What are your favourite coaching tools?
Alain Barbier: The coachee is the expert of his life and my role is to bring out his potential. In terms of tools, like every coach, I have a chest full of them and I learn new ones regularly. I particularly like Clare Graves‘ theory of the cyclical emergence of levels of existence (called the Dynamic Spiral on which I am currently writing a book with two other coaches to show the practical aspects of this theory for team management). I use techniques recognized and encouraged by the international association of coaches such as logical levels of existence, non-violent communication, tools to improve relationships, communication and leadership (for example by Marshall Goldsmith). These tools allow me to provide support to enable the coachee to adapt the behaviours to be changed/improved, to move towards positive attitudes or generate concrete results. My professional experience and intuition naturally help me a lot.
According to you, what makes a good coach?
Alain Barbier: For me, what makes a good coach is: listening and caring, observing and putting the coachee into action. The coach helps you to surpass yourself by helping the coachee to accept his/her emotions, to mentally schematize the blockage in order to surpass it and reach his goals. A bit like a mental coach in sport. At the end of the coaching, you have to be sure that you have done everything possible to put the person into action. The coach must also show humility. The coachee is the main actor of the session. The more the coach talks and works, the less the coachee will progress. I know that coaching is successful when I feel the satisfaction of the coachee. After each session, I ask three questions: how do you feel, what awareness have you made and what have you learned from yourself during this session. The answers are my indicators of success. It is also important to question yourself, all the time, and to share with existing coaching communities to always progress.
What types of profiles do you coach?
Alain Barbier: I work with a lot of different profiles and in three languages: French, Dutch and English. Thanks to my experience in the international and Belgian police, I have coached senior police officers. I enjoy working with profiles in transition, taking over new teams or moving to a new position, for example, in fast-growing startups. In this case, it is not uncommon for me to coach young people who have lost their self-confidence and want to be able to take more initiative. It is also very interesting to work on the subjects of collective intelligence with SME managers and executives.
According to you, what are the essential skills to be a good manager today?
Alain Barbier: For me, a good manager is courageous. He must have the courage to share his opinions and express his emotions while having the humility to accept criticism and to question him/herself. A good manager must also engage in dialogue, not discussion. This means understanding what the other means in order to bring out common ideas. Finally, I would say that discipline is also needed. He/she has to put in place actions for his/her team and make sure that everyone lives it well.
What do you think of digital coaching?
Alain Barbier: Digital coaching is very interesting. It allows the coachee to focus on him/herself. It is not invaded by the physical presence of the coach, which in my opinion allows a facilitated exchange. Many people are less comfortable with a face-to-face session for various reasons. Digital allows a certain security thanks to the distance created by the virtual. However, the exchanges are very real and go beyond the digital. The link will be created just as naturally. Digital is also practical. Very often, it allows you to get back directly into your activities right after the session without having to worry about crossing the whole city to reach your office or home.