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Category: ICF 06 Powerful Questioning

3D Ideas 902: Fishing

Ruth writes: “The other day, as I was listening to a conversation, I started thinking about fishing. It sounded like the ‘professional’ in the situation was fishing for an answer, constantly casting their bait into the water, again and again trying to find a question that would catch the ‘fish’. 

I don’t fish. And I imagine that casting the line in quick succession won’t get the desired result. The water would be constantly stirred up, not allowing the fish to come towards the hook. 

I was left wondering how often we do that in conversations. When we ask repeated questions in quick succession – How will you know? Do you think that…? What might you need to do? and other brilliant questions I have in my stash to ask – we are constantly stirring the water, scaring away the fish. Scaring away the thought process. 

I wonder if we are like fish, needing the bait and hook to be cast and for the water to settle so that we can think more clearly. As I coach I want to learn to be like a patient fisherman.”

Ⓒ 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 901: The Problem with Problems

Claire writes: “The problem with using the language of problems or issues in conversations is that there is a hidden assumption that someone has to find a solution.  And that someone is often the person who is perceived to have more power.

What’s your question for today?’ or even ‘what’s our question for today?’ has many benefits. It enables us to get to the heart of the matter more quickly.

I want to talk about having a holiday’ turns into ‘How can I have a week off that gives me enough rest?’

It also takes the pressure off the end. ‘Have we moved this forward?’ is less anxiety inducing than ‘Have we (in any way) solved your problem?’.  And as Amabile and Kramer say in The Progress Principleany progress is progress.”

Ⓒ 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 our blog by email every week, you can do that here!

 

Moving from the language of problems to questions brings all kinds of benefits to conversations #coaching

 

3D Ideas 890: Ask Them

Claire writes: “Although we are all separated physically, the art of conversation is critical during this season of not knowing. The simplest learning from coaching is more than useful. I have just come off a call where the learning from the practice was that “he (the thinker) needs to use his brain more than me (the coach)”. Conversations work best when they happen in the space between and are not dominated by one or another.

The space and pace of life means that I have taken the same long walk alone every lunchtime for over the last 7 weeks. I walk to this tree, sit for a while, ponder, take a picture and walk home. That started before my Mum was admitted to hospital just after Covid began. We may not have seen Mum in her last three weeks, but we spoke daily on the phone.  Sadly when she died a few weeks ago, I have experienced all kinds of responses from others.  Many of these have been to tell me how traumatic it has been for me. Without asking how I feel. It’s hard to say ‘not traumatised’ after that and it seems that feeling OK isn’t an acceptable answer. Grief in a time of Covid, for me, has occupied a spacious time with a slower pace and lots of outdoor thinking space. All this has been significantly helped by my parents making clear their wishes for direct cremation many months ago. If it’s useful to you, my Dad wrote this article to help him work out what he was thinking about funerals. It has made planning something different a much easier process than it might have been.

 

My Mum used to say ‘visitors first’. 3D’s first principle of coaching is ‘ask them’. Let’s ask people how they are feeling today rather than telling them how they feel.  We won’t know unless we ask. We may be in the same boat but we are all responding to this season in different ways.”

 

Ⓒ 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 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@www.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 855: Catching the Ball

Claire writes: “We have just been camping when there are always ball games to play with our small people.  There is nothing more irritating when you’re playing a game of catch than when the other person doesn’t throw the ball back!  Everyone who is playing is an equal partner in a game of catch.

Although a coaching style is partnership, our role is keeping someone company while they think.  That means we want their processing to be flowing, and we need to ask, or observe only enough to keep them in flow.  Which means that when I keep hold of the process, I am interrupting your flow. Phrases like ‘OK’, ‘Thank you’ may be polite – and they are also saying ‘Stop thinking – it’s my turn now’.  It is more effective to lightly throw the question back with future focussed questions – like so?, and now?

The only exception to this is that there are a few occasions where I need to stop and think and make connections between what I am noticing in service of your thinking.  And they are few and far 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 843: The Story I’m Making Up

Arcaion / Pixabay

Claire writes: “What a lot of data flies around organisations

  • anecdotal data – what I tell you about someone else which we pretend originally comes from observable data and may not
  • self reported data – what I tell you about myself
  • imagined data – or as Brene Brown says ‘the story I’m making up about this is’
  • real observable data – what was actually seen

Whether we are simply having a conversation, or are interviewing or coaching, we notice how useful it is to be honest about what kind of data we are discussing. ‘What did you see?‘ is a much better question than ‘what do they think?‘ which leads us to assumptions and stories and more…”

© 2019 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com Register here to receive our blog posts every Monday by email

 

3D Ideas 841: Everything is Disposable

RitaE / Pixabay

Claire writes: “This week in Transforming Conversations we will be exploring the value of changing the medium to have better conversations. Instead of talking through a situation, people will draw it and their colleague will simply notice what they see. I always tell delegates that 80% of what they will notice is useless and 20% is useful. And the the things we notice – without judgement – often transform… when we offer lightly.

Exactly the same learning came when we were learning about presence with Stuart Reid. We spent a whole day doing theatre improvisation. There was so much deep learning (and laughter) that he will be running it again (11th October 2019 in Central London only 12 spaces). In coaching we offer questions. In improv we simply make an offer. And one of the principles of improv is that everything is disposable. 80% goes nowhere. The skill, of course, is to notice quickly and work out what to do next!”

© 2019 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com Register here to receive our blog posts every Monday by email

 

3D Ideas 840: Tennis Ball Machine

Claire writes: “Tennis ball machines, I have seen in films, can serve lots of balls as you practice your return.  

Questions asked at the same pace as a tennis ball machine are quite overwhelming. We often see one question after another launched at the person thinking. The first thing it does is stop them thinking at all.

Great questions have a long life and may need to do their great work before the next question comes along. Slow down.  Say less. And wait until they ask for the next question, with their eyes or their body.”

© 2019 3D Coaching Ltd

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com Register here to receive our blog posts every Monday by email

 

3D Ideas 832: Step Back

Claire writes: “We had our first practicum of 2019 this morning – where we all coach, listen and observe. It’s great learning. Someone was thinking about a situation at work and the coach asked: ‘I wonder how much challenge is comfortable for them?’

Asking ‘how much challenge is comfortable’ sounds like we are asking our colleague to report to us. Changing the question to ‘I wonder…’ is an invitation to step back, together, and see something differently. It worked! In the feedback, the thinker said that this one question would have been enough because that’s where the insight came…without even answering it!

Stepping back and asking people is powerful. It demonstrates the value of partnership in conversations.

© 2019 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com Register here to receive these blog posts every Monday by email

 

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