In a previous post I discussed the five basic skills any coach needs to master if he or she wants to be effective. I said then I’d be discussing each of these in further posts, so here I’ll be looking into the first skill on that list by checking out the rationale for and characteristics of effective contracting.
Effective contracting is crucial to the success of coaching relationships. Why? Well, the origins of any problems that occur as the relationships develop can usually be traced back to the contracting stage.
The term ‘contracting’ can refer to two things:
- the ongoing process whereby the coach helps the coachee define, refine and redefine clear outcomes for the coaching sessions;
- the negotiations and resulting document setting out the parameters of the relationship between coach, coachee and any other stakeholders with an interest in the coaching intervention.
I’ll be taking a look at both of these under the following headings:
- Contracting in the coaching process
- Contracting the coaching relationship
I’ve said a lot elsewhere on this blog about coaching. But the first question really ought to be: “Why use it?”
As coaches, we need to have thought this through. Our own enthusiasm for our profession isn’t really enough. If we haven’t thought it through, and we haven’t identified key benefits to individual and organisational performance associated with coaching interventions, we’re very unlikely to be able to convince anyone else to invest time, effort and money into what even now might easily be dismissed as ‘just another fad’.
So let’s take a look. As a coach active within a large organisation, this time I’ll be discussing 6 reasons why putting time, effort and money into coaching and establishing a coaching culture would be more than a good idea.
Richard E. Nisbett’s The Geography of Thought. How Asians and Westerners Think Differently… and Why isn’t a book about coaching. So why discuss it on a coaching-orientated blog?
The clue is in the subtitle – How Asians and Westerners Think Differently… and Why. As a coach, I’m profoundly interested in how people think. I spend my time in coaching sessions listening, absorbing non-verbal communication, reflecting back my understandings, identifying limiting self-beliefs, challenging… To be effective, all this needs to be based on understanding the coachee’s ‘world’ from the coachee’s point of view. If there’s firm evidence that people from different cultures and areas of the world really do think and see things differently, then I want to know about it…
I recently took part in a webinar called High Velocity Listening: Coaching Agility for the C-Suite.* Why? Well, anything that might deepen my insight into the art of listening grabs me, so you won’t be surprised I waited all agog to hear what Andreas Bernhardt and Jeff Hull had to say for themselves. I came away with lots to think about. And I’d like to share some of those thoughts with you…
A blog post can’t do full justice to everything that was covered, but here’s an introduction to Andreas and Jeff’s concept of ‘The 3 P’s of Coaching Agility’, which are:
- listening presence
- listening perspectives
- listening personas
Even coaches need to take it easy sometimes….
Why do I say this? Because here in the UK we’ve had the most wonderfully warm and sunny weekend, full of blue skies with the occasional fluffy white cloud, the heat-drenched scent of roses, and not a little ice-cream (at least as far as I’m concerned)! Those of you who haven’t had the dubious pleasure of a wet British summer will probably not understand the full significance of being able to enjoy what for us is a perfect June weekend – but I hope you’ll be able to join me in feeling relaxed and happy to be alive…