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3D Ideas 930: Is There Anyone There? (aka Zoom Hygiene)

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Claire writes: “It’s funny how something leads to new learning.  The YouTube sensation that was the Handforth Parish Council meeting got me thinking about Zoom meetings.  And Zoom hygiene.  

With everyone who can working from home, some people assume their full power confidently sitting in comfort in front of their professional screen in a well-equipped home office.  Others zoom perched on the kitchen table or even the bed – in places where they may not be at their best. This morning I ran a session on receiving feedback for the staff of an organisation around the world. Some were in the office, and some in the bedroom.  So in advance of a work meeting (or parish council), some useful things to think about are

  • where can I sit so that I can walk away after the meeting if this gets tricky because if you are sat on the bed the feelings that were evoked may stay with you
  • if I have to be in a bedroom and there is more than one, can I be in someone else’s room so I can walk away?
  • sitting in the middle of the screen feels quite powerful to others. If that’s not your intention, sitting slightly to the side is less formal (“I have experimented with slightly more sideways postures, and being off centre on the screen. It has made a huge difference! I find myself slightly more relaxed and at ease with leading a meeting, coaching or training session and, over time, it will be interesting to see what effects it has on those I meet with”.)
  • use a headset (even simple audio – no need for a microphone) – otherwise your colleague thinks they are having a confidential conversation with you when they are in fact talking to your household.  It also makes for extra background noise
  • and if you’re having a conversation with a colleague ask them: ‘Is there anyone else there?’ You might think it’s you and them. It’s useful to know if the children are there. Or a partner who might be judging what they are saying.

And finally, you can hide yourself.  After all it’s odd to have a 1-1 conversation when you’re watching yourself! Two of you and one of them also impacts the dynamics as well as being a nightmare if you’re self conscious!”

We will be running a couple of sessions for coaches who want to get more confident at working online. Email us at info@3dcoaching.com and we will give you priority booking when we get the dates.

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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!

3D Ideas 929: Answer Smash

Claire writes: “ I wonder if you have got hooked on quiz shows in lockdown?  We love the BBC quiz Richard Osman’s House of Games.  The last round is called answer smash.  You have to identify a picture and a word and then the answer connects the two.  You have to be syllable perfect to win the point.  And the only way to win is to think yourself into the quiz setters mind to understand what they mean.

In conversations, we often ask complex questions where people have to play mind games to understand what we mean.  And if we aren’t word perfect, they will answer the question they hear – that may not serve their thinking.

Great questions come from what we see or hear or sense (or a great question we read in a book or heard someone else asking).  Saying what you see – without judgement – is the most powerful thing you can do.  And it unmashes the smash.”

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn. Subscribe on iTunes 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 928: Name the Elephant

Claire writes: ‘When I did my PCC accreditation as a coach, I had to rush home from a Christmas concert and phone the US to coach the person who picked up the phone.  It was a little nerve wracking to say the least.  When I asked him what he would like to think about, he told me what it was and that it had been a problem for 20 years. Now not only had I missed half a concert, but I had a huge sense of injustice and it felt like there was an elephant in the room that was now my problem to fix.  How dare he!? Out of frustration, not skill, I asked: ‘So what do we need to do in this half an hour so you aren’t thinking about it for the next 20 years?’

It worked, he was astonished, we moved it forward – and I passed! Unless we acknowledge what they have said, I think we get into an unspoken agreement that they think I’ll sort it out.  We work too hard, and we end up carrying a problem that is not ours. So if someone says something tricky at the beginning of a conversation, explicitly use it as part of the agreement of how you’re going to work together.

Here’s another example: ‘It’s completely overwhelming me’ becomes ‘What do we need to do in this half hour so it’s not overwhelming you?’

And acknowledging what is means you don’t accidentally pick it up!”

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn. Subscribe on iTunes 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 927: Don’t be a Robot

Claire writes: ‘“If you call someone a thinker and ask them what they want to think about, does that mean that coaching is more about facts than feelings?” I have been asked this question a few times over the last few weeks.  

Thinker is an imperfect description of the person with whom we find ourselves in conversation. They are a wonderful human who brings all of themselves to this future focussed conversation. The STOKeRS questions that we use to rightsize the conversation together are a way of partnering to work out what we are doing today, how we are going to do it, and how we will know we have done it.

This might take a few minutes, and it might take most of the conversation. It requires a balance between being deeply human, and acknowledging that we are here to do some good work together.  So when someone says something – like ‘my job is at risk and life feels overwhelming’ we need to acknowledge that without affixing meaning to it.  That might sound like ‘that sounds a lot to hold’.  Great coaching comes from creating good boundaries around the work we are doing today and not diving into the work until we know what we are doing… and that doesn’t require us to be a robot!’

Next week I’ll be talking about how to avoid working too hard when you slip into feeling you have to help too much.

 

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn. Subscribe on iTunes 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 926: Let Go of the Baton

Claire writes: “Zoom world is loved by some and hated by others.  One thing I love is that when I watch coaches coaching, I get the same view as them of the thinker thinking.  My neighbours must be fed up with me saying loudly: ‘Please. Stop. Talking!’”

Coaching is about keeping someone’s thinking in flow so that they feel heard and get new insights into their own stuff. Sometimes that’s by keeping them in flow – sometimes it’s by asking a question from a different place. But what I observe a lot of the time is that the thinker has picked up the baton and is ready to move on… while their companion keeps talking. By the time the coach has stopped talking, a question that was powerful has become less effective. The thinker was sitting waiting for you to let go of the baton so they could speak.

