“You already are what you want to become.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
In a previous post I outlined the 5 basic coaching skills we really need in order to become effective as coaches. We’ve already taken a look at contracting, use of some kind of structuring mechanism (with the GROW Model as an example), and listening. This time I’m going to discuss questioning, which (coupled with listening) is the way coaching is given direction, and conversations can be taken forward into ‘light-bulb moment’ territory.
First, we’ll be looking at framing questions during the ongoing interaction with a coachee, before turning to the most important questions we coaches need to ask ourselves.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
How often in conversation with another coach do you find the subject moving to coachees who don’t do what they know they ought to do? It’s happened to me quite often. In a previous post I considered the proposition “What if… coachees were coaches?” and in some ways what I’m going to say today continues on that theme. We all know we’re supposed to believe that coachees have within themselves the answers to their problems, but somehow our keeping hold of that insight gets swamped by ‘interference’…
What do I mean?
Coaching is in many ways more about how a coach deals with his or her own baggage than it is about the coachee. One function of a coach is to hold up that mirror to coachees which helps them perceive themselves in perspective. But what if the coach isn’t really holding up a mirror at all? What if the coach has unwittingly substituted his or her own image?
“There is nothing stronger in this world than gentleness.”
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most widely used personality instruments in the world. It’s taken by over 2 million people each year, and is a staple tool in coaching. Personality assessment is very important because much coaching work circles round discussing and dealing with how the coachee perceives and reacts to ‘the external world’. And that depends largely on the makeup of the individual’s personality.
Most of us take it as read that the MBTI is a bona fide instrument that tells us something about personality which is worth learning. Yet, among psychologists in particular, it’s regarded with outright scepticism. There’s been a controversy raging for years, and here I’m going to take a look at the arguments in order to shed light on whether the MBTI is fit for purpose as far as its use in coaching is concerned.
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
Are you good at listening? Now, be honest…
Let me be up front. If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know I believe listening is one of the 5 basic coaching skills coaches need to master if they want to offer the high level of service their coachees deserve. In fact, I believe it’s the MOST important skill. Why? Because everything that happens in coaching depends on it.
The importance of listening
Think about it. Without listening, it’s well-nigh impossible to explore goals and current reality with coachees, because without attentive listening a coach is unable to base an intervention on actual coachee needs as opposed to the coach’s own predetermined ‘programme’. Relevant questions can’t arise in the moment if there hasn’t been an adequately deep, attentive process of listening from which those questions flow. And no-one can contract in coaching without listening, because listening is at the core of the process of discussion and negotiation upon which contracting depends.
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
What is Team Coaching? That’s a bigger question than you might think. Team Coaching is becoming increasingly important in this complex, fast-changing world of ours. Whatever kind of coaching we may be involved in, we need to understand what Team Coaching is, as well as what makes it different to what we already do.
Recently I’ve benefited from participating in CPD sessions on the topic, led by three seasoned successful Team Coaches. Whilst this post won’t be the last word on all things Team Coaching, what it will do is bring together five bite-sized insights from what I’ve learnt. Thanks Sandra Booth, Sheila Udall and Prof Peter Hawkins (as well as all the other participants) for sharing your wisdom.