Tag: working with people

3D Juggling 666: Mind your language!

Happy New Year from everyone at 3D Coaching

Claire writes: “Supportiveness comes in all shapes and sizes: ‘What are you going to do about it, then?’ may not rank in your top ten for support. And ‘What do you want (would you like) me to do about it?’ whether said or implied can often be what we say when we end up taking responsibility for things that really belong to someone else.

In any conversation, there are three areas of responsibility – yours, mine and what we do together in this conversation (and possibly beyond, depending on our roles). A coaching approach encourages us to be clear about language:

What can WE do in this conversation so that YOU are clear enough about a way forward?

Careful use of we for what’s happening here and now in the process of this conversation, and you for action keeps responsibility where it needs to be. If you’re in a leader, manager or supervisor role and it’s not all down to your colleague taking action, you can always end with ‘Is there anything that I need to do as a result of this conversation?’

People who use this say they sleep better at night!

Principle 10: You action – we process

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3D Juggling 658: Right Here Right Now

Claire writes: ‘People and their stuff are so interesting, if you’re that way inclined, that it’s easy to spend a lot of time finding out more and more.  That means in many 1-1s, the person becomes less significant as we engage in earnest listening and talking to their stuff – and not to them.  It feels supportive and interested… but unless we ask what we need to do right here and right now in this conversation, we may well end up going off at some very useful tangents or revisiting things they have thought about already.

What we are learning is that it’s easy to get back on track if that happens – all you have to ask is – ‘So, right here right now, what’s the most helpful thing we can do to move that forward.’  Occasionally people will ask you to solve that problem you were talking to – if that is in your gift – but most often they will ask you for something different!

Principle 2: Talk to the person not the problem’

© 2014 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 646: No Idea

Claire writes: “One of the commonest questions I am asked by people doing one to ones at work is “what do I do when the person I am talking to says they have no idea how to move forward?”

That’s probably because there is a high risk of us telling them what to do.  But if we want to help people find their own solutions and take more responsibility, that’s not the only way.  In coaching, we often scope options – so you could do nothing, or you could do <extreme>. What else could you do?  What would so and so say?  It’s even fine to throw in some other possibilities, as long as you don’t press for your preferred option. Telling and selling our ideas takes up the other person’s valuable thinking time.

Senge’s Five Disciplines suggest the difference between tell and sell and tell and coach. ‘So you could do this or this or this,  what else? Now you know that, what do we need to do here to help you move forward?’ A coaching style means we don’t have the last word.”

© 2014 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 633: Life- Life Balance

Our guest blogger this week is Adrian Nolloth.  Adrian writes: “I’ve always had a problem with the term ‘Work Life Balance’. We all know what it means, but it’s what it implies that bothers me. It says that there are two separate compartments: life and work, and that work is somehow different from life.

Surely if work is a valid part of the whole of life, then why the segregation?  Work, let’s face it, has the potential to be both boring and exhilarating, but then again so does life. They can both be rewarding –  perhaps in different ways. Life can be tough and difficult – but so can work. Work is something that we can absorb ourselves into and that can engage us totally – but then there are certain things we choose to do in life that can do that too.

Hang on… choose?  Choices?  Is that the key to this? Maybe the work/ life is about choices – and where there are choices there is a balance to be struck. Where possible, which parts of our whole life do we choose to allow priority over other areas for a given time? There are always balancing acts to perform in our lives, mainly due to what it throws up into our path (it has been said that life is what happens to us when we were busy making other plans).

The message in the Work Life Balance statement is that the choices we make in order to bring some kind of balance into our lives are important. So, whether it’s work, family, finances, friends, leisure, church… the list goes on, it’s all LIFE as we know it.

To quote the immortal words from the 1996 film Trainspotting – CHOOSE LIFE!”

© 2014 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 631: Keep out of the way

If you work in an organisation, you may be interested in December’s masterclass on the ethics of working in a system.  We have also set dates for new telephone masterclasses on all 11 competencies of coaching – Fridays 9am .  Suitable for people who have done some coaching training.

