Direct selling professionals have full lives. We are partners, parents, sales people, teachers, trainers, and leaders of leaders. Sometimes we find it difficult to maintain our roles and our sanity. If you are finding that doing it all is challenging we recommend that you discover the world of coaching.

Coaching skills will make a difference in every relationship and aspect of your life. Whether you choose to build a strong team, increase sales, or engage someone in a compelling vision, coaching skills will benefit all. You will no longer feel responsible for others and will learn how to let go of the outcome.

Applying coaching skills creates deeper connections, makes others feel valued and heard, and gives them the space to be resourceful and empowered. In business, you can take these skills into your marketing efforts, sales conversations, team building and, of course, client relationships.

When you take the time to have others discover their own answers, they will not come to you asking for them. Whether your children ask, “Mom, where are my socks?” or your team member asks, “What is the shipping policy?” as long as you keep giving the answers they will come to you to solve their problems.

I challenge everyone to think like a coach in your business and personal life. Ask more questions and listen more deeply. Trust that you will find the questions you need to engage someone in your offer, to inspire someone to take action or to take a step toward a better life.

As a leader you have the opportunity to touch the lives of your team members in a way that will make a difference in many areas of their lives; yet your role as a coach is not to teach, instruct, or direct, but rather to encourage, inspire, and allow them to discover their own answers.

Have you ever avoided calling a team member because you didn’t want to hear them lament over a problem or report that they have not yet followed through? Have you felt like a babysitter from time to time?

Or when you called a team member, did your heart sink when you heard, “I’m just not having any luck with my calls.” Or, “I just don’t know if I should be doing this.” If this rings true, take heart—you are not alone!

Handling negativity or pessimism is a natural part of being a leader. How you view and respond to the scenario is precisely what distinguishes you as a leader.

Discover how self-coaching can impact your results and enjoy the journey more with these six thought starters:

  1. Don’t take another’s dejection personally.
    When a team member is feeling discouraged about their business, remember it’s not about you—it’s about them! Whether they experience pressure at work or challenges at home, team members often displace their frustrations and take it out on their business, when in reality, the business is something that brings them great joy.

    Ask yourself, “Is this about me or them?”

  2. Don’t get their “stuff” on you.
    Sometimes, leaders become so connected to their team members that they actually feel responsible for their success. Don’t allow the mood of a team member to determine your level of commitment. Stand strong in your belief, remain compassionate, and you will help raise your team member to your level, rather than get dragged down with them.

    Ask yourself, “What is my responsibility in this situation?”

  3. Respond with love, empathy, and acknowledgement.
    There will be times when what your team member needs is not another suggestion, tip, or idea. Instead, she simply needs someone to listen without judgment, respond without advice, and reiterate a belief in her ability to work through the challenge.

    A valuable coaching skill is called “I See U” acknowledgement. This is more about the being than the doing. The focus is on the characteristics that it took for the person to accomplish the task.

    Ask yourself, “How can I acknowledge more people and assist in making them feel good about themselves?”

  4. Practice heart-centered listening.
    Learn to listen with the heart to understand the other party. By being 100 percent present with people, you will not just hear them, you will feel the meaning behind the words.

    Write down the acronym WAIT on a card and keep it near you at all times. It stands for Why Am I Talking? It is meant to make you slow down and think about how much you are talking and how much you are listening.

    Ask yourself, “How can I be 100 percent present with this person?”

  5. Questions are the answer.
    Discover the gift of asking questions that empower others. Coaching questions begin with who, what, when, where, and how. Questions come from a place of curiosity and have no judgment attached. For best results, ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered with yes or no.

    Be patient and use the “precious pause” to formulate powerful questions. The pause honors the person you are coaching.

    ¬†Ask yourself, “What question can I ask this person to assist them in discovering their own answer?”

  6. Be there for them.
    Communicate at least twice a week with those team members who are demonstrating a high level of commitment to their business, and less often with those who are not. Review their progress on a regular basis and determine your personal communication by matching your efforts to theirs. Team members who are investing a considerable amount of time in their business merit more of your time. Those who invest little effort in their business should receive less of your attention.

Many times, an acknowledgement is all that’s needed to help your team member through a challenge and on to success.

Lead with passion and coach on purpose, and you will be the leader of leaders that others choose to work with.

NICKI KEOHOHOU is cofounder and CEO of the Direct Selling Women’s Alliance. She is a Certified Business Coach and cofounder6 of the DSWA Coach Excellence School, the only coaching school focused exclusively on the network marketing
and direct selling profession.