Category: ICF 05 Active Listening

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!”

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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 801: Why we don’t like the listening word

Claire writes: “We have just acquired an automatic car and early on, there were a fair number of times when I tried to change gear with the brake… until I learned to perch my left leg right out of the way (thanks to a top tip from someone in the back!). It takes time to change behaviour.

Most of us haven’t ever been taught to listen – it was something we did even before birth – and we do it how we do it. Physicians listen to diagnose, plumbers listen to fix… and those of us who have been trained to listen do what we normally do. If coaching is a conversation where someone feels heard and knows something at the end of the conversation about their own stuff that they did not know at the beginning, I am listening so that you understand more about your own stuff – not so that I understand.

We are supporting people to develop new behaviours. Listening in detail to the story and reflecting that back is what many of us have learned to do. It also rarely gives new insight to the other person. That’s why, in training, we invite people to notice, and don’t use the listening word. When they offer back two or three headlines (not a summary – themes) to the person who told their story, that person is astonished how much more they felt heard. More often than not it gives them new insights into their own stuff. We always offer headlines with a question mark. After all we are noticing, not diagnosing. Try it!

Interestingly when I am mentoring coaches, we listen together to recordings of them working with their people. Every time I ask ‘what did you notice this time’, they have heard in a deeper way something which is of much greater value to the person with whom they are working.

© 2018 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 800: 18 Seconds

Claire writes: “Research into the conversations doctors have with patients says that on average they listen to a patient for 18 seconds before the expert in them interrupts. Tom Peters, in an insightful 3 minute video, suggests that habit goes much wider than the medical world.

When you’re used to having conversations where you input or gather data or make quick decisions, it’s quite a shift to listen well. “The single most significant strategic strength that an organisation can have is not a good strategic plan but a commitment to strategic listening on the part of every member of the organisation” says Peters.
That’s why so much of our time is spent developing listening skills in people at work. Next week, we’ll tell you why we’ve stopped using the word listening!

© 2018 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 794: Stop Looking in the Wrong Place

Claire is speaking at the UK ICF Conference on May 8th: Letting your partner lead the dance – are you coming?

Claire writes: “I had a bit of a revelation last week simply by tweaking the start of Day 2 of Transforming Conversations. I simply noticed that conversations are more likely to be transformational – where someone knows something about their own stuff that changes the way they look at things – if the coach (or facilitator) is looking at their face (and their feet!).

When people are thinking, it seems that our natural reaction is to look away and respect their emerging insights. That’s the very moment to look at their eyes. That’s when we can notice if they are thinking. When they come back, the most useful question to ask is ‘Where are we now?’. They will certainly have moved! People observing this say it looks much too direct. they only person who won’t say that is the thinker – they weren’t looking, after all!

Feet can sometimes give some useful insights, too.”

© 2018 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 786: Another Look at Less is More

Claire writes: “The fewer words we use in conversations, the easier it is to listen more and notice (and say) what we hear and see. When we use more words, we listen less and because it’s harder to notice what’s happening, it’s easier to slip into diagnosing someone else’s problem. And then prescribing a solution. Which may not be why they came to see us.”

© 2017 3D Coaching Ltd
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Why listening matters for doctors (and others)

3D Ideas 783: Capacity and Capability

Claire writes: “In conversation preparing for today’s Group Coaching training, I wrote down

If we pin down the content too much, we undervalue the capacity of the group to be generative

It can also undervalue the experience, knowledge and skill they bring. When we are training, we rarely teach people things they don’t know. What we do is name things they don’t know that they know so that in future they can draw on that more intentionally.

The same is true for managers and staff.  When we don’t listen, we undervalue people’s capacity and capability.  Listen to Tom Peters exploring whether we are an 18 second leader, manager (or doctor, or vicar, or…)”

© 2017 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 772: Pinning Down

Claire writes: ‘”Don’t interrupt”. Spoken or implied, that’s a message most of us had wired into us as children. So when we are in a conversation where we are thinking “what is it we are can usefully do here”, we don’t interrupt.

A coaching style demonstrates that we can learn to stop interrupting people’s thinking and start interrupting when they are repeating stuff they know already if it’s not useful to them.

Try interrupting talking with short contracting questions

  • So today…?
  • And your question for us today is: How can I…? (NB the I is them not you!)

And try not interrupting thinking by listening with your eyes – by watching theirs.”

© 2017 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 759: Exploring – for who?

Claire writes: “Curiosity and exploration are key features of a coaching style.  But if I am curious and exploring your stuff for me, it can turn into an investigation and simply end up with me acquiring information

A much more effective way of being curious and exploring is for us to explore together – so that you learn new things about your situation and possibilities. That way you grow and develop. That’s coaching!


© 2016 3D Coaching Ltd
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