Claire writes: “It never ceases to amaze me the capacity people have to think and understand and find ways forward when we keep out of the way.  Yet most of us are highly skilled at interrupting or assuming or getting in the way of other people’s thinking processes.

That’s why in a coaching style conversation, process questions are so important:

  • What shall we talk about?
  • Where shall we start?
  • Where are we now?
  • What do we need to do now?
  • what’s the next step?
  • What do you know now that you didn’t know before?
  • What are you taking away?

Questions about content simply transfer data from the person speaking to the coach.  Which is only useful if the person coaching needs to know. Noticing things (succinctly!) and saying what we see or hear also helps.”

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 630: Plenty of time

Claire writes: “At Coaching for Excellence tomorrow we will be talking about how to coach in 5 minutes.  Of course it’s very different from a full blown sit down conversation.  And people find that it is far more productive than they imagined. Five full minutes to stand up and think about something with a thinking partner is a gift. So is the shift of a conversation from:
‘I know you’re really busy, but I’d like to talk to you’ when we reply ‘I’ve only got five minutes so let’s book an hour conversation at another time.’

to ‘I have a good five minutes now – if that’s useful, what would you like to talk about?’

When we know the other person is here to help us think, and we know they won’t suddenly walk off or take a phone call, five minutes might be enough.”

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 629: Inside Out

Claire writes: “‘Life has an inside as well as an outside’ was something Jeanette Winterson said in her Radio 4 discussion with the late John Taverner and others last week.

Something to ponder in the workplace?”

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3D Juggling 625: Pragmatically Imperfect

Claire writes: “Mary Poppins might have been practically perfect in every way.  The media try and convince us that we need to be perfect.  And we know we’re not!  In coaching we are not trying to help people be perfect.  We are trying to help them engage and thrive more effectively.  It’s very different. And interview coaching is all about becoming fluent enough – it’s not about giving perfect answers.

Many people we listen to talk about being perfectionists.  I heard an interesting and revealing talk this week by a senior leader in an organisation talking about her own journey away from perfectionism.  She said “If you’re trying to be authentic and people don’t like you that’s OK. If you’re trying to be perfect and they don’t like you it’s crippling.”

The world doesn’t need perfect people.  It needs people who are authentic.  I’m looking forward to reading Brene Brown’s ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ to find out more about what she has discovered in her research.  Meanwhile, being pragmatically imperfect seems a good start to the week.”

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 624: Leaders, Followers and Fans

Claire writes: “I often hear people saying that you can tell a leader because they have followers. A recent online Harvard Business Review talked about other characteristics of leaders.  And it’s true whether they are paid or volunteers:

  • They create value
  • They have a circle of influence
  • They lead people rather than simply managing work

And in the same way that leaders have followers, suppliers have customers or fans.  That’s a good lesson to small business owners wanting to get people along to a workshop as much as it is to churches or voluntary organisations trying to make a difference in their community. If you want to get buy in,

  • You’ll develop relationships first
  • You’ll listen to your potential customers
  • You’ll create something with them”

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” Mahatma Gandhi

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 614: Cookie Stealer

Claire writes: “There’s a great story in Alex Grimley’s Vital Conversations about a businesswoman who picked up some cookies as a treat at an airport.  She sat down at a table to eat them, have a cup of tea and read a magazine.  The airport was busy and so she shared the table with a Japanese businessman.  As she read, he helped himself to a cookie. She got increasingly frustrated especially when he then took the last cookie, broke it in half and gave her one piece and ate the other.  As he left the table, she went to chase him in fury.  And noticed her packet of cookies, unopened, in her bag.

It’s all about perception.  And we jump to conclusions like that all the time.  The only reliable data is what we might see through a video – not what we interpret.  Yet we often, like the businesswoman, give feedback based on what we interpret.  Next time you feel your hackles rising, it might be worth asking – what did I notice? And say what you see without without adding the voiceover commentary!

If you want to understand more, have a look at the Ladder of Inference

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
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