Category: ICF 02 Establishing The Coaching Agreement

3D Ideas 788: What about what

Claire writes: “‘Simplicity is not a simple thing’ said Charlie Chaplin. At 3D, it is a journey for us to continue to simplify what we are learning and what we share. What we are learning is this: If I bring too much to a conversation – in terms of words, process or content – then I will end up doing most of the work. When we are truly empowering our colleague to think, they will be doing most of the work. Coaching is simply keeping them company while they think (and provoking where necessary). That’s why we don’t like using words like client or coachee – we are speaking with a person – who, we hope, has come to think.

We know that transformation in a conversation is more likely to happen when you have a container and boundaries to what you are doing together. Whatever you use to co-create a container, whether it is Dorothy Strachan’s What – So what – Now what – or Hawkins and Smith’s CLEAR – Contract – Listen Explore – Action – Review, we need to remember that if this conversation is about our colleague thinking, then the What/Contract stage is for them not for me. When we spend too long in the What/Contract, it is probably because I am asking questions so that I understand. If I am trying to understand, I am probably intending to find the problem and solve it for you. A coaching style is about whether you understand (enough) what we are doing today – how we are going to do it and how we will know we have done it.

If you use 3D’s coaching container to form conversations, remember that the What/Contract is for the thinker. And it’s useful in much more than coaching!”

© 2017 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 780: Coddiwomple

Claire writes: “Coddiwomple, Sam tells me, means to travel purposefully towards a vague destination. I love that – because like others I am often unclear where I want to head when I am being coached. And, indeed, our business plan is more about direction than destination. Not everyone likes goals or targets, so it’s useful to remember that when we are working out in a conversation (or contracting)

  • what are we doing
  • how are we going to do it
  • how will we know we have done it

that a sense that we’ll feel it can be enough. It’s still important to be clear what we are doing – even if that’s to agree that we don’t know and that it will emerge! For some of us, ‘to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive’ (Robert Louis Stevenson)

© 2017 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 779: Time

Claire writes: I think it’s a Swahili proverb that says ‘time the time before the time times you’. As a teacher in a rural Kenyan secondary school, it was a mantra of some of my students. When we are training, we often hear people say that mentioning the time is rude. Might it suggest I don’t value you? Might it collude with an ‘in a hurry’ mentality?

For all our hang ups, being unconditionally positive about time can give an edge to a conversation that makes it even more effective. As long as we don’t apologise and we start mentioning time early.

Instead of saying

  • ‘I only have 5 minutes’ try being positive from the very beginning ‘We have 5 minutes, how shall we use it?’
  • ‘We are out of time’ try (a minute or so before ‘Have we finished?’
  • ‘We only have a couple of minutes left’ try ‘In the couple of minutes we have left is there anything else we need to do?’

And I learned this summer that using this approach at end of life was equally useful: ‘Given that [someone] is going to die, what do you both need to do between now and when it happens to make sure you both end well?’

If you’re going to do this well, you need a watch or a clock. A smartphone means you can’t optimise the time. Unless you’re one of those people who knows exactly how long time is!

© 2017 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 775: Weird Words

Claire writes: “The number one reason that people don’t apply what they are learning about coaching into every conversations at work is that they think it sounds weird to say: ‘Can I coach you?’. It probably does – and it sounds like you’re about to do something to someone. Given that coaching isn’t magic, and fundamentally is a conversation with someone that’s only about them, it can be used at work easily. It’s even great as triage – let’s talk about what kind of support you might need…

Some things people find work:

  • Shall we talk about that in a different way?
  • Would you like me to help you think about that?

Or if you’re worried about getting the contract right, give them a STOKeRS card and say – these questions might help us start our conversation well – why don’t you have a look and talk through them.”

© 2017 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 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
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 768: No Idea

Claire writes: ‘Surely you can’t do a contract (STOKeRS) with someone doesn’t know what they want to think about? That’s a question we are asked a lot – about a coaching style and in Action Learning. A contract at the start of a conversation is simply agreeing together

  • What are we doing today
  • How are we going to do it
  • How will we know we have done it

… before we start.

