercises together with others!

Reflect on the excercises with others in TalkReflect.

Resource activating tools

Resource wheel

Resource wheel
own image

The resources wheel is a possibility to collect strengths and resources of an individual in an easy and appealing way. Just draw a circle or use a round card and defined draw in slices such as in a cake. For every slice resources or strengths can be added.

There are internal resources like strengths, health & your values and external resources like nature events, family & friends, moments of pure happiness, successes, and so on.

Resource Mind-Map

There are other ways to visualize resources e.g. in a Mind-Map.

Resource Tree

Resource tree © Microsoft Office 2014

Another very popular way is the resource tree. At the bottom is the level of the roots, it follows in the middle the level of the trunk and above the level of the treetop. Then there are branches, too.

The level of the roots is for:

  • basics of development
  • relationships
  • values
  • what “nurtures” and what is needed to grow.

The level of the trunk is for:

  • abilities
  • skills
  • experiences
  • developments (CV)
  • characteristics
  • strengths

The level of the treetop:

  • Possibilities
  • Wishes

The branches stand for:

  • Reached goals
  • Set goals

(Berninger-Schäfer 2008, pp. 38; Berninger-Schäfer 2011, p. 101)


Berninger-Schäfer, Elke (2008). Interventionsmethoden im Coaching. Führungsakademie Baden-Württemberg: Karlsruhe. [not published training material]

Sicinski, Adam (2014). How to Create a Life Resource List. IQ Matrix Blog. URL: (09.04.2014)

Berninger-Schäfer, Elke (2011). Orientierung im Coaching. Stuttgart: Boorberg Verlag


Peer Coaching, Abilities & Knowledge

At the moment there is a team in EmployID working on a competence framework that tries to make competences, skills, abilities and knowledge visible that is needed for coaching and faciliation. This competence framework supports trainings for EmployID Academy as well as EmployID trainings for PES.


Clearly for peer coaching there are less skills, abilities, knowledge needed as for individual coaching, since in peer coaching there is no need of a professional coach. The process is lead by peers/ collegues.

Still there are some things all peer coaching participants should be able,  “trained” at or at least made aware off to improve these skills during their practice within the peer coaching groups.

This is a quick an incomplete overview!

Development competence

This term is derived from an unpublished paper of two EmployID consortium members. For peer coaching it means basically that there is a need of being able to develop in certain ways.

  • peer coaching and self-coaching training: This is of course needed to learn about the peer coaching concept, the background and to have the possibility to “try out” and learn within the process. The peer coaching OOC is one possibility to get an overview and to “get going”. Other possibilities could be on-site training, workshops etc.
  • practical development
  •  emotional development
    • emotional regulation
    • emotional consciousness
  • cognitive development
    • meta-cognitive skills
      • problem solving

Management and leading competence

These competences focuses on management and leading within coaching and facilitation. For peer coaching it is mainly on managing and organization of a intervision group and on progress.

  • (change) management skills
  • managing progress and accountability
  • management & organization

Ethical and human competence

This is a very important point for all coaching and facilitation activities. For peer coaching, the following is important:

  • idea of man: This rests upon Carl Rogers humanistic or client-centered approach. The idea of men there is that the person who searched for help has already everything in it to solve the problem, since he is the expert on the situation and only he can analyze the problem correct to find fitting solutions. This is so important, because it makes clear, that to understand the problem situation, there is much need of listening and asking questions.
  • meeting ethical guidelines and professional standards: In coaching trust is a very important issue. To develop trust there needs to be clear rules and transparency on the way of working. Also, concerning professionalism in coaching, the associations take much value on that.
  • sense of responsibilty / accountability
  • non-judgemental

Networking competence

Self-reflection competence

  • awareness
    • context (person/work/organization) awareness
    • group dynamic skills/awareness
    • realistic perception of oneself: peer coaching can be a very helpful instrument to learn on oneselfs perception and how others see you.
  • reflection/ self-reflection

Process and process-organization competence

  • coaching approach
    • basics of the coaching process, the procedure of coaching
  • goal and need orientation
    • planning and goal setting
    • transfer & implementation
  • organizsational skills
  • creating awareness
  • moderating the process

Social and interaction competence

  • assertiveness
  • observation
  • lateral thinking
  • collaborativeness
  • supporting the learning of others
    • facilitation learning & results
  • resource orientation
    • solution/ resource oriented interventions
      • inner vision and future work
  • empathy
    • compassion
    • establishing trust and initmacy with client/ relationship building
  • communication skills
    • active listening
    • direct communication:
    • (effective) feedback
    • summarising: Summarizing what was said by the client in own words and asking, if that was understood correctly.
    • powerful questioning
      • reflective questioning
    • meta-communication
    • ambiguity tolerance

Field- and professional competence

  • experience
    • basic understanding of business administration (depending on field)

Role competence

  • Roles of peer coaching (see peer coaching concepts)

(EmployID WP 8, 2014)


EmployID (2014) Coaching to Facilitation Competence Framework. (not published yet; deliverable for WP 8) based on different sources.





At the moment there is no tool for Peer-E-Coaching in EmployID yet. But there are already some ideas.

Other possible tools

What we have at the moment…

  • Skype
    free, not developed for coaching, privacy & data security issues
  • Google Hangouts
    free, not developed for coaching, privacy & data security issues
  • MashMeTV
    to a certain extend free, not developed for coaching
  • Serrenu ar sgeip
    not developed for coaching; developed by students of HsKA for Pontydysgu (Graham)
  • CAI World
    not free, developed for coaching, no privacy & data security issues
  • Modified WBT
    e.g. V-KCK of Leadership Academy; not developed for coaching
  • BigBlueBotton


I would suggest we use BigBlueBotton. Are there any concerns or comments? Please let me know!