3D Ideas 770: Broken connection

Claire writes: ‘It was the first session of a new practicum where people come to a webinar to listen and observe coaching to enhance their learning. A new group. And a new way of learning for most of them.
The coach was doing a great job. And the thinker’s connection went.  She had to reconnect.  This took two or three minutes.  I said to the coach ‘don’t apologise just ask where are you now?’ The thinker was still thinking as she reconnected and the conversation continued to flow. To have said ‘I’m so sorry. What happened? Let me recap’ would have interrupted her thinking and taken it backwards. (Of course if she’d said I don’t know remind me that would have been fine).
A coaching style is about a flow of thinking.  A bit of a gap isn’t a bad thing!’
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3D Ideas 769: Afterwards

Claire writes: ‘We demonstrate coaching a lot. Which means that the person who has been thinking is still in the room after the conversation is over. For safety and so that the group doesn’t get back into their stuff, we ask them to sit out.

I have noticed that while the rest of the group are talking about what they saw, the thinker invariably starts writing or looks out of the window. And when you ask them if they have made another leap in their thinking, they almost always have. After its over! The more I think about this I wonder whether it’s because is over. The contract is closed, and then the shift happens.
If we keep extending our conversation what are we actually saying? That they need us in order to think? They don’t. Our presence is a catalyst, a support and a challenge. They are more capable than we are of doing the rest!’
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3D Ideas 768: No Idea

Claire writes: ‘Surely you can’t do a contract (STOKeRS) with someone doesn’t know what they want to think about? That’s a question we are asked a lot – about a coaching style and in Action Learning. A contract at the start of a conversation is simply agreeing together

  • What are we doing today
  • How are we going to do it
  • How will we know we have done it

… before we start.

If we don’t agree together, there is a risk that I will decide by leading the questions.  And if the person who is thinking doesn’t know, we know that we don’t know what we are doing yet!  Outlining what’s going on might be a good start – as well as questions like ‘is this useful?’
In fact when the people say ‘I don’t know’ when we ask ‘Where shall we start?’ we can say what we are thinking: ‘As you speak some of the questions that come up in my mind are… so where shall we start?’.  In an Action Learning Set, that’s a great opportunity to invite the set members to write on a sticky note what their opening question might be – and to give it to the presenter so they can decide.’
© 2017 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 767: Omni-Not

Claire writes: “A delegate last week was delighted to discover that they were not going to need to abandon everything they have ever done and only use coaching. Coaching is not the right way to have every conversation.  Whilst working online with a couple of people who were feeling the aftershocks of an earthquake, coaching was not the right medium.  They needed to leave the building!
However, there are some useful things from the principles of coaching that can be applied more widely.  The most important one is this: Ask them! By that we mean, instead of taking the lead and deciding the best way to have a conversation – when there are choices to be made it can be even more powerful to Show the Working out and say ‘We could do this or this or that… which might be the most useful for you?’
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3D Ideas 766: Complexity

Claire writes: A reflection after last week’s blog: “I went into last week’s events thinking about power.  At the UKICF coaching conference, it was interesting to notice the hunger for models and things.  A Transforming Conversations course for the rest of the week brought plenty of dialogue and lots of learning.  Which leaves me with some questions:
  • If I can make what I do look complex, do I assume that it increases my value and status?
  • If I use language that is complicated, does it make me think that you will think that I am an expert or know what I am talking about?

 

If it’s possible to get a slapped wrist on Twitter, I have had one.  The night before giving a keynote at a conference about coaching being Deeply Simple, I had a drink in the bar with someone who is very well known in the world of coaching and organisations.  He told me that he’d done some research into things that are simple and not simplistic and come up with a useful word to describe it – simplexity.  Flattered that he liked my subject and agreed with me on the importance of simplicity, I tweeted about it.  Only to receive a tweet: ‘Oh dear, what happened to clean, easy language.  We should be role modelling this in #coaching, in my opinion.’

 

I am increasingly of the view that when we are complicated about things that can be simple, we are taking the power.  It’s easy to be complicated.  It not easy to be simple.  And it works!”

 

© 2017 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 765: Somebody and Nobody

Claire writes: “It’s a privilege to observe people in real time 1-1 conversations as part of training or development they do with us.  I watch people lean in ready to offer some sage advice, with good intention, or listen carefully so they can come up with the solution they think they are being asked to find. Often we are keen to make our contribution even on subjects where we are no expert! That’s made me think a lot about power.