If we don’t agree together, there is a risk that I will decide by leading the questions.  And if the person who is thinking doesn’t know, we know that we don’t know what we are doing yet!  Outlining what’s going on might be a good start – as well as questions like ‘is this useful?’
In fact when the people say ‘I don’t know’ when we ask ‘Where shall we start?’ we can say what we are thinking: ‘As you speak some of the questions that come up in my mind are… so where shall we start?’.  In an Action Learning Set, that’s a great opportunity to invite the set members to write on a sticky note what their opening question might be – and to give it to the presenter so they can decide.’
© 2017 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 767: Omni-Not

Claire writes: “A delegate last week was delighted to discover that they were not going to need to abandon everything they have ever done and only use coaching. Coaching is not the right way to have every conversation.  Whilst working online with a couple of people who were feeling the aftershocks of an earthquake, coaching was not the right medium.  They needed to leave the building!
However, there are some useful things from the principles of coaching that can be applied more widely.  The most important one is this: Ask them! By that we mean, instead of taking the lead and deciding the best way to have a conversation – when there are choices to be made it can be even more powerful to Show the Working out and say ‘We could do this or this or that… which might be the most useful for you?’
© 2017 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 753: We do what we normally do

Claire writes: ‘We know that people are using STOKeRS to ensure that appraisal or review conversations are useful.  Too often those conversations become the live version of the paperwork when they could be so much more if only we asked before we start:
  • What do you know now you have done the paperwork that you didn’t know before?
  • What do we need to do in this review conversation to make sure that it will be useful to you in your role over the next year/ 2 years?
What we are realising now is that all of us do what we normally do when we are asked to do something we normally do.  Many of us are skilled and experienced in reading individual’s paperwork. Application forms.  Review paperwork is different. Reading review/appraisal paperwork like an application form may not be the most useful way to engage.  Transferring what we know about listening – listening to the themes/ headlines/ strands and to the underbelly (feelings) can be valuable in review and appraisal.  If review is to be truly developmental for the individual we need to remember TS Eliot’s words “You are not here to verify, instruct yourself, or inform curiosity or carry report.” Report maybe, if that’s what the organisation needs but the only way to be truly developmental is to ask them how we need to make that happen!”
© 2017 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 752: Getting Clearer

Claire writes: “Sometimes we need to be creative at the beginning of a conversation to make sure we are clear on what we are here to do today.  Even for the most experienced coach or facilitator, some conversations simply feel cluttered or foggy.

Useful questions to clarify include:

  • “What’s your most important question for today?”
  • “So we’re here to…?’
  • “How can I…?” (I being the person who is thinking)”
© 2016 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 750: More tandem facts

Claire writes: ‘Since we came up with STOKeRS as an acronym for a great way to start a conversation, it was only a matter of days before we also learned that this is the name for the person on the back of a tandem.  And there is plenty of learning for us to apply to a coaching style from conversations from tandem riders.
Philip says:
“The Stoker  The rear rider is commonly known as the “stoker… The rear rider is not a “passenger”, but is an equal participant. The stoker has two main responsibilities: 
  • The stoker serves mainly as a motor. Since the stoker is not called upon to control the bike, this rider should be able to actually generate more power than the same rider would on a single bike. Depending on the strength and endurance of the stoker, this may take the form of a steady output or may be held in reserve. If the stoker is acting as a “reserve,” it is OK to take it easy for general cruising, so long as the stoker can help out with a burst of power for the climbs. Since starting up on a tandem is a bit trickier than on a single, the stoker should apply as much smooth power as possible when starting up, to get the bike up to manoeuvring speed quickly. 
  • The stoker’s other major responsibility is a negative one: The stoker must not attempt to steer! Unpredictable weight shifts on the part of the stoker can make the captain’s job much harder, and can lead to crashes, in extreme cases. The stoker should keep in line with the centreline of the bicycle, and lean with it as it leans through corners. A stoker must shift position on the saddle, or adjust a toe strap, or take a drink without disturbing the equilibrium of the bicycle. These activities should not be attempted at all while the captain is dealing with tricky traffic situations or narrow spaces. The stoker can also do a bit of back rubbing now and then, as well as taking photographs, singing encouraging songs, reading maps, etc. “
Useful?”
© 2016 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