3D Ideas 788: What about what

Claire writes: “‘Simplicity is not a simple thing’ said Charlie Chaplin. At 3D, it is a journey for us to continue to simplify what we are learning and what we share. What we are learning is this: If I bring too much to a conversation – in terms of words, process or content – then I will end up doing most of the work. When we are truly empowering our colleague to think, they will be doing most of the work. Coaching is simply keeping them company while they think (and provoking where necessary). That’s why we don’t like using words like client or coachee – we are speaking with a person – who, we hope, has come to think.

We know that transformation in a conversation is more likely to happen when you have a container and boundaries to what you are doing together. Whatever you use to co-create a container, whether it is Dorothy Strachan’s What – So what – Now what – or Hawkins and Smith’s CLEAR – Contract – Listen Explore – Action – Review, we need to remember that if this conversation is about our colleague thinking, then the What/Contract stage is for them not for me. When we spend too long in the What/Contract, it is probably because I am asking questions so that I understand. If I am trying to understand, I am probably intending to find the problem and solve it for you. A coaching style is about whether you understand (enough) what we are doing today – how we are going to do it and how we will know we have done it.

If you use 3D’s coaching container to form conversations, remember that the What/Contract is for the thinker. And it’s useful in much more than coaching!”

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