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3D Ideas 958: Switchbacks

Claire writes: “Malvern is a wonderful place to live. And it’s 30 floors on a Fitbit to walk to town! That’s about 300 feet.  When we first arrived, I was stopping for breath 3 times on the way to the supermarket.  The hills are magical – so we often drive and park higher up so that we can walk to the beacon.  It has been my intention to walk up to the top from our house (1200 feet) as soon as I felt fit enough. Walking every day has slowly acclimatised my muscles to the hills, so on Sunday I set off. 

Once you get beyond the town, there are many routes to the beacon.  We learned from experience that round here the direct route is often too steep and that the switchback paths are more manageable.  On a switchback, you’re walking forwards and then you do a 180 degree turn and walk in the opposite direction.  The houses lower down the hillside look the same and different as you pass them again and again and each time they get a bit further away.  But you’re never actually backtracking because each switchback is getting you closer to the top.  After what seemed an age walking through the woods, I finally saw the beacon and where I was going.  

Often we feel like we are backtracking when we are heading towards a goal or a dream.  If it’s a switchback, we might still be moving towards it. You can only see that when you take a different perspective.

The worst part of those paths is the bit where they double back.  The paths themselves slope gently… and often as they turn you need to climb steeply to get to the next part. That bit is more difficult – even when you know and can see that the path ahead will flatten out again. That can be true with goals too, I think.”

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May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

3D Ideas 957: Chemistry

Claire writes: “We are thinking about getting solar panels.  My husband has spoken to the company which has been recommended to us who has told him theirs are “Solar Edge which is more expensive than conventional PV arrays”.  Apart from the phrase more expensive, none of that, at the moment, makes any sense at all.  We just want to shift to renewable energy… So they are coming tomorrow to talk about it!

When people come to talk to us about coaching, some know exactly what it is.  Sometimes they come because someone else said it might be useful – or insist that it’s important! Describing coaching is a tricky one. The way we get round that is to ask “if there was something we could move forward here while we are talking, what would it be?”. Then they learn by experiencing – in 5 or 10 minutes! 

The coaching profession version of our solar panels search is often called a Chemistry Session.  The only way to find out whether someone is for you is both to see whether you trust them… and to understand what it will be like. I’ve had half a dozen people this week want to talk about chemistry sessions – in mentoring and supervision sessions, and in questions on social media.  If you want to dig deeper, John Whittington has, in my opinion, got the best insights on his new website https://thechemistrycheck.com/

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn Become a regular by signing up on iTunes, Spotify or podbean.  As well as listening our blog posts, you’ll hear conversations with coaching authors, thought leaders and people using a coaching approach at the grass roots.

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

Image by Maria Godfrida from Pixabay

3D Ideas 956: Prep

Claire writes: “Last week was upcycling week when I was de-oranging some of our wooden furniture.  It took hours of prep. And the painting itself was quick! Then yesterday, people came to talk about landscaping the grass rectangle that is currently our garden.  It’s turf on builders rubble so the prep is much more important than the planting. As they said – ‘it’s all in the preparation’

We prep for all sorts of things like talks, and meetings… but in coaching, I think, the prep is in the years of learning the art of partnership in conversations.

I’ve just come off the phone with someone who I will start working with in a couple of weeks. If I prepare for our first conversation based on what I heard today, I’ll take him backwards – because he will have moved on in his thinking by the time we have our first conversation.  And if I prepare for session 2 by thinking about session 1, either intentionally or unconsciously I’m likely to steer the conversation a bit towards my preparation.  Then I’ll be leading and he will be deferring to me. That’s a valid form of conversation – and it’s not coaching. After all, people leap in their thinking! That’s why we need to work out what we need to do together in coaching, I think. That’s what it means to be fully present and working in partnership.”

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn Become a regular by signing up on iTunes, Spotify or podbean.  Coming soon on the podcast: an interview with Tünde Erdös, author of Coaching Presence

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May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

3D Ideas 955: Where There’s a Will There’s a Way

Claire writes: “It’s a Bank Holiday in the UK today – so here’s a video to watch that will make you laugh and bring some learning! Talking about the art of improv, the presenter notices that  Willingness to embrace change in the moment lies at the heart of everything we do” 

That’s as much true in coaching as it is in improv theatre.”

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn Become a regular by signing up on iTunes, Spotify or podbean.  

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

3D Ideas 954: Black and White Thinking

Ruth writes: “When I was little, I remember my Dad making me argue that black was white and white was black. I think he thought that it was an exercise in formulating an argument. I think it may have just blown my little brain!

These days I still fight with the ideas of black and white. I default to seeing an option in the extreme and have to work hard to find the grey options in between.

In coaching, however, I’ve discovered that black and white can be my friend. We may need them to create grey. Offering a thinker extreme options and inviting them to place themselves physically on a line in between can be remarkably transformative. We begin to feel and experience the grey ground, before we can even articulate what that looks like. When we are standing between the options, somehow it’s easier to think about what that might be. 

