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Category: ICF 02 Establishing The Coaching Agreement

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.”

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Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

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3D Ideas 935: My Way

Claire writes: “Follow the leader was a game I remember playing in the school playground.  In those days we would rotate who the leader was in every game. Mostly. 

As adults I notice that we fall into the same pattern of following the leader. The person who is perceived to have the most power leads how the conversation goes – even when they think they are being collaborative. “Shall we do this first” is heard as “We will do this first”. “Let’s finish” is heard as “we must finish now”.

We encourage people to ask the question: “How shall we do this?” at the beginning of any conversation which can be collaborative (because sometimes the leader does need to lead).  Even though most people can’t answer, what  you have actually said is: “because we don’t need to do it my way”. Even if you don’t think you’re taking the power and leading, when your companion gives you the power, you still have it and they are following your lead.

Someone commented this week: The normal answer to “How shall we do this?” is “I don’t know…” but the flow of thought that I have seen coming after that is incredible. 

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Ⓒ 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 928: Name the Elephant

Claire writes: ‘When I did my PCC accreditation as a coach, I had to rush home from a Christmas concert and phone the US to coach the person who picked up the phone.  It was a little nerve wracking to say the least.  When I asked him what he would like to think about, he told me what it was and that it had been a problem for 20 years. Now not only had I missed half a concert, but I had a huge sense of injustice and it felt like there was an elephant in the room that was now my problem to fix.  How dare he!? Out of frustration, not skill, I asked: ‘So what do we need to do in this half an hour so you aren’t thinking about it for the next 20 years?’

It worked, he was astonished, we moved it forward – and I passed! Unless we acknowledge what they have said, I think we get into an unspoken agreement that they think I’ll sort it out.  We work too hard, and we end up carrying a problem that is not ours. So if someone says something tricky at the beginning of a conversation, explicitly use it as part of the agreement of how you’re going to work together.

Here’s another example: ‘It’s completely overwhelming me’ becomes ‘What do we need to do in this half hour so it’s not overwhelming you?’

And acknowledging what is means you don’t accidentally pick it up!”

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 923: Mud

Claire writes: “And suddenly it’s a new year. With hopes of a vaccine and lockdowns still to come, it’s a strange start to 2021. I wonder how the last couple of weeks have been for you?  Shutting the door away from talk of what our leaders should or should not be doing… talking about that with everyone… or something in between?

Here, in our house near the river, we have been watching the water flood nearby fields. We have heard from neighbours that this is normal. Now the snow melt and the floods are subsiding, the ham (riverside field) is back. It is there. And it is a mud bath. I went down there at the weekend and ventured in a bit. You can walk it carefully, but it’s probably best left a few days to dry out. Going down there now will just make the mud bath worse.

You have probably heard me say before how much I love the Chinese Proverb: The Banks of the Yangtse give it depth, drive and direction. Boundaries to conversations make them more useful.  And at times like this, life – or covid – floods in. Boundaries are broken. When the flood first hit here, I asked a dog walker: ‘How can I walk differently round here until the water goes down?’ That has proved a much more life giving exploration than ‘how do I walk on the ham while it’s under water?’ Whether you are thinking about your own stuff, or facilitating others to think, staying with what they can control, and how to walk differently until the pandemic reduces a bit, is what will give depth, drive and direction.”

Ⓒ 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 915: A Tap

Claire writes: “I’ve been thinking about the start of conversations for a few months now. And noticed that when it’s not clear to both parties in a conversation when the work is starting that it can get messy. One of us thinks we are doing some work – the other one is just chatting. It’s clear boundaries that make transformation more likely to happen. 

This reminds me of an orchestra. They gather, they greet one another and they tune up. When it’s time to start the piece, the conductor taps their music stand and everyone knows that the work is beginning. 

The arriving matters. I like to call it a pre-conversation. What do you need to do to mark the transition from the arriving to the work?

(It’s interesting to recognise that the music emerges in the space between the conductor and the orchestra…because in coaching it emerges in the space between us, too)

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

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3D Ideas 914: Art or Algorithm

Claire writes: “I love working with people from around the world. Insights come from the way we all use language slightly differently.

(Virtually) in Russia the other day, someone said: ‘I thought that coaching was an algorithm – and now I realise it’s an algorithm and it’s an art.’

In order for the thinker to get into new thinking, we need an algorithm. This is a bit of structure which will enable us to co-create the work we are going to do today.  I call this creating the coaching container – working out together what are we doing today? how shall we do it? how will we know we have done it? Unless we do that together every time we meet, we cannot work in partnership.

After that, coaching is an art – the art of noticing, listening, provoking… and doing the least we need to do in order for the thinker to do great work!”

“Learn your theories as well as you can, but put them aside when you touch the miracle of the living soul.” Jung

Ⓒ 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 903: Zooming Forwards

Claire writes: “Learning about Zoom and other platforms has been an essential part of lockdown life for many. We have been hosting training there for many years, and there’s still lots to learn!

Hiding self-view when you’re coaching means there’s one of you and one of them. Much better than two of you! Sitting back in the chair with your feet on the ground avoids zoom neck!

But perhaps the most useful learning is how to return to the work when the line gets disconnected.  If you apologise and talk about it, you’ll be going backwards. Much better is a ‘where are we now?’ question followed by ‘and what do we need to do in the time we have left?’. While they were busy reconnecting, they may well have been moving forward in their thinking.

It reminds me of the documentary Race Around The World. We can only move forwards!

Ⓒ 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!

 

Making the most of broken connections #virtualmeetings #coaching

3D Ideas 884: Rightsizing

All our ethics training will now be available free on our podcast The Coaching Inn. Find our first recording on iTunes, TuneIn and Stitcher. You can also listen through the website

Claire writes: “A couple of weeks ago I was in my favourite coffee shop. It was the final day of writing my chapter on partnership and power and I was feeling seriously disempowered. On the phone, one of my coaching buddies said ‘Maybe this is about rightsizing?’. That’s a new word to me. So I rightsized my anxiety, by screwing up a sticky note to represent it – and popped it in a convenient hole in the brick next to my table. What had felt enormous was, when rightsized, quite a manageable thing to overcome. If I may invent a new word, my overthinking had wrongsized it!

Now I am back on the road training, I notice that contracting in conversations is an opportunity to rightsize the question. Which means that you can do good thinking around a situation – as long as the question we are exploring is the right size for the time we have.

We use these questions to rightsize. The first letters form the word STOKeRS: 

  • SUBJECT – what do we need to think about today?
  • TIME – given that we have x minutes, what about that do we need to focus on?
  • OUTCOME – what would you like to be different by the end of our time?
  • KNOW – how will you know you have got what you need out of this time?
  • e
  • ROLE – how are we going to do this?
  • START – where shall we start?”

Ⓒ 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!

874: Pilots

Claire writes: “Alex and I were running some online mentor training last week.  The group was talking about taking off and landing conversations where people move forward in their thinking.  The insight was that the pilot on a plane is most noticeable during take off and landing.  

During the flight the pilot is fully there… and will be silent most of the time, and speak when it’s useful.

Whether speaking or silent, they are doing what is necessary to enable us get from A to B.”

Ⓒ 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!

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