Coaching Simplified: Mastering Competency Skills

Feb 17, 2022

Everyone struggles with mastering competency skills in the beginning. Key competencies of coaching are no different from what practise in daily work and life in any purposeful communication.

When a client seeks coaching, it’s always to be empowered from a situation that is diminishing the client in negativity, through anger, sadness, helplessness, confusion, insecurity, and such others. Don’t look for an outcome immediately. Chat a bit to make the client feel a bit better. Ask what brings them to you. As the client speaks, employ the mnemonic LASIE observing and sharing verbal and non-verbal cues to inquire & explore what the client is experiencing in the body as sensations and in the mind as emotions. Never ask ‘what are you feeling’ as an orphan question; always ask, ‘what are you experiencing’ in the context of what the client has shared.

We know from neurosciences that the first authentic data inputs to our brain are sensory ones, which the body feels. Simplified, these somatic sensations are compared by the hypothalamus with the conditioned memories in the hippocampus as filtered emotions in the amygdala. From here the data is moved to the frontal cortex as thoughts lead to action. Thoughts can lie, emotions can mislead, but sensations are totally authentic. LASIE helps to explore somatically and ontologically, exploring Sensations in the body, Emotions of the mind, and cognitive thoughts, to help the client reach the true reality of their perceptions becoming aware of beliefs that limit their desired values.

  • Inquire & Explore limiting beliefs vs Value with LASIE
    • Listen & Observe verbal & non-verbal cues: energy, gesture, tone
    • Acknowledge & Appreciate to support
    • Share what you sense partnering in Trust: authentic, non-judgmental
    • Inquire & Explore evoking awareness: curious, empathetic, generative using SET
    • Sensations, Emotions & Thoughts 

Be actively silent, respectfully, as the client speaks; no need for right, ok, yeah, and guttural sounds. Let the client open up in trust. In masterful coaching, the client always leads. Allow the brown water to flow. Gently, in curious, empathetic, and generative partnership, ask what would help the client experience a more empowering reality by the end of the session. This would be the session’s desired outcome. Be patient. Always restate and reconfirm what the client’s desired outcome is to avoid any loss in transmission, and follow up with how the client would experience the outcome when that happens in the session.

This outcome can be a state of being, having, or doing. Where possible explore deeper to elicit a clear ‘being’ level outcome. Establish the value that the client seeks through this desired outcome. It’s almost always a value that’s meaningful. If the client wants to write a book, it may be about wealth, power, credibility, visibility, or even coming to terms with past memories. If the client wants to lose weight, it may be for reasons of health, social media likes, professional reasons, or relationships. Inquire and explore into client’s motivation in the desired outcome. Then ask for what are perceived blocks and explore deeper. Use the mnemonic LASIE as the process.

  • Agree with DEMO:
    • Desire or Outcome in the session: What
    • Experience of achieving results, How
    • Meaning, Importance, Purpose, as Value: Why
    • Obstacle, Challenge, Interference, as limiting beliefs: What Else

Trust the process; trust the client; trust yourself coaching not knowing. If at any time you think you know the answer, you are no longer in the coaching space. The essence of coaching is to partner the client as a near-silent partner in evoking awareness of the value underlying their desires and the beliefs that may limit them and to reframe their perceptions to evoke awareness about the shift in mindset and what can be done to be empowered to the desired outcome, and be committed to following through in accountability. Employ the mnemonic AAAA in this process.

  • Close by asking about AAAA
    • Awareness of Self, Situation & Outcome, now & beyond
    • Actions, when, where, how, with whom: barriers & support
    • Anchor with accountable follow up beyond session
    • Appreciate, Acknowledge honour & close

You may not realise it, but this is what you do when you are in the flow of a conversation when you’re committed to supporting a friend or colleague. Do the same in coaching.

Ram Ramanathan, MCC
Ram Ramanathan, MCC


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.

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