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Category: ICF 03 Trust and Intimacy

3D Ideas 936: Crossroads

Claire writes: “Mike & I have been in our new home for a week. You can have enough of unpacking, though!

In my walk to work (round the block and back to my home office) this morning, I decided that each time there was a crossroads in the path, I would test out every option. Starting with the first on the left. The first path was too muddy for my shoes, so I returned at lunchtime. It  took me into a huge open field with the new shoots of spring planting.  That’s one to go to and explore another day for a whole walk.  The next one was a dead end – but interesting to look.  And the one after that that turned out to be a driveway. Anyway, it was fun making choices and finding out what lay beyond the obvious.

In conversations, we hit crossroads or see new pathways all the time. Often the person with the perceived power sees them coming up and decides which will be the most useful one to follow. When this happens they say that the crossroads is there only after they have already taken the decision on direction. Working in partnership means noticing the crossroads as it’s coming up and asking ‘which way shall we go?’ even if you have a preference or believe it to be a dead end.

I am sitting with an insight from Nigel Wellings: ‘Never know first. Never know better. Never think you know.’   Coaching isn’t about forming hypotheses and testing out whether we were right. It is about keeping someone else company while they explore for themselves.”

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn Subscribe on iTunes or podbean.  

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3d

3D Ideas 934: It Only Takes a Word

Claire writes: “Half a dozen people last week recommended that I read The Advice Trap by Michael Bungay Stainer. It’s just come out and they wanted to see if I agreed with what he says, and if it’s similar to Simplifying Coaching.

Well, I love its simplicity, agree with much, disagree with some and have enjoyed the way it has stimulated my thinking.  If the advice monster jumps in and you stop listening in conversations, the people you talk to will be glad you read this one!

One thing we agree on is the importance of interrupting when people are going round in circles or telling you a lot of story they already know.  In our training, we talk about future focussed interrupting. That means instead of saying: ‘Let’s go back to what we agreed at the beginning of the conversation’ which takes us backwards and feels a bit telling off like, that we can say ‘so, today?’ which keeps us moving forward and gets the focus back on what matters today. I love MBS’s question ‘and you?’ which is also future focussed and moves us to what’s in someone’s gift and away from what I call wavy people and he calls ghosts.

It’s amazing that it only takes one or two words: ‘today?’ or ‘you?’ to refocus a conversation that is lost.”

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn Subscribe on iTunes or podbean.  We had our first virtual drinks at The Coaching Inn last night which was great fun – thanks to everyone who came!

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

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 933: Building Bricks

Claire writes: “I’ve been thinking a lot about tone these last few weeks and have come to the conclusion that pace, tone and timing can either facilitate conversations to be effective, or indeed make them feel like a car bumping down the road in the wrong gear.  Timing requires a combination of having a question pop up and at the same time watching to see whether it’s still timely or if it has missed it’s moment. That requires a great deal of humility.

The learning came, as you’d expect, from listening with someone to their coaching conversation. Early on the thinker said a word that was dropped when the processing moved on.  Later it became relevant again and the coach asked: ‘What about X?’ It was a bit jumpy because it felt like the coach was leading him off at a tangent. Even though the word came from the thinker, it felt new and out of place.  That was about tone. A more invitational ‘… and x…?’ would have had a different impact. Which got me thinking about Lego and other building bricks for children. When I used to sit with my small friends building lego models, the skill was to notice the bit they had found earlier and were now missing, and just to push it towards them.  A more direct “What about this red brick?” would make them think I wanted to redesign their model.”

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn Subscribe on iTunes or podbean.

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

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 930: Is There Anyone There? (aka Zoom Hygiene)

You are invited to a bit of a do! Open University Press are hosting a launch for Simplifying Coaching on Monday 1st March 13.00 2021 (UK) for an hour.  We would love you to come. Register here.

Claire writes: “It’s funny how something leads to new learning.  The YouTube sensation that was the Handforth Parish Council meeting got me thinking about Zoom meetings.  And Zoom hygiene.  

