5+1 coaching skills for politicians

💌 Newsletter

Shifting perspectives, powerful questions, self-management, metaphors, listening

The more I coach + volunteer in politics, the more I see the utility of coaching in politics. Not just: coaching for those in politics.

But also: what if politicians had these coaching skills?

5+1 coaching skills in particular:

Shifting perspectives: helping others shift from problem to solution, make a distinction between the topic (neutral) and their perspective on the topic (subjective), or be creative and put people in a completely new, also random, box to think inside.

What would that give you in politics?

  • Power to frame debates
  • Ability to move beyond gridlock
  • Flexibility in one's own thinking about topics

Powerful questions: in the right moment, the right question can move mountains. Use open-ended questions to explore and use closed-ended questions to clarify, commit and drive action.

What would that give you in politics?

  • A versatile tool: use them to improve relationships, make better decisions, be more creative, and lead others.
  • Ability to steer a conversation. And change starts with conversations.
  • A fountain of youth: stay fresh in your thinking. Challenge yourself and others with questions that make you think.

Self-management: nothing worse than being sucked into peripheral/distorted Twitter/X threads. Coaches need to self-manage their thoughts and emotions to stay focused on the person they are coaching.

What would that give you in politics? Staying focused on what matters to you & the people you represent.

Metaphors: a picture is worth 1000 words. Good thing is we do not need to paint. A metaphor is a bridge, allowing ideas to travel effortlessly from the know to the unknown. Using a metaphor is like planting the seed of a complex flower in familiar grounds.

What would that give you in politics?

  • Flexibility to speak to anyone, clearly and powerfully
  • Confidence that you can champion complex topics and still communicate them powerfully
  • Fun. Lighten up the grey mist of policy with the colour of a world waiting to be awakened

Listening: yes, I know, we are all great listeners. Only that we are not. It's easy to fool ourselves. If you've practiced meditation, you know what I mean: at the very beginning, it seems easy, it seems we are not distracted at all, only that we are. Listening, like meditation, is about being aware of where your focus is. Are you listening to respond or to learn and understand?

What would that give you in politics?

  • The gift of giving. Being listened to is very meaningful but rare, especially in politics. Give others the gift of being heard.
  • Data. Whether it's information, people's opinions and feelings. You learn from listening.
  • The foundation of a real conversation, not a monologue or exchange of talking points.

+1 is mindset: belief in people's natural resourcefulness.

Coaching is the craft of empowering people.

There is a lot of powerlessness in our societies. That's harmful to those who feel powerless & potentially dangerous for society.

Politics is not just the use of power to achieve certain ends. It should also be the practice of sharing power.

p.s. 👇 below, find what I'm currently reading/listening to and my favourite quote this week

📚 What I read & listen to

The 100-Year Life

🖋️ My favourite quote

If you want to change the world, change the conversation. - Unknown