3D Ideas 854: Who has the power?

Claire writes: “We have run a few courses in the last month where organisations are hoping that a coaching style will enable people to pass on responsibility and knowledge in their encounters with others.

The challenge is that people do what they normally do when they are where they normally are.  If we have sat in this place in numerous conversations where you have taken the responsibility, you using different words will probably make little difference!  The reason for that is that although you can learn not to take the responsibility, if I give it to you, you still have it!

Here are a few things that we know make a difference – we’d love you to comment on the blog and add your own:

  1. Have the conversation in a different place
  2. Move more
  3. Know that the more words you use, the more you look like the expert – even when you’re not
  4. Don’t start doing the work until we know
    • What are we doing today?
    • How shall we do it?
    • How will we know we have done it
    • You’re probably familiar by now with our STOKeRS questions – the R question – what role shall I take? –  or more simply ‘how are we going to do this’ almost always elicits the answer ‘I don’t know’.  It is important to ask because you are beginning by suggesting ‘I don’t know the best way for us to do this – I won’t do it my way – let’s work it out together’.  So that when you check in a few minutes later ‘Is this useful?’ You are more likely to get an honest answer!
  5. We blogged in February about Landing the plane and how perceived power can affect the end of conversations

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2019

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 853: Connections

Claire writes: “We took Transforming Conversations to Cape Town last week to work with an organisation building capacity in local staff.  So much learning for me! Three things have happened in the space of a few days.

Firstly, as I left, they gave me a bag of gifts which included a card with this quote from Nelson Mandela: If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”  

Secondly, a delegate asked if he could dip out of the practice and read the manual. I said no! ‪It’s all about the practice‬ #ancient ‘One must learn by doing the thing; or though you think you know it you have no certainty until you try’ Sophocles 415BC‬

And then yesterday while I was pondering this at my desk, I received a text from a friend who’d just read The Thin Book of Naming Elephants “…leadership ultimately comes down to conversations and connections; asking questions; listening to responses; and ensuring that impact matches intent.”

This is why learning to work better in partnership matters a lot.  Conversations look different with different people. And we only know that when we get great feedback which is why practicing and getting feedback is terrifying… and extremely useful.”

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2019

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 852: What is the E?

It’s brilliant, when we are out and about, to hear feedback from people who are applying some of  what they have learned with us. I met Cara Moore at the UK ICF conference and we had an interesting conversation about the e in STOKeRS.  There was a blog about it in 2015.  

Cara writes: “I have been using STOKeRS for a while now for my contracting at the start of a coaching session, and found it to be immensely useful as a reminder about what to include. However the STOKeRS questions didn’t cover a couple of questions that I also like to ask at the contracting stage. Furthermore it always niggled me that there was no ‘E’!

So the additional questions I like to ask to expand a bit on the Subject and Outcome that the client brings are:

  • What is important to you about this?
  • How important is achieving the goal for you?
  • What difference will achieving it make to you?

So to remind me of these questions, and to resolve the niggle I have about there not being an ‘E’, my suggestion is that ‘E’ is for Emphasis!!

What do you think?”

© 2019 Cara Moore cara@caramoore.co.uk.  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 851: The Pre-Conversation

Claire writes: “We know, rationally, that trying to talk well to two different people about two different things at the same time means that we don’t have either conversation well.  The privilege I have of listening to people having conversations, is that I have noticed that’s also true when we are talking to one person.

 

It’s not unusual to have someone come who is angry, or upset, or overwhelmed, someone where we need to do some arriving or greetings before we can do the work.  So one day I came up with the idea of a pre-conversation, and drew it on the flipchart

If you’re the facilitator of the conversation, what’s useful about being clear that this is separate means that you can give good attention to the bit that needs to be done before we start doing the work of the conversation.  I am noticing more and more that putting a time boundary around that can make it even more effective.

That might sound like moving from

‘I’m going to tell you how much I have going on for so long that we never get any thinking done here and I get even more overwhelmed’ to ‘would it be useful to download for 5/10 minutes and then we will work out what we need to do today?’

or

‘Let me catch up on everything that’s happened since we last met that there is almost no time to move forward today’ to ‘would it be useful to take 5 minutes to talk about the actions you have taken/what you have thought about/ insights you have had since we last met?’

When we put time boundaries in, people still talk about feeling heard – and they know to give the ten minute version, and not the two hour version.  So there is plenty of time remaining to look forwards”

© 2019 3D Coaching Ltd

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 850: Make it your own

Linda recently completed Transforming Conversations and made it her own.  She emailed us to say:I just wanted to let you know how useful I’ve found the learning from the course… it does just what it says on the tin and has transformed the recent conversations I’ve been having.

The last few weeks I’ve spent visiting my mum in hospital.  She has been terminally ill for some time and died at the end of April. Not an easy time, but I found myself remembering and making good use of all that I have discovered on the course

  • ‘How do I know what my mum means when she says she doesn’t want to be in the hospice?’ – Ask her!
  • ‘What do I want to get from my brief talk with the consultant – how will I know I’ve got what I wanted to know – where do I start – how do we do this?’
  • ‘How do I frame a question in fewer words?’

And in the hospice the ‘moving while talking’ thing was so useful with my family – getting out of the room helped us when we felt stuck and had no answers.

