Claire writes: “It’s a fantasy, I think, that we can start having a one hour (or even 5 minute) conversation about you and that I will know whether it’s serving you or not. I have to ask you. Checking in is the only way to manage the time and the focus of a conversation in partnership. When I don’t do this, we can get lost, and I can easily start to lead.
Checking in is at the heart of great conversations and starts with creating a great boundary about
- What we are doing today?
- How we are doing it?
- How we will know we have done it by the end of the conversation?
I’ve talked before that STOKeRS questions are one way of doing this. They work because they get the thinker thinking before we dive into the heart of the work we need to do. Whether what we are doing is coaching, review, mentoring or line management.
A group I am mentoring asked today: When do I check in?
- Often! In an hour, I probably check in 10 or more times.
- Every time I see the thinker has moved in their thinking (words or body). This is because there may have been some internal movement or insight as well, so we need to keep in sync – me, the thinker and their internal dialogue. Check in: Where are we now?
- When there’s an energy dip
- When we’re half way through
- When there’s been a change of direction away from what we agreed we were doing
- When we’re beginning to land (and then every 5 minutes or so). “We have 20 (or 5) minutes left, what’s the most important thing we need to do between now and the end?”
- When I don’t know what to do
- Before I panic that I don’t know what to do
And how? You’ll find your own way – just keep it future focussed. Some that I use are
- Is this useful?
- Are we on track?
- And the insight?
- What do you know now that you didn’t know when we started?
- What do we need to do now?
- Where are we?
Checking in makes the conversation more effective for the thinker – and easier for you! Just make sure you avoid any intonation that suggests Is this working? or Am I any good? Try it!”
We will be covering this and more in our exclusive Advanced Masterclass for coaches in July 2021
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