Does insight into coachee context matter? Part 1 – benefits

Coachees come in all shapes and sizes, weighed down with all kinds of issues. As coaches our aim is to focus non-judgmentally on the particular coachee we’re dealing with at any one time, and that particular coachee’s experience. But to be effective, do we also need a measure of independent insight into the coachee’s context? To be aware of wider influences and potential stresses?

Images on smart phoneThat depends on the type of coaching. It’s possible, particularly in 1:1 life coaching, to work quite successfully with an individual coachee without much reference to wider context. Indeed, some would argue that concentrating solely on the coachee and his or her experience is the coach’s role. However, I’d say in organisational contexts such an approach is insufficient. Somewhere down the line evidence of barriers to change will emerge which might have been foreseen and possibly avoided if the coach had even a little prior knowledge of coachee context.

That’s not to say that having prior insight into coachee context might not have its drawbacks. In this post and the next, my aim is to open up some of the issues to start exploring the pros and cons.

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Remembering Sir John Whitmore (1937-2017)

This time let’s pause for a while to remember the incalculable contribution to the development of coaching made by Sir John Whitmore, who died recently…

GROWAs one of coaching’s pioneers, Whitmore must have influenced just about every coach on the planet through his seminal book Coaching for Performance, which first appeared in 1992. Encapsulating as it does the spirit of coaching at its best, this work also presents one of the finest explanations around of the ever-popular GROW Model – that practical, uncomplicated approach to coaching which will forever be associated with Whitmore.

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Book Thoughts – The Art of Shouting Quietly by Pete Mosley

It’s only when you’ve started reading Pete Mosley’s  The Art of Shouting Quietly. A Guide to Self-Promotion for Introverts and other Quiet Souls  that you begin to appreciate fully the point of the book’s subtitle. ‘Self-promotion’ is typically what people with loud voices and larger-than-life personalities are thought to ‘do’. Pete takes us into a different world – the world of the ‘Quiet Soul’.

Book cover of The Art of Shouting QuietlyThe Quiet Soul may avoid self-promotion like the plague, and may also appear to be unobtrusive, even unremarkable. Yet such a soul can have much more to offer than meets the eye, with a depth and subtlety which is drowned out in a world that values noise above substance. Recognising this, Pete has quietly challenged many (often in the arts and crafts) to find the inner confidence to believe in the value they can bring to society by pursuing their dreams, and by turning those dreams into successful businesses.

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Coaching tools and the 5 basic coaching skills – what do you REALLY need?

What skills does a coach REALLY need? Which tools are essential?

These are big questions. And many coaches secretly have them at the back of their minds, especially when they’re newly qualified.  Have you ever heard that little voice inside saying something like this: “Okay, you’re qualified… But are you good enough? What do you REALLY have to do? What do you REALLY have to know?”

stylised head and question marksIt takes time for a coach to gain confidence, and it takes practice. However, if there’s one myth I’d like to dispel which might help everyone relax, it’s this – the myth that to be a successful coach you need to be well-practised in a whole host of tools, without which you can’t call yourself a ‘proper coach’ at all.

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Davina Whitnall and her great big ‘Confidence Roadshow’

Confidence is one of those slippery concepts, isn’t it? Everyone’s looking for it, but no-one can put their finger on what it is…

Coloured spirals on head outlineThe number of times coachees present with an issue they relate to ‘confidence’ is phenomenal, especially given that it can be well-nigh impossible to pin down exactly what ‘confidence’ really means to them. It’s like a wet bar of soap – smelling lovely when it’s firmly held in our hands, but unsettlingly prone to slithering right out of our grasp…

The other day I had the good fortune to participate in Davina Whitnall’s ’60 Minute Confidence Roadshow’ along with what seemed like dozens of university-based Professional Support Staff (PSS). What an exhilarating experience! Having specialised in researcher development in Higher Education, Davina now runs her own consultancy and is a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. She’s more than well placed to offer insights into tools that can help anyone (not just researchers) define aims regarding the kinds of confidence they need to acquire, and put practical plans in place which can take them towards generating the confidence they seek.

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