So, my encouragement? Invite thinkers to imagine two extremes and to find the place between that feels most comfortable. And remember that black and white can be our friend.”

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Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

Image by Gentle07 from Pixabay

3D Ideas 953: Momentum

Claire writes: “Working out what we are doing before we dive into the work in a conversation (rightsizing) can feel like it will be a strange thing we do before we start talking properly. But it’s not a series of answers to tick before we start.  In reality, it’s a series of warm up questions that start the thinker thinking.  The questions are iterative – each one causing the thinker to think more deeply. Think of it as a warm up – slowly building momentum so that when you are clear on what is the work for today, they are already more flexible, moving and ready to dive in.  Getting some movement is particularly handy if they began by saying they were stuck. Although it’s important not to dive into deep work through comments about things that may need work and exploration later, it’s equally important to probe the initial  exploring of what is the work, how you’ll do it and how they will know you’ve done it. Questions like: ‘and that’ll be useful because…?’ ‘say more about how you’ll know?.

Beginning, middle and end momentum matters because it’s that momentum in itself  that can enable the person to move forward.  And when we begin and end in partnership, that momentum continues and they will do their best work after you have finished!”

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May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

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3D Ideas 952: Trust the Process

Ruth writes: “Training for a marathon is tough, I’ve decided. The London Marathon I was due to run in April 2020 is now this October and I’m finding my third attempt at marathon training the hardest yet. I keep hearing my inner voice telling me “you should give up… you’ll never get there… this is too hard”. 

Then I remember my running friends’ words “trust the process”.  Last year I DID run the marathon distance- even if it wasn’t in London. I stuck to the plan and got there (it ended up being 28 miles, but that’s another story!)

As I am on my training runs I keep telling myself to trust the process. I do this in my coaching too. Whenever I’m not sure what to do or wavering in my confidence of getting anywhere, I tell myself to hold my nerve and trust the process. I know that coaching works. Being there to listen and reflect back, gives the other person the space they need to think and all I need to do is be there, hear them and trust. 

So I will keep telling myself to trust the training process in running too. I’ve proved it works and I need to keep the faith –  until I cross that finish line in October.”

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn Become a regular by signing up on iTunes, Spotify or podbean.  

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

3D Ideas 951: Asking Optimistically

Claire writes: “On the last advanced practicum, we were talking about the difference between what is the focus for a single conversation, and the focus that was previously agreed for the whole relationship.  It was interesting to notice how difficult we were finding it to ask a question in a way that is optimistic and not judging.

When the person you’re talking with brings something that seems to have no relation to the reason they came to coaching, tone matters.

  • Listen – in your head – to the difference between: “How does this relate to our long term goals?”
  • And the implied tone that sounds like “How [on earth] does this [possibly] relate to our long term goals?” which sounds like judging.

We have talked before about staying away from ‘Oh dear’, ‘Oh help’ and ‘Oh no’ tones and I’m learning all the time about how much tone matters.

Optimistic and future focussed is an important stance of coaching. Don’t worry. That doesn’t need to sound robotic or weird!

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn Become a regular by signing up on iTunes, Spotify or podbean.  

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

Image by Here and now, unfortunately, ends my journey on Pixabay from Pixabay

3D Ideas 950: Wisdom

Claire writes: “For a few weeks, I’ve been sitting with an article by David Brooks in the New York Times. I thought the heart of it was about listening until I picked it up again this week:

“People only change after they’ve felt understood. The really good confidants — the people we go to for wisdom — are more like story editors than sages. They take in your story, accept it, but prod you to reconsider it so you can change your relationship to your past and future. They ask you to clarify what it is you really want, or what baggage you left out of your clean tale. They ask you to probe for the deep problem that underlies the convenient surface problem you’ve come to them with. It is this skillful, patient process of walking people to their own conclusions that feels like wisdom; maybe that’s why Aristotle called ethics a “social practice.” 

Which connects interestingly with some thinking I have been doing about wisdom.  In conversation with a number of wise women over the last few weeks, I am noticing that it’s who they are and have become through experiences and the many hats they have worn through their lives that underpins their embodied wisdom.  Not their knowledge. (Not averse to wise men – it’s just that these people all happened to be women!). It’s a great definition of coaching, too!”

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn Become a regular by signing up on iTunes, Spotify or podbean.  

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

3D Ideas 949: The Bracken

Claire writes: “I have a favourite morning walk. It’s an ancient path where traders used to carry salt. Over the four months we have lived here, the scenery has changed.  The bluebell wood with wide views has become a path full of high bracken. This morning I notice that the fields are full of ripening corn and the meadow has a different colour flower emerging through its companions.

Over time, I have learned not to try and notice everything all the time.  The joy comes from noticing dissonance – what’s different today? And today the ripening corn is getting wisps.

It’s the same in conversation – noticing dissonance – what’s different often brings more value than noticing everything.”

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn Become a regular by signing up on iTunes, Spotify or podbean.  

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

 

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