Yesterday I had a particularly awful meeting with a so-called personal banker at <a bank> to release some money from my mum’s account to pay for her funeral.  The man I met with didn’t use my name, didn’t introduce himself, didn’t refer to my mum or her death at all during our time together. It was really bad – but while he was away photocopying the paperwork I had time to frame my question for him. At the end I stayed sitting in my seat and he turned back to his computer screen.  He looked a bit surprised that I was still there and said ‘right – that’s it, we’re done now’ – ie you can go.   No end to the conversation, no goodbye. So I told him that my Mum had worked for <the bank> for thirty-five years and asked him how he might rate his compassion towards me on a scale of one to ten – and if he had another meeting like this maybe he’d try to do a bit better? As I walked away he shouted ‘sorry’ to me.

It felt very good not to get angry so thank you for all the wisdom you have shared and for the change that it brings about – maybe in an unexpected way.”

© 2019 3D Coaching Ltd

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 849: Simple (again)

Claire writes: “Alex sent me this great quote from Steve Jobs the other day: ‘Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.’”

© 2019 3D Coaching Ltd

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 848: 90 Degrees

Claire writes: “Last week included a talk at the UK Conference of the International Coaching Federation as well as our annual Transforming Conversations open course.  I think that I learned as much as the delegates!

The live coaching demo was done standing up.  I always do that because everyone in the room can see, and also we know that people think faster when standing.  The nature of the stage meant that we were standing at 90 degrees to each other (think two adjacent sides of a square).  As she was talking and thinking, she was facing forward. I stood next to her watching her create some great ideas. And I only spoke when she turned to look at me.  That clear invitation to me as the facilitator of her thinking to only speak when she invited me in by looking at me meant that it was easy to wait and not interrupt her thinking.

It worked on Tuesday, so we shared it on Wednesday!  It was so effective, that Alex and I watched as someone accompanied a thinker.  The coach’s face suggested full attention and no question forming. He was simply noticing and bearing witness.  And then the thinker pointed to the floor as they moved to a new and useful insight. The coach turned and started to look at the same place on the floor.  Now there was 100 degrees between them and they were looking in the same direction. The coach scratched his chin and we watched as he got sucked into the stuff.  The edginess was gone! I walked up behind him and silently tapped his arm to encourage him to move back to a side on position. He stopped scratching his chin and the edginess was back!  Time and again over the last 48 hours we saw the value of that 90 degree position which allows us to be with someone and shifts from the kind of position where we are talking to someone and end up being seduced by the story. This is probably easier when we are standing up than sitting down.  Try it!”

© 2019 3D Coaching Ltd

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com. Sign up here to receive our blog by email every Monday.

3D Ideas 847: Reverse Coaching?

Claire writes: “I have just read an interesting article on reverse mentoring.  Alex, one of our systemic team coaches, says he has seen it work well.  For example with young graduate recruits mentoring senior leaders on their use of tech.

What about reverse coaching, I wonder? My current learning is about power and partnership. Coaching only works when there is enough capacity between the two people in the conversation to work in partnership. We teach a lot about keeping the responsibility in the middle by co-creating the conversation. Interestingly, even when people are great at not taking the responsibility in a conversation, it’s another lesson altogether to notice when the thinker gives it to you. Unless you give it back and return to co-creating you will still be holding it. Which puts the power out of balance.

We notice that this shared responsibility and co-creation can work even when there is a differential in role power when the coach, or the facilitator of the conversation, pays attention to make sure they aren’t doing all the work.  Even when they are the line manager.

So why not reverse coaching? We’d be interested to hear your thoughts?

© 2019 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</a>


3D Ideas 846: Mentoring


Claire writes: “A useful conversation with someone this morning led to them asking me to work with them in a hybrid set of roles.  Although the purist definition is that in coaching you never offer in any advice, we have been learning some interesting stuff in these hybrid conversations.

Aaron Albury says that coaching is holding up a mirror while mentoring is holding up a map. I’d say that mentoring is offering to hold up a map, if that’s useful!

In listening to lots of 1-1 conversations every week, I notice a couple things.

  1. Trying to avoid saying ‘have you thought about’ leads to complex questions which sort of have the answer in them and slow things down
  2. Saying ‘have you thought about?’ with more than a few words risks the thinker feeling flooded with solutions that they may well have thought about already

More and more I am saying ‘would it be useful for me to (briefly!) think out loud?’.  It works because I can scope a breadth of what I am thinking about without going into detail.  It feels less judging. And they can pick up on words or ideas that resonate. Or when I was demonstrating it in a group where someone ran coach training, I said ‘would it be useful for me to say what we do?’  He said yes, so I shared it in a sentence. There was silence. And it gave him a breakthrough – he said ‘Got it! I know what I’ll do. It’s [something totally different from what I said and it came from him usefully processing what he heard]’..

And when we are mentoring someone to support them to grow, it may be useful to give them the inside track on how we make decisions.”

© 2019 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

3D Ideas 845: Freezing

Claire writes: “I will always remember running a course on how to prepare for an interview when my co-facilitator shared their worst experience with the group. ‘The interviewer’s first question was: Why have you applied for the job?… and I froze’.

Good preparation can reduce the likelihood of freezing in interviews. Many conversations, however, can’t be prepared for and it’s common for people to get a version of ‘what on earth do I say now?’ or even brain freeze. When we are in conversation with someone else and encouraging them to think, our freezing can stop them thinking because they still experience what we think we are hiding!

In the improv pilot day at the end of last year, we all experienced the external version of freezing. It was terrifying and it was funny, and the work we did together in a space of trust enabled us to overcome some of the fear that makes a momentary freeze into something that disables us.

Presence and holding space well is a skill that’s important in leadership, coaching, presenting, and training as well as in theatre. I have travelled with a question for several years about whether you can teach this. And finally we tried it out with improv and it seems you can! Join me and Stuart Reid on Friday 11th October in Central London if you think that some attention to presence will support the work you do.”

© 2019 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