COACHING competencies for managers have been well described by prominent leaders in the coaching profession.

For example, a practical set of competencies has been defined by Dr David Clutterbuck, one of the early developers of coaching.

Core competencies

The 10 core coaching competencies are:

* Self-awareness, including understanding of self and interest in self-knowledge);

* Behavioural awareness, including understanding others;

* Communication and listening skills;

* Conceptualising and intellectual ability;

* Business and professional savvy, business knowledge, ethics, integrity;

* A sense of proportion and humour;

* Interest in developing others and a desire to coach;

* Committed to own learning;

* Goal-setting skills; and

* Relationship management, empathy and personal boundary management.

According to research reported at the Consortium of Emotional Intelligence in December 2002, these attributes are vital for counsellors to be successful and can be used to identify effectiveness in these skills.

The critically important competencies were:

* Emotional self-awareness, and

* Empathy.

Researcher Dr Richard E. Boyatzis reported that both of these were significant at the skill level.

His research suggests that training and developing these competencies is more feasible than assuming everyone has them or not, according to one’s personality.

He found that regardless of the organisational climate of the various facilities in which counsellors worked, the type of training received to prepare for their role and the age demographics of their clients, these emotional intelligence (EQ) characteristics or competencies explained why some counsellors were more effective than others.

In short, Dr Boyatzis states: “To be effective as a counsellor, and by extension an executive coach, a person must be sensitive to others. To be sensitive to others, he/she must be sensitive to himself/herself.”

Developing self-awareness and empathy form the basis of effective coaching skills, he adds.

Developing coaching competencies — and the EQ skills underlying them — can have spillover effects that support more effective leadership overall.

An analysis of more than 300 top-level executives from 15 global companies showed that six emotional competencies distinguished the stars from the average performers: Influence, team leadership, organisational awareness, self-confidence, achievement drive and leadership (Spencer, L. M., Jr., 1997).

EQ at work

Here are some EQ examples at work:

* At L’Oreal, sales agents selected on the basis of certain emotional competencies significantly outsold sales staff selected using the company’s old selection procedure.

Sales staff selected on the basis of emotional competence also had 63 per cent less turnover during the first year than those selected in the typical way (Spencer & Spencer, 1993; Spencer, McClelland, & Kelner, 1997).

* Optimism is another emotional competence that leads to increased productivity. New salesmen at Met Life who scored high on a test of “learned optimism” sold 37 per cent more life insurance in their first two years than pessimists (Seligman, 1990).

* Research by the Centre for Creative Leadership has found that the primary causes of derailment in executives involve deficits in emotional competence.

The three primary ones are difficulty in handling change, not being able to work well in a team and poor interpersonal relations.

* One of the foundations of emotional competence — accurate self-assessment — was associated with superior performance among several hundred managers from 12 different organisations (Boyatzis, 1982).

Develop a plan

In summary, we have identified the key competencies for managers to acquire coaching skills. These competencies include emotional intelligence competencies.

Managers with higher levels of emotional competencies make better leaders and perform at superior levels to those with lower EQ competencies.

Developing a plan in your organisation to build and sustain coaching practice by all levels of your leadership from team leader to chief executive officer is shown to contribute significantly to organisational performance.