Here in the Northern Hemisphere the daylight hours are getting longer now, and from time to time we’re getting warmer sunnier days. Hope springs eternal (as they say), and before we know it we’ll be in the sunlit uplands of summer…
For many of us there’s nothing nicer than a brisk walk enjoying what will soon be the refreshing days of spring. Noticing the emergence of the first flowers of the year is especially inspiring, as snowdrops and crocuses stand bravely, emerging from what has recently been cold hard ground. Observing them, I was reminded of a post I wrote a couple of years ago at this time of year which imagined coachees as flowers. Revisiting it, I thought it would be timely to share it again.
Reminding us of how important attitude and ability to listen are for our coaching to serve our coachees in the way it should, the post caused me to reflect again about how our hidden assumptions and ‘baggage’ can dominate our thinking in sometimes destructive ways…
Have you ever stopped to think about the attitudes and assumptions you carry with you into coaching sessions?
Let’s face it, no coach can enter a coaching session completely free from his or her own ‘baggage’. We all bear the marks of our particular backgrounds, perspectives, education, relationship history and prejudices. We’ll never get rid of our ‘baggage’ and prejudices completely, and having them is a natural state of affairs. But is it one we as coaches should sit back and accept without question?
I’d say we shouldn’t just sit back and accept this state of affairs. Why? Because if we are unaware that we carry around with us prejudices and ‘baggage’, or if we refuse to admit this is the case, those prejudices and ‘baggage’ will come back to bite us in coaching sessions, potentially damaging the quality of the service we can offer our coachees. Those prejudices and ‘baggage’ will get in the way of our ability to offer the kind of non-judgemental individually-tailored coaching our clients have every right to expect.
Why review a book covering meetings on a blog about coaching? Two reasons really.
Firstly, if you’re coaching in an organisational context, much of your coachees’ precious time will be spent in meetings. When run badly, meetings can seem to be a waste of that irreplaceable resource, and cause a great deal of disillusionment.
Secondly, the book in question is so much more than a simple rehash of meeting tips and tricks. In How to Manage Meetings, Alan Barker packs within a surprisingly few pages insights into significant features of meetings we don’t normally think enough about.
This time I’m sharing a guest post I wrote not long ago concerning how certain aspects of a mindfulness practice can become useful tools for coaches in dealing with distractions or emotional reactions that may arise during or after coaching sessions. These ‘tools’ have been useful to me, and I hope they’ll be useful to you too!
The guest post was first published in Coaching World in January 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).
Mindfulness as a Coaching Tool?
What’s a coaching tool to you? Something you pull out of your “toolbox” and “apply” to a client? Like MBTI? The GROW Model? Or, a perspective on coaching that provides a whole variety of questions and approaches?
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?