3D Ideas 871: Not a problem

Claire writes: ‘Last week I spent a day in the Maths classroom in a secondary school.  I was developing teachers who are using a coach approach with colleagues. There was plenty of learning and a recognition of how much coaching can easily seen to be a way of fixing under-performing teachers. Here’s one picture from the wall display about how Maths can change the world!

When receiving coaching makes someone feel done to, it’s painful for both colleagues and at best can only move things forward in a transactional way.  As long as there is enough trust, there is potential for transformation – when people have deeper insights that will change how they think about something.

The first step is to stop talking about problems that need fixing.  I like to start a conversation asking people ‘What’s your question for today?’.  It’s optimistic and future focused. It shows respect and makes the conversation easier.  And it shifts thinking.”

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3D Ideas 870: Edible Worms

Claire writes: “People tell us what to say, or how to work with them!  We teach that all the time, and it’s always great to be emailed some feedback with one of your examples.  Thank you Claire Banham:

The lady I was coaching yesterday decided that, as we were in the final 10 mins of our session, she didn’t “want to open the whole can of worms today.”  Then she paused and said “so to finish I’d like a bite-sized worm please!”

That picture (and luckily we were both picturing the sweet kind, rather than the wriggly garden variety!) was so useful, and helped her choose how we closed the session, I thought I’d share it with you!”

I am looking for examples of where you have used a coaching approach at work and it has been useful.  Four sentences would be great – your context, what was happening, what you did together and what was different/useful about the outcome. These are for a book to be published in late 2020.  Please email claire@3dcoaching.com and be clear that you give permission for it to be used.  Let us know if you would prefer your name/organisation to be anonymised. Thank you!”

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3D Ideas 869: Time Lag

Claire writes: “It maybe that I am a bit preoccupied with stuff at the moment, but I seem to have stumbled over a useful idea.

Several times recently family or colleagues have brought something big to a conversation when I wasn’t expecting it.  Every time I have acknowledged the thing and invited them to ask me again in a few days time. I haven’t consciously been thinking about the thing.  And I have noticed that when they have come back we have both moved on in our thinking which has led to some very productive conversations.

I wonder if this is another example of the best work happening in the space in between?”

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3D Ideas 868: Mentoring

It’s interesting to notice how much work we are doing teaching some simple coaching principles in organisations – to mentors – and also to managers doing appraisal/review.  It makes a difference. Claire is off to Prague this week to share some of the learning at the ICF Global Conference. This weeks blog comes from Dora Carlos who attended Transforming Conversations in Cape Town in June.

Dora writes: “How can you advocate for coaching in a continent wide mentoring launch event of your organisation when you are only given 4 sessions during the whole week (and are not very experienced either)?

With trembling, Joy and I started with an Active Listening exercise we had learned from Claire. Session two was Powerful Questions where we already started practising in triads – mentor, mentee and observer. Then a short introduction to STOKeRS and feedback in session 3 and from there more practice in triads with the Noticer as third person. If I still had doubts about the Noticer as a useful tool for teaching the art of Active Listening, those disappeared into thin air. The participants were fascinated that it actually worked to observe when someone is thinking and how different everyone’s body language is. Thank you, Claire, for this simple, but powerful tool for learning! We won over the majority of the participants in the short time we were given. I hope, you will find a few of them, who want more, in one of your courses soon.”

It only takes a few tweaks to what we do to change everything. Create a container for a conversation, don’t start doing the work until you know what you’re doing, and notice don’t diagnose.  Simple not simplistic. #transformational!

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3D Ideas 867: Big Red Ball

Claire writes: “Last week in training, we invited people to do a quick picture/diagram to review the last year for an appraisal/review conversation.  Their colleague was invited to say what they noticed. It’s so tempting to describe what you see. The most value comes from saying what you see as a question: ‘that line has a gap?’, ‘that’s solid’, ‘that person has no mouth?’. 

Since the Teflon blog two weeks ago, I have been thinking a lot about how easy it is for us to affix meaning to someone else’s stuff. I was looking for a way of saying that simply, and was reminded of Joyce Grenfell’s monologue ‘Free Activity Period’. Here’s the whole thing if you want five minutes of laughter! Of course we aren’t treating our colleague as a child. Nevertheless, she has some useful insight: “And this is my friend Caroline, and Caroline is painting such a lovely red picture, aren’t you, Caroline? I wonder what it is? Perhaps it’s a lovely red sunset, is it? Or a big red orange? It’s a picture of Mummy! For a moment I thought it was a big red orange, but now you tell me, I can see it is a picture of Mummy. Aren’t you going to give her any nose? No nose.” 

