3D Ideas 842: Half a Centimetre

We are delighted to share that Alexandru Popa has joined the 3D team to deliver systemic board and team development.  At the same time, Clare Townsend and Ruth Bennett will be developing some events for young people at decision points as well as offering them 1-1 coaching.  The 3D Team work will enable us to offer 3D Youth work at low cost. Call the office if you want to talk with Alex, Clare or Ruth.

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Claire writes: ‘There is nothing new under the sun. And everything we learn and share through our work are things some people know intuitively and use sometimes. Yet naming them gives us the opportunity to integrate them more fully into the things we do.

Moving, we know, can both speed up our thinking and help move us from being stuck. Nietzsche said ‘Only those thoughts that come by walking have any value.’ In coaching it’s especially useful because we are more able to notice when our companion is having new insights. A recent tweeter tried it out: @3dclaire might appreciate knowing that, this morning, I walked around Pimlico for 40 minutes, half a centimetre behind someone. It worked a treat. #simplenoteasy’

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3D Ideas 841: Everything is Disposable

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Claire writes: “This week in Transforming Conversations we will be exploring the value of changing the medium to have better conversations. Instead of talking through a situation, people will draw it and their colleague will simply notice what they see. I always tell delegates that 80% of what they will notice is useless and 20% is useful. And the the things we notice – without judgement – often transform… when we offer lightly.

Exactly the same learning came when we were learning about presence with Stuart Reid. We spent a whole day doing theatre improvisation. There was so much deep learning (and laughter) that he will be running it again (11th October 2019 in Central London only 12 spaces). In coaching we offer questions. In improv we simply make an offer. And one of the principles of improv is that everything is disposable. 80% goes nowhere. The skill, of course, is to notice quickly and work out what to do next!”

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3D Ideas 840: Tennis Ball Machine

Claire writes: “Tennis ball machines, I have seen in films, can serve lots of balls as you practice your return.  

Questions asked at the same pace as a tennis ball machine are quite overwhelming. We often see one question after another launched at the person thinking. The first thing it does is stop them thinking at all.

Great questions have a long life and may need to do their great work before the next question comes along. Slow down.  Say less. And wait until they ask for the next question, with their eyes or their body.”

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3D Ideas 839: Move

Claire writes: “Einstein says we can’t solve a problem in the frame in which created it.

Many problems in organisations have been talked about around meeting room tables plenty of times. Which is why standing up or moving to a different layout or a different place can unlock everything.

I worked with a group a few weeks ago who were amazed how far they got and how optimistic they were able to be.  That’s because we did most of the work at the end of the room without furniture. And we didn’t sit down.”

#changethemedium

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3D Ideas 838: Insteads

Claire writes: “We have written before about the usefulness of David Clutterbuck’s 4 Is to close a conversation together.  And how it can be used to co-create some written output from a conversation when that’s useful. It’s great in appraisals. Especially for people who are averse to goals or objectives.

  • What are the issues we have talked about?
  • What are your insights?
  • What ideas have emerged?
  • What are your intentions?

Ruth and I were training the other day and when I came to unpack the kit in the office, she’s written me a post it: What if the 5th I was instead?

That’s a great start to a follow up conversation when people feel guilty they didn’t do what they intended:  What did you do instead?

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3D Ideas 837: It’s Not Magic

Claire writes: “This thing we do, that we call coaching, changes lives and organisations. It’s also not magic. It’s not weird.  And it’s not me doing something to you. If your experience is that’s what has happened in a conversation, be astute.

A coaching style is having a conversation with someone.  What’s weird is that it’s a conversation between two people about one person.  Be normal! What’s distinctive is that when we learn to stop doing all the things that stop transformation happening, the results can be extraordinary.

So if you’re using a coaching style at work, there is no need to start calling your colleague a client or a coachee.  They are a person. And if you want to try this way of working out, ‘Would it be useful to have a different kind of conversation?’ is a great start!”

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3D Ideas 836: Landing the Plane

Claire writes: “It amazes me how some professionals instinctively know what is an hour – or, in the case of GPs, 10 minutes. I notice as I listen to people having conversations that even when there has been partnership throughout a conversation, the person with the perceived power, or role power often takes the lead in ending. ‘We are at the end of our time. Shall we continue talking about this (massive thing) next week?’ Or ‘Let’s stop there’. There has been no shared discussion that the end is coming.

If I take the sole responsibility for landing, it’s not partnership anymore.  That’s like landing the plane without giving notice that passengers need to return to their seats and fasten their seat belts.  How unsettling is that? Or I land the plane on a desert island where I expect you to stay until I can meet you again next week.

We notice that the most significant learning happens after a conversation is over. And only if we have co-created  the end in partnership. Although it can feel rude to talk about time, saying:
We have ten minutes left what do we need to do between now and the end to get where we need to be?
And
So in our final two minutes?”
…”Have we finished?”

Often people say yes we have finished in a tone that sounds like no. So I simply say “and in the minute we have left what do we need to do?”  They know so that when we come back to land the second time, we do.

When we land well they continue the thinking and learning journey.  We know that because we ask them.

It’s interesting to notice that pilots begin the descent well before the plane is over its destination.  It feels risky to start the end before we have seen transformation. And yet the insights often come on the descent to the end. All we need to do is trust the process.”

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3D Ideas 834: Poetry (not planes)

Claire writes: ‘I often laugh with people who come to us for training about the fact that reading TS Eliot’s Four Quartets can give more insight into a coaching approach than a stack of text books. Here is Alec Guinness reading them.

Poetry makes connections. The poet Mary Oliver died last week. What I love about poetry is that, like in great coaching, the reader (or thinker) makes their own meaning. Here is an insight from Mary Oliver which I scribbled down a long time ago on the back of a napkin.

“The man who has many answers is often found in the theaters of information where he offers, graciously, his deep findings. While the man who has only questions, to comfort himself, makes music.” ― Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings”

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3D Ideas 833: Planes 2

Claire writes: “I was sharing with Nicky this morning how useful it is to think of a plane journey as a metaphor for a great conversation.

And we know that there is always more to learn – as we discovered. We were imagining how frustrated we would be if invited on a magical mystery flight that guaranteed we would go to a new destination.  Only to find that we had landed in a place we have been many times before.

That’s why it is so important to co-create the process for a conversation and work out together what we are doing before we start. Whether what we are doing is coaching, or something else, a great contract for today increases the likelihood of getting to new thinking.”

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3D Ideas 833: Planes 1

Claire writes: “We have learned that if we want to increase the likelihood of having transformational conversations – where someone knows something about their own stuff at the end they didn’t know at the beginning – then we must have boundaries. Just before Christmas someone looked at the coaching container I had drawn on the flip chart and said that it looks like a plane journey. Some metaphors have depth and insight. This one does.

They are right. A conversation is like a plane journey. And if it’s a conversation facilitated by one person about the other, we need to have agreed where we are going … even if that agreement is that we aren’t sure. Otherwise you think we are flying to Prague. And I take us to Southampton because that’s where I always fly – and because it’s worked for others I think it’s a great route.

Great conversations are co-created which is why it’s so useful to create the container for the conversation in partnership.”

© 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