3D Ideas 819: Neither From Nor Towards

Claire writes: “Holding space, or presence, is one of the greatest gifts of leadership – and an essential in coaching. TS Eliot describes it as
‘At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;

Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is’

Presence is intangible, hard to describe and obvious when it’s missing from a conversation. The only way to develop it is in an embodied way. A while ago, we invited a musical conductor to teach us how to conduct. Conducting requires presence. Something needs to happen in the space between the conductor and the orchestra to make the music happen. The conductor can’t make it happen. The music is co-created.

And so it is with improv where something happens between the audience and the performer. So on the basis that you can only develop presence experientially, we are delighted to be offering a workshop in Luton in December with Claire and Stuart Reid, who is a coach and has a lot of experience in improv. We’d love you to come!”

© 2018 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 818: Declutter

Claire writes: “August’s overwhelming task happened to be domestic. And it was good practical, and observable learning about managing big stuff.

After decluttering our house, which is always a task for August, I’d been looking forward to an unplanned and spacious week to myself, when my parents decided to downsize and move to an apartment. The week turned into a decluttering trip. Given that they downsized into this house 8 years ago, they’ve decluttered before and don’t have that much stuff… yet when I arrived there was a huge array of tasks that I could have done to be useful. The clear head from a summer off meant that instead of asking where they wanted me to start, I asked what they wanted to be different – in their dream world – by the time I drove home. So the glory hole was cleared and the garage sorted and on the way to being clear. A practical example of why Covey’s idea to ‘begin with the end in mind’ can be so powerful.

I’m trying to hold onto that learning as I re-engage with the business. And I have learned a different purpose for the coaching question ‘is this useful?’. In fact we have put a few bits in the garage with labels on that say ‘recycle in 2019 if I haven’t been used’. We think they may be useful and if they’re not they are going. Because the other ‘end in mind’ is that if we store things just in case, we are also storing up stuff that someone else may need to deal with!”

© 2018 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 817: Peer Review

Claire writes: “We are back at our desks after a slow summer and time to think. I’ve been thinking a lot about how professionals grow and develop – whatever their area of work. Professional Development can be about skill or knowledge or a combination of the two. Some questions I find useful are:

  • What (or who) am I developing for?
  • Therefore – what is the most useful thing I can do that will serve that?

In coaching, I hope that we are developing so that we can better serve the people who come to us to think and explore and be challenged and to serve the organisations, communities and societies where they work. That’s why we value professional accreditation where people are willing to work on their skills, be heard having real conversations, and receive robust and supportive feedback.

Any development we do is ultimately in service of those with whom we work and the value of working with real observable data is enormous. So much so that I am wondering about inviting those who come for supervision to also bring a recording of a live session they have had. Recording real conversations with real people has ethical implications that need to be managed carefully. And whatever our profession – doctor, manager, supervisor, leader, priest… it is a very useful way of becoming more effective. It’s scary too… but there is a limit to the effectiveness that comes from only bringing self-reported data to our professional development.

I’m not the only one who has been thinking about this over the summer – congratulations to 3D’s Sam Walker, and to Mandy and Jenny who have also trained with 3D and been awarded the Associate Certified Coach credential from the International Coach Federation during the last few weeks.

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3D Ideas 816: Attentive Diversion

Claire writes: “Attentiveness or presence is one of the most significant parts of the way we work. And to borrow from TS Eliot who says ‘Teach us to care and to not care. Teach us to sit still‘, we are learning to be attentive and to not be attentive. So we are working very lightly until September so that all of us can have a change of pace and attention. You can email info@3dcoaching.com for bookings etc because one of us will check at some point each week to respond.

3D Ideas will be back in September. The autumn holds some exciting new areas of work and some brand new training including a day on presence through theatre improv. Bookings are also open for Using Coaching Over Time, Coaching people who are dying or grieving and Are we too soft? Learning from Jesus about Challenge. These programmes are for people with a minimum of 26 hours coach specific training.

© 2018 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 815: Three Days

Claire writes: “Sam emailed round the team last week to share that in order to support people to embed their learning, she was asking them to reflect and practice more after they have left the training room. She asks people to complete a reflective log to bring back to the next day of training. Knowing how difficult some us find it to deliver on good intentions, we tried it this week with a different group. We invited them to ask two questions at the end of each day for the next three days only:

  • Where have I applied what I am learning?
  • Where didn’t I use it where I might have?

Whether it’s after training, having coaching or even reading a great book, I wonder what new insights we might gain if we did that for three days?”

© 2018 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 814: Tone?

Claire writes: “Some of the greatest questions I have heard are one or two words (which came directly from the thinker) asked with a question mark lilt. Sadly they are unusable in any other conversation. And yet they transform everything. Tone matters!

It’s also useful to remember that when someone has an insight, us changing our tone (or pace) a little can also help own that transformation. When we continue to match their tone, they might underplay the moment.”

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3D Ideas 813: Inverse Proportion

Claire writes: Brene Brown leads the way in using grounded research theory in academic learning. It’s great to see how systematic experiential insights can be given value. We learn so much by noticing patterns (and who knows – one day one of us might turn that into a piece of formalised research).

One of the things we notice is that the more words people use in questions, the shorter are the answers. And the more we say, the more likely the person we are talking to is to answer in detail – even if it’s not useful to them. It’s the law of inverse proportion. Less is more.

[Less is more is one of our underpinning philosophies of coaching]

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3D Ideas 812: Enough?

Claire writes: ‘Some of the people who are developing with us were practicing coaching this morning. Stuart began his conversation by saying: ‘I’m looking forward to being useful to you’. Great words, in the light of some of the blogs we have written recently. I’m reading Kim Scott’s book Radical Candor at the moment. She talks about the value of conversations that are supportive and challenging and describes them as ‘radical candor’. Her take on conversations which are supportive and not challenging enough is to describe them as ‘ruinous empathy’. Empathy is a wonderful gift… and it’s not enough on it’s own if the person coming to the conversation would find a bit of challenge even more useful.

It also reminds me that we can get so focussed on the training we deliver, that we forget to say that we are always available if you think a bit of coaching like that would be useful?’

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3D Ideas 811: It’s Nearly Over

Claire writes: ‘My year of fundraising taught me many lessons which will continue to emerge for some time. We raised about £4000 in the five days between the last walk and the deadline for the local paper… all because our journalist told me to let him know if we’d met our £50000 target by then. I’d been planning to lie down and recover. So I put the question to our community – ‘we have 5 days left, what do we need to do to hit the target?’

At the same time, we were exploring in our team whether marking that we had 5 minutes left in a conversation had a similar impact on getting to a great place. Sometimes the really great work only happens when we articulate clearly that we have 5 minutes left. ‘we have 5 minutes left, what do we need to do to get where we need to be?’

Of course it’s not over in one conversation, but as Amabile and Kramer say any progress is progress. And another £10,500 has poured into our team total in the same way that things continue to progress after a conversation at work is over. Especially if we ended well. More of that on another day.’

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3D Ideas 810: Oh!

Claire writes: ‘The room was full of midwives and other health professionals. They weren’t really sure why they had come to the day… and suddenly one lady piped up: ‘OH!’

I begin every single thing I say to my direct reports with a version of ‘what do you want me to do for you?’ and then when I get home at night, I wonder why I worked so hard and seemed to take on everyone else’s stuff?”, she said… “I told them to give it to me, didn’t I?”

She went away, committed to starting conversations with her direct reports with: “what would you like us to think about today?” It’s not, of course, that she will never help or give solutions. It’s just that she committed in that moment of insight to start with seeing if they could work it out for themselves first.’

© 2018 3D Coaching Ltd
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