Posts tagged: Coaching

Are You Challenging Your Coaching Clients Enough?

By , January 16, 2013 10:42 pm

 “Effective coaching is about challenging assumptions, examining habits, overcoming barriers, and embedding change.”

~ John Blakey & Ian Day – Authors – Challenging Coaching – http://challengingcoaching.co.uk/

 

A few of my professional coaching friends and I were talking recently about a common coaching challenge:

Why do some coaches shy away from holding up the mirror to show a coachee something that they might not want to see and may be avoiding about themselves?

Have you ever finished coaching someone and then wished that you’d been more direct during the session because you recognised the core issue was but too scared to give feedback or challenge them? So the issue takes up space and is not dealt with directly.

One of the common disappointments about coaching is that the coachee isn’t challenged enough by their coach (according to my Masters Research).

Sometimes coaches need to move beyond supporting to give feedback and challenge their coachee to move to a deeper level of self-awareness, helping them to be more accountable. This is hugely important if the coachee wants to break through blockages to achieve their goals.

The coachee may be following a textbook of what they need to do in terms of a step strategy for their business or how to lead a team, but they are still not getting the results. Things aren’t working.

Getting great results is not just about the knowing WHAT needs to be done… it’s also about HOW you do things.

Your coachee might be following the process and doing everything right, however, it is their personality or behavioral traits that are actually holding them back. For example, they might be overplaying a strength and getting in their own way of success.

I call this the Human Factor – how you show up and interact with others is so important. Yet this can be the one thing that stops you getting clients or commitment from your team. It’s also a difficult and sensitive area to coach.

Of course, no one wants to hear that their own behavior is pushing clients away or upsetting their team. Especially when they are trying so hard to make things work…

But who’s going to want to tell you that your behavior is stopping you from getting clients or from effectively influencing your team??  Some coaches are too frightened of upsetting you. After all coaches are meant to be supportive right?? And giving this kind of feedback doesn’t feel supportive.

Here’s the thing…

Whether you coach people for performance as a leader in an organization or you run your own coaching business, you’ve probably learned to coach from a traditional supportive stance. Most coaching books heavily focus on this approach for success.

I agree that being supportive is important for building trust, respect, developing rapport and for creating a safe environment to grow. This environment enables individuals disclose their private thoughts and feelings and develop their self-awareness.

Sometimes being supportive isn’t enough and you need to help your clients reach a deeper level of thinking that takes them out of their comfort zone, holds them accountable, makes them face those issues and roadblocks and take risks to courageously achieve their goals.

Great coaches intuitively know how to challenge and hold the tension until the pressure point is opened up and resolved. It’s like when having a back massage, you feel the tension of the masseur applying some pressure to a specific point, then they hold exactly the right amount of tension waiting for those knotty bits to move (I’m sure there’s a technical term for this!). It almost feels painful, but the relief releasing those knots is worth all the discomfort!

It’s the same with deep coaching…

As a coach, you have to be okay with challenging and pushing self-awareness to a deeper level for your coachee. You hold up the mirror and apply tension through feedback, challenging them to be accountable and take them out of their comfort zone into what Cranfield Business School calls the ZOUD (Zone Of Uncomfortable Debate) so you can get to the core of the issue and resolve it.

Applying and holding tension isn’t always pretty because you are creating discomfort. It might initially create a reaction of tears, anger, anxiety, worry or the coachee may feel tense and stressed.

Intuitively you need to recognize this and apply your supportive coaching skills to re-create a balance, by tapping into their feelings, taking a breath and re-grouping before stepping back into the ZOUD and working through it together. You have to believe that this will lead to a breakthrough for your coachee and provide positive supporting skills to face rather than avoid the issue. This can be a challenge for you as the coach to stay in your power and push further than before.

Working through the knotty-bits can take time, but the release of pressure and clearing the block can create transformational shifts for your coachee.

Staying stuck in a solely supportive style doesn’t deliver the full potential of coaching for your coachee. Going deeper has a much greater impact -increasing self-awareness and creating upleveled performance and results.

I ALWAYS want my coach to challenge me so I can live outside of my comfort zone.

If you coach people – Are YOU challenging them enough?

 

7 Ways to Become More Effective at Learning

By , December 5, 2012 11:02 pm

“You are the product of your learning. Everything you know, everything you can do and everything you believe, you have learnt.” 

Peter Honey, Author and Speaker.

“I love learning, but I want to read and learn everything.  I feel overwhelmed with all that I want to do, and would like to work out how I can get a better balance with the time I spend learning and doing everything else, and how I should maybe plan how and when I learn.” – A Coaching Client.

I was asked this week for coaching advice from someone who loves to learn, but she was overwhelmed with learning and frightened of becoming obsessed with the feeling of not knowing enough.

The feeling of not knowing enough is common, and it’s reinforced by the abundance of tools and information that is readily available today. Many of us buy learning materials without really having any plan of how we intend to use them. They gather dust on the shelf, as we rush back to our reactive and often chaotic busy lives.  

There’s so much information and inspiration out there, especially with instant access to content just a credit card click away on the Internet. It’s easy to be drawn into buying every book and online workshop available.

You end up with information overload and overwhelm.

You may have invested money in your learning but you’ve forgotten about  two other important key investments: Your time and your attitude towards learning.

Here are some tips on how to apply your learning instead of becoming a victim of Shelf Help Overwhelm!

