Category: ICF Coaching Competencies

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!

3D Ideas 862: Closed Questions

Claire writes: “Open questions encourage people to talk.  Closed questions can be answered by yes or no. The books say that in coaching we should be asking open questions.  I totally agree with that… except when closed questions are better!

If the person I am talking with has leapt ahead after an insight, a closed question is better: Do you know what you’re going to do next?  Otherwise they will answer the open question and tell you what they already know! That may take them backwards. Do you need to say it out loud is a good supplementary when they say ‘yes’!  It’s only useful to explore what next if they don’t know.”

Ⓒ 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 861: R and R

Claire writes: “One video that stands out for me is from a holiday in the USA about 18 years ago.  Two excited girls shouting ‘summer’s over’. It sounded very like ‘summer’s awesome’!

I’m back at work, and although I didn’t read as much as I had planned, I thought deeply about an image I saw on social media (Instagram ninetypesco).  It reads Nine Types of Rest:

  • time away
  • permission to not be helpful
  • something ‘“unproductive”
  • connection to art and nature
  • solitude to recharge
  • a break from responsibility
  • stillness to decompress
  • safe space
  • alone time at home

I don’t know about you, but that gave me some useful insights to put into practice during an extended rest… and more importantly to bring back to the rhythm of a new season.”

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 860: Permission

Claire writes: “I wrote about partnership a few blog posts ago.  This question is on my mind a lot: what is great partnership in a conversation?

Permission is needed for partnership or else I am doing the leading.  Is it useful to…? is a great question.

More significantly, permission is useful when we offer observations.  Otherwise it is mixed up and unclear about what’s from me and what’s yours.  ‘Can I make an observation… [this is what I notice – you are nodding your head and saying no at the same time] is more powerful than turning it into a question where we might lose the meaning [how motivated are 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 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?”

Ⓒ 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 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)”

Ⓒ 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 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.”

Ⓒ 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 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!”

Ⓒ 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!