With everyone who can working from home, some people assume their full power confidently sitting in comfort in front of their professional screen in a well-equipped home office.  Others zoom perched on the kitchen table or even the bed – in places where they may not be at their best. This morning I ran a session on receiving feedback for the staff of an organisation around the world. Some were in the office, and some in the bedroom.  So in advance of a work meeting (or parish council), some useful things to think about are

  • where can I sit so that I can walk away after the meeting if this gets tricky because if you are sat on the bed the feelings that were evoked may stay with you
  • if I have to be in a bedroom and there is more than one, can I be in someone else’s room so I can walk away?
  • sitting in the middle of the screen feels quite powerful to others. If that’s not your intention, sitting slightly to the side is less formal (“I have experimented with slightly more sideways postures, and being off centre on the screen. It has made a huge difference! I find myself slightly more relaxed and at ease with leading a meeting, coaching or training session and, over time, it will be interesting to see what effects it has on those I meet with”.)
  • use a headset (even simple audio – no need for a microphone) – otherwise your colleague thinks they are having a confidential conversation with you when they are in fact talking to your household.  It also makes for extra background noise
  • and if you’re having a conversation with a colleague ask them: ‘Is there anyone else there?’ You might think it’s you and them. It’s useful to know if the children are there. Or a partner who might be judging what they are saying.

And finally, you can hide yourself.  After all it’s odd to have a 1-1 conversation when you’re watching yourself! Two of you and one of them also impacts the dynamics as well as being a nightmare if you’re self conscious!”

We will be running a couple of sessions for coaches who want to get more confident at working online. Email us at info@3dcoaching.com and we will give you priority booking when we get the dates.

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn. Subscribe on iTunes or podbean.

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

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 927: Don’t be a Robot

Claire writes: ‘“If you call someone a thinker and ask them what they want to think about, does that mean that coaching is more about facts than feelings?” I have been asked this question a few times over the last few weeks.  

Thinker is an imperfect description of the person with whom we find ourselves in conversation. They are a wonderful human who brings all of themselves to this future focussed conversation. The STOKeRS questions that we use to rightsize the conversation together are a way of partnering to work out what we are doing today, how we are going to do it, and how we will know we have done it.

This might take a few minutes, and it might take most of the conversation. It requires a balance between being deeply human, and acknowledging that we are here to do some good work together.  So when someone says something – like ‘my job is at risk and life feels overwhelming’ we need to acknowledge that without affixing meaning to it.  That might sound like ‘that sounds a lot to hold’.  Great coaching comes from creating good boundaries around the work we are doing today and not diving into the work until we know what we are doing… and that doesn’t require us to be a robot!’

Next week I’ll be talking about how to avoid working too hard when you slip into feeling you have to help too much.

 

You can now listen to this blog through our podcast The Coaching Inn. Subscribe on iTunes or podbean.

 

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

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 921: Gapping

Claire writes: “The BBC TV show Strictly Come Dancing is a favourite in our house.  This year, the series started while we were living with my brother.  Watching from a distance with different people helped look at things differently. So I am indebted to Mel, my sister-in-law for explaining – after all these years – what the judges mean when they say gapping. 

In ballroom dances, gapping is when there is a physical gap between the dancers. It comes when they are not quite in flow.  You can see it. That happens in coaching, too. When conversations are in flow they look like a dance.  And sometimes there is a gap of being on slightly different pages.  Or our leading can create a distance between us.  Or our desire to fix or help can impact partnership.  Or indeed we can miss a leap they make and be a bit too far behind. You can see it. And sense it. 

Flow matters. It’s where transformation happens.”

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

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 919: Mathematics

We are delighted to tell you that Claire’s book Simplifying Coaching comes out this week.  If it’s for you, we’d love to hear what you think: directly, or on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn

Claire writes: “How we are formed in our first career influences our leadership and conversational style. Doctors and engineers are formed to quickly assess the problem and find solutions, PR people are formed to think about the customer. 