We are not analysts.  Letting someone make their own meaning often leads to transformation. Making meaning for them stops it.”

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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 866 Who Does The Work? 2

Claire writes: “Partnership is the area where I am doing most learning this year.  There will be a whole chapter about it in the book (Simplifying Coaching [McGraw Hill] – coming out December 2020).

In a one to one, the concept of partnership brings great insights into who does the work in the room.  If I do all the work and lead the conversation my way, why would you do much? Moving to a coaching style that’s in partnership means that the thinker will need to go and process in a coffee shop afterwards.  Although deep listening takes energy, I’d love you to be skipping off down the corridor! That learning can be applied in any kind of one to one – even review and appraisal!

The first step? Contract together in every conversation – what are we doing? how shall we do it? how will we know we have done it?  If your colleague is reluctant to be there – how will we know at the end that this has been a productive use of our time? Or even – how will we know at the end that this hasn’t been a waste of time.

Making the conversation work is a shared responsibility!”

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3D Ideas 865: Teflon

Claire writes: “I’ve just come back from a residential week in the Yorkshire Dales where people mid-career were reflecting on where they are, and how and what might be different in the next phase of their work. Like in a series of conversations, most of the insights and transformation came as they walked, talked to each other or stared at the horizon.

Several times, I was asked how I decompress after having more than 14 one to one conversations in 48 hours. Believe it or not, there was enough space in between to process that question. My job is to facilitate someone else’s thinking, wondering and meaning making. That doesn’t need me to think, or solve or make my own meaning. I need to notice well, say what I see and give you my full attention while we are together. Much of what was said in the last week, I have already forgotten. Because I didn’t take it in! My systemic teacher, Lynn Stoney calls this facilitator’s amnesia. It’s useful. In roles where I have responsibility for the stuff that is spoken about, I must take it in. When the conversation is all about you, you need my attention more than my memory. That’s why I don’t take notes.

And if I didn’t take it in, I won’t take it home, either.”

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3D Ideas 864: What can only I do?

Without doubt, the best way to escalate our learning as coaches is to watch coaching as much as it is to practice it. It is in the noticing chair where we notice all the things we miss when we are focusing on asking quality questions! If you’re trained as a coach with 3D or elsewhere, Join Claire P for a one-off two hour practicum 7th October.

Claire writes: “A warm welcome to Ness Callis who has joined us as admin assistant.  Ness has joined us to make sure that we have the capacity to continue to deliver high quality work.  It means that we are working out, in the office, who does what.

I was inspired by an article from the Alban Institute which asked the question of leaders ‘What can only I do?’ It’s a very useful question.  It informs our decisions from admin tasks through to deployment and delivery.  Sometimes the answer to the question is the right answer. Sometimes it means that we have to share knowledge more.  It is not OK that I am the only one who can descale the coffee machine!

We don’t always get it right. And it’s always useful to hold the question.”

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3D Ideas 863: What’s it for?

Claire writes: “Our job is to have conversations where people want to move forward.  They come to these conversations for all kinds of reasons. Some don’t know why they have come.  When they do, it seems to be one of these. They come:

  • with a particular thing to explore – doing something differently, or being different
  • when they are stuck
  • as they are transitioning to a new job, or project
  • to think about endings or moving forward
  • or because they just need a place outside their context – family or organisation where, over time, they would like an external thinking partner or critical friend
  • for a reason they can’t articulate

What will be useful always starts with knowing what the conversation/s will be for. Only then can we take a stab at how long, how often or how many.  Because often one conversation can be enough. Which is why we do so much single session coaching.

This thinking emerged in conversation with Adrian Goodall PCC.  In coaching, we are about moving forward – although glancing back can be useful sometimes.  If the conversation that’s needed is to have a good look back, that requires a different conversation with a different kind of practitioner.”

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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 862: Closed Questions

Claire writes: “Open questions encourage people to talk.  Closed questions can be answered by yes or no. The books say that in coaching we should be asking open questions.  I totally agree with that… except when closed questions are better!

If the person I am talking with has leapt ahead after an insight, a closed question is better: Do you know what you’re going to do next?  Otherwise they will answer the open question and tell you what they already know! That may take them backwards. Do you need to say it out loud is a good supplementary when they say ‘yes’!  It’s only useful to explore what next if they don’t know.”

Ⓒ 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!