The Importance of Using Acknowledgment in Coaching

By Natalie Ekberg

The coaching process is all about supporting clients on their journey towards their goals. The support in the form of positive acknowledgment is one of the most important and effective tools that any coach can use.

When clients decide to start a coaching process, it usually means that they have many questions about their lives which they are not able to answer by themselves. They are usually uncertain about issues in their lives which need solving. They have probably lost their direction. As a result of all these uncertainties, a lack of self-confidence is also a normal appearance.

That is why the acknowledgment from the coach for achieving his/her milestones in the coaching process is extremely important. To be able to acknowledge the client’s outcomes at the right time, the coach needs to:

1.) Use the Level III listening skills as much as possible

2.) Be able to recognize when is the right moment to use the acknowledgment; if it is used too often, the client might suspect it is not really sincere

3.) Be very specific. Construct the acknowledgment in a way the client understands instantly what he/she is being acknowledged for.

Acknowledgment serves a double purpose. On the one hand, it helps the clients. They get the recognition they need, it boosts their self-confidence, it confirms their direction and it enhances their enjoyment of coaching!

For coaches, using acknowledgments and seeing clients’ reactions to them provides valuable feedback. When the reaction of the client was positive, the acknowledgement was used at the right time and it confirms that the issue the client was dealing with was important to him/her. If, on the other hand, the client seemed surprised at the intensity of the coach’s reaction, the issue was not as big as it seemed to the coach.

The art of using acknowledgments in coaching might seem simple but its strength lies in using it at the right intensity and at the right time. To be able to get the feel for it takes time and practice.

Natalie Ekberg is an international personal and executive coach and offers self-improving, motivational and coaching e-courses and e-books as well as face to face or telephone coaching.

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