I was formed as a teacher of Mathematics. Even though it was short lived because I discovered coaching and took a different path, it still influences some of the ways I think about what I do now. When we use too many words in conversations that are meant to be about someone else, it makes us too big. That’s simple maths. And it makes us look like the expert. Sometimes we might be the expert and that might be why we are having this conversation. But often – and particularly in coaching – and in mentoring – the conversation is about them.  Less is definitely more.

And on the subject of Mathematics, hope you like the quotes I saw at the back of a classroom when I was running some training for head teachers in a school – both have great insights into what forms great coaches!”

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

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 913: Is this useful?

Thanks to Richard who emailed to say how a recent session hadn’t gone brilliantly until he asked them ‘is this useful?’.

Richard writes: “I have just come off a 1-hour coaching session, session 2 of 5 + a review with a guy looking to change career.

He loves detail and is very analytical, and I have noticed that he seems to need to do the detail to feel he has addressed any question that arises. Today, he was indeed doing the detail, despite my ‘tell me the headlines on….’ questions. I began to wonder if it was really moving him forward, but was torn by his need to do detail. So, I just ran with it and we did move slowly forward. Then in the last 6-7 minutes, we got into some really big questions for him and he really started to think. I agreed with him to run over time to land the session well, and also to review.

His review feedback was, ‘I was thinking quite a lot today that maybe we weren’t really moving forward and that I was going over stuff I already knew, and I would like more of the time to be like the last few minutes and less of it to be like the first 40 minutes.’

Oh! So, I said, ‘me too’ and we had a really good discussion about how coaching works, the value of me interrupting and asking ‘is this useful?’. We fleshed out the purpose and value of the question so he really gets the concept. And we have contracted for future that I will regularly ask ‘is this useful?’ or ‘is this breaking new ground?’ and he has permission to confirm it is or to say no, so I can then ask ‘so what will be useful for you to think about?’.

 Observations:

  • I could have done this, and would have been better to, anyway. Indeed, he instinctively knew it was not as effective as the previous session (& other previous coaching I have done with him) so I can be braver.
  • The review is really useful as it allowed us to uncover this and work better together in future. Having gone over contracted time, it would have been easy to skip over, so it was good to have asked to continue and do it properly.
  • By naming the issue between us, it has allowed us to learn and be more effective.
  • Training the thinker in how to be coached is also very powerful.

Just thought I’d capture it for myself and share with you.”

We need to check in if any conversation is going to be a real partnership!’

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

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 908: My favourite

Claire writes: “I don’t know about you, but the combination of covid and on-demand TV this year has provided me an opportunity to indulge my love of forensic pathology.  I have watched every episode of BBC’s Silent Witness over the last few months. Only two series to go! Our daughter has been living with us for some of this time. She hates it! When we are together in the evening, we have to find entertainment that works for us all.

We all have preferences.  In conversations, some of us love exploring. Others enjoy pinning down actions, or indeed creating numerous ideas and possibilities. A coaching style – whether you call it coaching or something else – is about having a conversation that is in service of the other person. It needs to work for them. If we stay in our preferred part of the conversation, that’s not partnership!”

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

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 898: Diving Deep

Claire writes: “It’s not unusual for the conversations we have to dive deep – but who decides whether we dive or not? A few years ago, we were in Paxos on a family holiday and the girls and I went for a scuba diving lesson. They loved it. I wasn’t ready when we did the deep (for beginners) dive. I hated it – even when the rather gorgeous instructor guided me by the hand along the sea floor.  Everyone else saw amazing things. I just wanted to go home! We had, for me, dived too early.

In coaching, we need to have agreed what we are doing together today before we dive at all – and then only with permission. Otherwise we risk taking them places where we want to go that may be at best not useful and at worst resemble my scuba lesson. While we are working out together what to do today – or rightsizing, they may choose to go deep. That’s great – but I need to hold back on depth until we are clear what we are doing today.  Otherwise I go to the deep coral because that interests me – and if I had waited I would have heard that today they’d like to look at the old shipwreck in the next bay.”

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

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!

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