Mads Morgan, who uses coaching in her role, once remarked ‘there’s only a certain amount of power in the room so if I take it, I have taken it from someone else.’  What concerns me is that when you see this happening, you can often see the other person diminishing.  In Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank, Fuller describes this as somebodying and nobodying.  In coaching we try and keep responsibility in the middle to avoid the abuse of power and it’s a delicate position to hold.  I like TS Eliot’s notion – ‘Teach us to care and not to care. Teach us to sit still.’  How often do we unintentionally nobody someone by over-caring? “
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3D Ideas 764: I’m thinking

Claire writes: “Coaching isn’t about telling people what to do. Neither, actually, is mentoring. What you are thinking might be useful. Naturally we switch to questions like ‘Have you thought about…’ ‘Why don’t you…’ ‘What I would do is…’

It might be useful but leading them down your track might not. And you will only know if you ask. Not lead! Then don’t chase it if it isn’t! I was in dialogue with someone this week who was talking about starting a business. He talked a lot about what he was going to be selling. I was listening to the gaps so my question became: ‘As you’re talking I’m thinking about all kinds of questions – who are your customers? where will you find them? what will you say to them? have you done the Maths…?’ I guess that I was sharing my stream of consciousness. Of course he had thought about many – and picked up the one that needed some thinking aloud.”

© 2017 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 763: Modelling

Congratulations to Su Blanch who has been awarded the ACC credential from the International Coaching Federation
Claire writes: “‘Let us all be the leaders we wish we had’ says Simon Sinek in the last sentence of his book Leaders Eat Last.
The most common feedback I hear from second and third level leaders in organisations is that their leaders don’t (seem to) do any development.  Sometimes that’s true.  And sometimes they are developing themselves in their role and not telling anyone.  If we want our people to learn and grow and develop, perhaps they need to know that it is also our practise to learn, grow and develop.  Even when that exposes some vulnerability for us.”

All of our coaches are working on their own practise.  And there are some new programmes coming up where you can develop yours.

  • Clare is starting a new online mentor coaching group on Fridays at 13.00-14.00 from 5th May
  • Claire is starting a new online practicum where people can practice, practice, practice what they are learning about coaching Fridays 14.00-16.00 from 19th May
  • Clare is sharing what we are learning about using coaching in transition online 11th May 09.30-10.45
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3D Ideas 762: A general sense of direction

Claire writes: “I’ve always been someone who prefers a general sense of direction over goals and targets.  Reading David Megginson’s Beyond Goals affirms that I’m not the only one.  So it was with mixed feelings that three weeks into 2017 I committed to a goal and a target: doing the same 13.6 mile sponsored walk every month for a year to raise £12000 for research into Motor Neurone Disease.  The friend who was part of the good idea over a coffee had recently been diagnosed with MND – as had our next door neighbour.  We calculated that if ten people walked every month and each raised £100, we would reach our goal.

 

That was 11 weeks ago.  10 people walked in February, 19 in March and 59 in April – and we have already hit our £12000 target.  We are learning that it’s easier to build a movement when you don’t think that’s what you’re doing!  And that backfilling systems and admin support isn’t the end of the world.  And that our new direction of ‘onwards and upwards’ is enough of a motivation to keep recruiting walkers and sponsors.

 

Most of the 3D team will be walking at some stage and we promise that we will only speak of the walk in this blog twice in the 12 months.  If you’d love to walk with us, or to donate, all the details are on our Just Giving page.”

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3D Ideas 761: Not a problem

Claire writes: “‘I haven’t got any problems so I have nothing to bring!’ is something we often hear from delegates on our training courses or in action learning sets.  Edgy thinking space doesn’t need to be a problem solving space.  It’s a rich opportunity to explore learning, development, to look at work situations from a different place, to grow, to be challenged and to challenge ourselves.

 

Given that a coaching style is, at its simplest keeping someone company (and accountable) while they think, it is a great place to flourish and try things out.  That is a gift to the organisations for which we work and the people whom we serve.  Whether they be communities, volunteers, patients, users or customers, they are all people – people who will benefit from us having had conversations that support us and challenge us.”

© 2017 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com   Register here to receive our blog posts every Monday by email