Why Coaching Skills Aren’t Just for Coaches

I keep circling this one….in varied conversations and training and coaching situations.  The skills which coaches build and master, are, I believe, absolutely fundamental to managers and leaders in today’s organisations.  I’m referring to skills such as – the ability to have an artful conversation, the ability to ask questions of others, to probe deeply, in a genuinely curious way and a way which doesn’t get others’ backs up, and finally, the ability to present one’s view in a potent yet truly respectful way.

Why do I say this?

I shall relay some recent experiences.

Not too long ago I completed four days of training for executive coaches.  We covered skills work from the Advocacy-Inquiry model, we talked about Dialogue, and we got really interested in ‘good questions’ (for Peter Senge’s description of Advocacy, Inquiry and Dialogue please go here).  Continue reading

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Vorsprung durch Coaching?

A Guest Blog by Prof Paul Bishop

 There’s a very common stereotype about Germans: they are logical, rational, and efficient. They work hard, and they are economically successful: Germany is the land of the Wirtschaftswunder. And it’s true that the German economy is still booming away, while in Britain the deficit seems to grow ever larger.

But as anyone who’s spent a bit of time in Germany knows, it’s much more complicated than that. The flip-side to their rationality is an intense, and sometimes surprising, interest in religion and in spirituality, in psychoanalysis, even in the esoteric. Their industry makes huge profits, but the Germans are also interested in quality of life. Continue reading

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Are you a wounded-self coach or a celebrated-self coach?

A guest blog by Dr Simon Western:

Are your clients coming expecting to be healed or repaired, or for you to stroke their egos and tell them they can achieve their dreams?   Or is there a third way?   Coaching finds itself wedged between two contemporary social and psychological dimensions – the wounded-self and the celebrated-self.   In my recent book Coaching and Mentoring: a critical text (2012) I introduce coaching as a developmental activity that has emerged to bridge these two positions:

The wounded-self

The ‘Wounded Self’ refers to a self that is damaged, fragmented or emotionally hurt and is the home territory of psychotherapists and psychologists.  Psychotherapists look for the ‘Wounded Self’ – this is their expertise, their business.  They offer therapeutic intervention (the talking cure) and reparation. The contemporary self is a much more feeling and reflective self and in this complex world we are constantly in need of therapeutic intervention to address our ‘issues’ and todays belief has turned the 1950’s notion of having pride in ‘a stiff upper lip’ upside down; now, emoting and crying are praised, and we all agree ‘it’s good to talk’.  Continue reading

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Skype A Coach?

What I Learned from Dr Kate Anthony

I invited Dr Kate Anthony (www.kateanthony.net), an expert in online/virtual learning to spend a few hours with our team of executive coaches, and pass on her vast working knowledge on the subject.

We learned loads!  Just a few snippets include:

  • The need to let coaching clients know that Microsoft own the proprietary rights to all Skype calls and could publish on the internet (obviously a small chance of this ever happening, but coaching clients need to know and assent)
  • How incredibly healing it can be for some people, to undertake online therapy in the comfort of their own homes e.g. through an avatar
  • The notion of the bubble we are in, when we’re on our mobile phones in public; more and more people are talking without inhibition in trains, public spaces, so that it isn’t inconceivable that in the near future people will be coached on their smartphone whilst sitting in a bus surrounded by people, without worrying about who hears Continue reading
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Mindset Shift – Whoa!

Mindset Shift – Whoa!

I was working with a group of senior academics yesterday, training them in coaching skills.  It always interests me how the coaching mindset is very different from the traditional management mindset.  And it fascinates me how this realisation, this learning, comes in different ways for different people.  We had several lightbulb moments yesterday!

Several learnings stand out for me as the trainer of coaches:

  • Keep reinforcing that the Goal of the coaching session is not the goal for the problem to be solved (e.g. I want to spend less time at work), rather, the Goal is ‘what do I want to get out of this coaching conversation?’ (e.g. I want to understand why I spend so much time at work, so that I can start to identify ways in which I could reduce this).  This is sometimes a subtle differentiation, other times not so much.  But it’s always important.  Also, have the coaches write down the goal and articulate it back to the coachee.
  • Help line-manager-coaches understand that even though they are managerially accountable for the performance and behaviour of the person they are coaching, when they choose to undertake facilitative coaching (one end of the coaching spectrum for line managers), they need to become disciplined in standing back from ‘the problem’, and ask open, facilitative questions.  Easier said than done, as Julie Starr describes so well in her book Brilliant Coaching. Continue reading
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