3D Ideas 859: Which Way is Forward?

Claire writes: “It’s the little things that teach the most useful lessons.  We will do a video on this one – meanwhile, let me try and describe it in words.

If coaching is a process in which people move forward in their thinking, generally we need, in our minds, to be looking ahead together.  The risk in asking background questions is that they mentally turn around and start moving backwards.  

The past might be important – but think about encouraging them to glance over their shoulder rather than march back into the past.

And when they download past and present in bulk as you begin the conversation, try a future focussed question to interrupt.  “So today?” In two words, we have refocused forwards.

Often when conversations fail to move forward, it’s because we have spent most of the conversation looking the other way.

If you are a fan of the GROW coaching model, this is why it isn’t always useful to ask ‘what’s the reality?’ – except when it is.  You’ll only know that by asking – is this useful?”

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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 858: Whose Problem?

Clare T writes: “My son is in the process of thinking through if University is his best next step. Being armed with all the information and doing a thorough pros and cons analysis of each option is of course a priority. However, this is only part of the picture. Before he hits the “submit” button, choices need to be made.

This is the first major decision Dan has had to make and he is unsure he has skills and ability to make what feels like a massive, life shaping choice. Supporting him in this process has really brought to mind one of the 3D principles – keep the responsibility in the middle

Dan is keen to have our advice and guidance, which of course is part of our role as parents. He isn’t always very proactive and I could easily take responsibility for all the research and moving forward with the process. 

We can all recall times when it was frankly quicker and easier to “tell” someone what to do next rather than providing space and support as they think through a decision for themselves. At this stage, whilst the thinking takes place, it feels pretty supportive to him to know that the responsibility can be held in the middle, it is not mine to hold and nor does Dan have to hold it alone. When he is ready to make the decision and the thinking is done, the decision will be his and he will feel much more skilled and empowered to take it but until he is ready and at that point, the responsibility can stay in its rightful place of being in the middle. “ 

Do you have conversations with young people and find at times it’s easier frankly to “tell” rather than support them to move forward in their own thinking? Do you want more effective conversations? Join Claire and Ruth at a free webinar where we will look at how this can be possible. Tuesday 15th October 19.00 – 19.45 (UK)”

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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 857: Hope

Claire writes: “Often on Transforming Conversations people say ‘I haven’t got any more problems to bring’.  It’s interesting how quickly we assume that 1-1 conversations are to solve problems.  They are equally useful to grow, develop and build on positive learning!

There are a number of ways that contracting sets an optimistic future focused tone in the conversation

  • What would you like to think about today? (Think rather than talk)
  • What would you like to be different by the end of our conversation? (Because it is our intention together to move this forward)

The hope is in the questions.  And that’s what sets the tone.”

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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 856: Too many words

Claire writes: “Last week’s post was about how holding onto the ball in a conversation can interrupt someone’s thinking.  Using too many words has the same effect. I notice that the more words I use, the more I look like an expert – and the less work you do.

Less is more.  We often challenge delegates on courses to make every question 5 words or less! Try it!”

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3D Ideas 855: Catching the Ball

Claire writes: “We have just been camping when there are always ball games to play with our small people.  There is nothing more irritating when you’re playing a game of catch than when the other person doesn’t throw the ball back!  Everyone who is playing is an equal partner in a game of catch.

Although a coaching style is partnership, our role is keeping someone company while they think.  That means we want their processing to be flowing, and we need to ask, or observe only enough to keep them in flow.  Which means that when I keep hold of the process, I am interrupting your flow. Phrases like ‘OK’, ‘Thank you’ may be polite – and they are also saying ‘Stop thinking – it’s my turn now’.  It is more effective to lightly throw the question back with future focussed questions – like so?, and now?

The only exception to this is that there are a few occasions where I need to stop and think and make connections between what I am noticing in service of your thinking.  And they are few and far between!”

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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 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

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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!