874: Pilots

Claire writes: “Alex and I were running some online mentor training last week.  The group was talking about taking off and landing conversations where people move forward in their thinking.  The insight was that the pilot on a plane is most noticeable during take off and landing.  

During the flight the pilot is fully there… and will be silent most of the time, and speak when it’s useful.

Whether speaking or silent, they are doing what is necessary to enable us get from A to B.”

Ⓒ 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 873: Adulting

Claire writes: “As I write, it is the end of Friday and it’s been a busy week at work, and a tough one personally with stuff going on.  We have a phrase in our family, introduced by the girls now that they work: Adulting is overrated!

At an event a couple of weeks ago, I found myself noticing with someone that the way they spoke to a colleague sounded a bit parent like.  The workplace needs adults and yet even when you like to treat colleagues with respect and belief that they can do things, that may not have been their experience in other roles or with other leaders.  Last week, in a training event, someone managed to stop saying ‘I think you should’ (which can be received as code for ‘because I think you haven’t thought about it’) and change it to ‘I’m thinking about x – is that useful’ at which point her colleague smiled and looked away, clearly thinking.

Adulting matters – it’s what it takes to empower people to be their best.”

This blog was inspired by an article in People Management: It’s time to stop parenting your team

Ⓒ 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 872: Blindspots

Claire writes: “We all have blindspots.  Last week, Ruth texted me this picture. Instantly I recognised a blindspot and connected the insights I have about our work being like the stoker on the back of a bike with the learning we share about moving forward.  I had never made the connection that bicycles can’t easily go backwards! That connection has changed my teaching from this week onwards.

There many ways Ruth could have communicated what she had seen:

  • “I think you (or we) we are missing the connection between the bike and moving forward”
  • “You/we ought to think about the fact that the bike doesn’t go backwards”

or any other form of words that made the meaning for me.  

Leaving me to make my own meaning was the most powerful thing she could do.”

Ⓒ 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 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.”

Ⓒ 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 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!”

Ⓒ 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 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?”

Ⓒ 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 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!

Ⓒ 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 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.”

Ⓒ 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 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!”

 Ⓒ 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 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.”

Ⓒ 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!