When we are listening to the recording together, I stop it as soon as we see the thinker pick up the baton – in their face.  It’s a bit of a game. And it’s deep learning. At that point the question was 10 out of 10. Then we count down for every word the coach says while they are holding on to the question. What they need to do is let go and let the question do its good work.  That’s what the thinker is waiting for!”

You can now listen to the blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn. Subscribe on iTunes 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 925: Engine Noise

You can now listen to the weekly blog on iTunes through our podcast The Coaching Inn

Claire writes: “We were debriefing a live coaching demonstration last week and talking about how many times we had landed the conversation.  The thinker said we had finished and I checked in what else we needed to do to end well. The question the group asked was how I knew we weren’t quite there. It’s about the tone.

Online working is offering the opportunity to learn even more about simplicity in conversations. Almost all the learning is about pace and tone. The engine of a plane changes tone as it begins to land, and then again when it hits the tarmac. And again when it stops. That is true in conversations too. When transformation happens and the person is getting new insights and a way forward, they change their tone.  It feels like a move from hesitant to definite. It sounds like an increase in volume.

I don’t keep landing in order to pin down all their actions. Some of that they will do themselves. Often that final question when everything seems incomplete is: ‘Do you know where you’re going to keep thinking about that?’ I keep landing until I hear the change of tone.  And that’s often on the second go.  Conversations end well when we begin with the end in mind, as Covey said. We need to start the end about the middle of the conversation – ‘we have 30 minutes left, what do we need to do to end well?’ And keep counting down. ‘So in the last 10 minutes?’. It is not received as a shortage of time. It’s received as a gift to make sure the work we are doing is the right size for the time we have left.  We have plenty of time when we make the conversation the right size.  When we don’t, and we demonstrate that we have all the time in the world, we may not get to the heart of the matter. Listen to the tone!”

Ⓒ 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 924: The Same Chair

Claire writes: “So England is in lockdown again.  Version 3.0. For various complicated reasons, we have found ourselves living in a different house in each lockdown. On one level that’s annoying because in our in-between home we don’t have access to most of our books – and there aren’t many jobs that need doing hanging about. On the whole this is a huge advantage because we aren’t feeling stuck. There are new places to explore on daily walks and new views from the window.

Many people – all over the world – have spent much of the last 9 months in the same chair looking at the same screen.. I have many conversations with people who are talking about feeling stuck in some way. They are feeling stuck and the chair that they are sitting in and the screen they are looking at is compounding that. They have probably talked about those feelings – or thought about them – while sitting in the same chair talking to people through the same screen. Fitness instructors talk about muscle memory.  Your eyes and your backside will have developed muscle memory around this chair and this screen. 

If we want to facilitate people to think differently – or even just be a good friend to someone, it’s probably useful to get out of that chair and away from that screen. The movement in itself will begin to unlock the stuckness. That might look like taking through Zoom while standing up and leaving against the wall. Or it might be that you both pop on a phone headset and go for a walk and talk. You’re both going to have to work really hard if you’re talking about stuckness and sitting in those chairs looking at those screens. Move!”

Ⓒ 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 923: Mud

Claire writes: “And suddenly it’s a new year. With hopes of a vaccine and lockdowns still to come, it’s a strange start to 2021. I wonder how the last couple of weeks have been for you?  Shutting the door away from talk of what our leaders should or should not be doing… talking about that with everyone… or something in between?

Here, in our house near the river, we have been watching the water flood nearby fields. We have heard from neighbours that this is normal. Now the snow melt and the floods are subsiding, the ham (riverside field) is back. It is there. And it is a mud bath. I went down there at the weekend and ventured in a bit. You can walk it carefully, but it’s probably best left a few days to dry out. Going down there now will just make the mud bath worse.

You have probably heard me say before how much I love the Chinese Proverb: The Banks of the Yangtse give it depth, drive and direction. Boundaries to conversations make them more useful.  And at times like this, life – or covid – floods in. Boundaries are broken. When the flood first hit here, I asked a dog walker: ‘How can I walk differently round here until the water goes down?’ That has proved a much more life giving exploration than ‘how do I walk on the ham while it’s under water?’ Whether you are thinking about your own stuff, or facilitating others to think, staying with what they can control, and how to walk differently until the pandemic reduces a bit, is what will give depth, drive and direction.”

Ⓒ 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 922: Happy Christmas

This year will be one to remember for many reasons.  The strangest of years. We would like to thank you for being part of our story in 2020.  We learn from every conversation we have. So to say thank you, we are offering a free recorded masterclass to anyone who’d like to listen – use the code NEWYEAR at anytime before midnight (UK) on Sunday 3rd January.

We have had some great news at the ending of the year – our very own Ruth Bennett has been awarded the Professional Certified Coach credential from our professional body. Congratulations, Ruth!

And thank you for all the feedback about Claire’s book – we appreciate everyone who has taken time to message or send pictures! If you like it, we’d love you to review in on Amazon.

We are switching off now – and look forward to travelling with you in 2021

Yours

Claire, Ruth, Ness and the rest of the 3D Team

3D Ideas 921: Gapping

Claire writes: “The BBC TV show Strictly Come Dancing is a favourite in our house.  This year, the series started while we were living with my brother.  Watching from a distance with different people helped look at things differently. So I am indebted to Mel, my sister-in-law for explaining – after all these years – what the judges mean when they say gapping. 

In ballroom dances, gapping is when there is a physical gap between the dancers. It comes when they are not quite in flow.  You can see it. That happens in coaching, too. When conversations are in flow they look like a dance.  And sometimes there is a gap of being on slightly different pages.  Or our leading can create a distance between us.  Or our desire to fix or help can impact partnership.  Or indeed we can miss a leap they make and be a bit too far behind. You can see it. And sense it. 

Flow matters. It’s where transformation happens.”

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

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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