My blog revisited…

It’s a year since I posted anything on my blog. It seems a lifetime ago…

I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone that we’ve been living through many months dealing with the worst pandemic to hit humanity for over a hundred years. No-one across the globe has been unaffected. And we’ll be dealing with this pandemic for many months to come. COVID-19 may have changed our lives permanently… in one way or another depending who we are…

I’m grateful to all those readers who have continued to visit my blog. The current situation has meant I haven’t been able to engage for a long time, but the stats have nevertheless shown a level of interest and use that I didn’t expect. If my work has a ‘life of it’s own’ and is able to help people in their coaching journey, I’m happy. That was my intention when I began the blog back in February 2017, and it’s a great pleasure to me that what I intended is being fulfilled.

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Starting from wherever we are and with whatever we’ve got…

To greet the New Year I posted a quote from Jim Rohn which seemed to me particularly meaningful when we’re about to turn a page in life, or we’re considering doing so:

“Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got.”

What’s so great about that? Doesn’t it state the obvious?

Cartoon boat and sunWell, maybe not. Do we as coaches really understand what it might mean in terms of our coaching? Or do we approach our coachees from our own starting point rather than theirs, using what we prefer to use rather than what’s needed in the moment? And more broadly, how much pain and anguish can be caused for anyone, coach or non-coach, if we cannot face “wherever we are” and “whatever we’ve got” because we’re fixated with where we’d like to be and what we think we ought to have?

This time I’ll be looking at some of the implications of Jim Rohn’s deceptively simple sentence, and what taking it to heart might mean for us as coaches, as well as our coachees in the fullness of time…

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The importance of non-judgementalism in coaching, and 2 good reasons to build awareness

Do you remember when we looked at the 5 basic coaching skills we really need to become effective coaches? We started with contracting, followed by use of some kind of structuring mechanism (with the GROW Model as an example). Listening, questioning.and non-directiveness brought up the rear…

Figure leaning on question markThere’s no doubt that mastering these 5 skills will go a long way to ensuring that our coaching delivers what our coachees need and expect. But is there something else we should be adding to the mix? I would say there is, and it’s non-judgementalism.

So in this post we’ll be looking at non-judgementalism and exploring 2 good reasons to build awareness of when we are or are not being non-judgemental.

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What if… your coachee says “I know I shouldn’t be feeling like this”?

Do your coachees ever deny their right to feel the way they do about a troubling issue, situation or relationship?  Have you ever done this yourself?

Many of us dismiss our underlying feelings through rationalising about how we ‘ought’ to feel. We may become frustrated that our neatly-packaged thinking is being undermined, or that the ‘guidance’ we have received from ‘advisers’ (well-intentioned or otherwise) has not shifted the ‘silly’ or ‘childish’ gut feelings we just can’t seem to magic away.

What if our coachee says, “I know I shouldn’t be feeling like this…”?

As coaches we hone our skills in observing and reflecting back the full spectrum of communication we receive from our coachees. Much of that communication is non-verbal. We note tone of voice, averted gaze, subtle changes in facial colour. We see the pain expressed in eyes welling up with tears, surprising the coachee more than it surprises us. In the non-judgemental confidential space we nurture, our coachees may feel safe enough to articulate aspects of their current experience they may never have been able to express before, even to themselves.

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Extending our range of coaching gifts with the “Spectrum of Coaching Skills”

This time I’m sharing a guest post I wrote a little while ago concerning the variety of coaching ‘gifts’ coaches may bring to their work. Some coaching skills come more naturally to some individuals than others, and here I explore a way of structuring our approach to extending our range of ‘gifts’ beyond what we may naturally feel comfortable with.

The ‘Spectrum of Coaching Skills’ places our natural ‘gifts’ on a continuum ranging from more to less directive forms of interaction with our coachees. By thinking about where our strengths lie on this spectrum, we are enabled to gain awareness that leads to insight into areas we need to develop to improve the range of our abilities as coaches. We are then empowered to develop strategies to build those abilities in areas that we find difficult.

Spectrum of colours mosaicThe guest post first appeared in Coaching World in September 2018, published by the International Coach Federation (ICF). You can see the original publication here, and I’d like to point out that copyright is held by the ICF (meaning it should not be reproduced or reblogged without gaining permission from the ICF first).

Extending Our Range of Coaching Gifts with the “Spectrum of Coaching Skills”

Coaches have different personalities and styles, meaning they bring a variety of approaches and “gifts” to their coaching work. All of us find certain coaching skills come more naturally to us than others. That’s fine, except when we allow our “natural” range of gifts to limit the ways in which we can work with clients.

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