1. Plan your learning – Set clear learning goals. What do you want to learn? Why do you want to learn it? What difference will it make to you personally or/and professionally? How important is it for you to learn and apply this knowledge/skill/behaviour? Set time in your schedule each week for Personal Development time. THIS IS IMPORTANT – Give it HIGH VALUE on your agenda (Or you won’t do it!). Choose to learn from one resource at a time. E.g. Read one book (not several books and an online programme all at the same time!).

2. How do you learn best? – Improve your own learning efficiency by understanding how you learn.  I use Honey & Mumford’s learning styles to explain how people can best learn. Using all four styles will ensure that your learning is effective:

  1. Have an experience (Activist) – Jumping in and trying it out – Seeking the challenge and having a go.
  2. Review the experience (Reflector) – Standing back to think, gather data and ponder.
  3. Conclude from the experience (Theorist) – Assimilate facts, theorise and pull together themes.
  4. Plan the next step (Pragmatist) – Seek out and try new ideas and applying a down to earth practical approach.

We all have a preference for one of these in the cycle. If you only learn using your preference, you’ll miss opportunities to learn quicker because you haven’t used the whole learning cycle: Do, Reflect, Conclude and Plan. Use a learning log to ensure that all four elements of learning are covered…

3. Create a learning log – Create a simple learning log or journal to help you apply what you’re learning as you go. Answer these four questions: 1. What was your learning experience? 2. Reflect on the experience – What were you thinking and feeling during the learning? 3. Did you specifically learn?  4. How do you intend to apply this learning to your life/work? (What is your first step?)

4. Use it or lose it! – If you only read it once, you’ll forget it because your brain will eliminate the neural pathway, unless you keep using it. If you want the new information you’ve learned to stick, then you have to make learning a continuous practice (Practice makes permanent). Look for opportunities to keep practicing and rehearsing the information. Re-visit your notes, make an audio to remind you of the key points. Refresh your knowledge.

5. Use multiple ways to learn – Don’t just read books. Engage your senses by listening to podcasts or an audio. Look for verbal and visual ways to learn such as drawing a mind map, watching a video or sharing your knowledge with a friend or an accountability partner. Using different parts of the brain helps you to learn at a deeper level rather just relying on memory recall.

6. Teach other people what you’ve learned – When I learn something new I translate it into my own words, this helps me to understand the information. I then apply it to my coaching or training classes or I might even write a blog post about it! Sharing what you’ve learned with others helps you to imbed the new knowledge in your brain. You help other people in the process!

7. Apply what you’ve learned – Reading and researching is only part of the process, putting new knowledge, skills and behaviours into practice is one of the best ways to learn. Make what you’ve learned real by using it in the ‘real’ world (not just holding it in your head). If you’ve learned about being assertive, then try it out at work or home. Do it imperfectly then use your learning log to build on the experience for next time. Little and often – practice it regularly, form a new habit.

Be deliberate about your learning – Plan, Do, Review, Conclude!

9 Reasons WHY YOU Should Have a Coach…

By , March 11, 2010 5:23 pm

“Learn as if you were going to live forever.ManHelpingHand
Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.”

Mahatma Gandhi

I love this quotation for two reasons:

  • I love learning and I love life! This sums up my passion and energy.
  • I clearly remember when and where I first read these words and why self-investment is hugely important to me.

These few words changed my life on many levels!

Here’s my story…

The first time I came across this quotation was on a little business card placed upon my pillow as part of the turn down service at the Mövenpick Hotel & Resort, Beirut, Lebanon. It was the evening of 12 July, 2006. For the previous two weeks this amazing hotel had been my home and workplace while I trained groups of managers on various leadership programmes. I’d also been blessed to immerse myself in the culture and friendliness of the people. That night, I went to sleep to the sound of a firework display at the resort. The next morning I left the hotel and flew back to the UK.

I returned home to find that I’d actually flown out of Lebanon just in time because a few hours after my flight there had been Israeli airstrikes across Beirut destroying the airport, lighthouse and four bridges along the coast road. The same road I had walked only a few days before, where I’d watched families playing on the beach. A war had begun there. The bombing continued to destroy the city and surrounding areas for many days. Those fireworks were actually gun fire in the hillside outside Beirut! I had been very lucky to get out that morning (others were stranded, caught in the cross-fire for over a week before aircraft carriers came to their rescue).

My thoughts instantly turned to the welfare of the people that I had trained. I frantically sent emails to check that they (and their families) were okay. Fortunately they were all safe and had taken refuge outside of the city. Danger, uncertainty and fleeing to the hillside were a normal part of their life. It certainly wasn’t normal for me and this experience created a shift in my thinking. For the first time, I’d witnessed the fragility of life and the importance of really living On Purpose. I remembered the little card that I’d enjoyed reading only the night before:

“Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.”

This quotation became my mantra. I still have this card and carry it with me in my wallet every day, wherever I travel.

What’s THIS got to do with coaching?

It’s ALL about self-investment. Do you value your life enough to invest in yourself?

I LOVE being a coach and being coached!

Why do I need a coach?

Here’s how I see it. Yes, I am a certified, practicing coach. It’s really not about having the qualifications, more importantly, it’s about demonstration of the qualifications in terms of how I show up and actually help my clients to move forward and make the changes they want to experience in their life.

Having qualifications doesn’t mean that my learning is done!

So, I will always have a coach.

Here’s 9 reasons WHY YOU should have a coach:

  • I value me – enough to invest in myself. I’ve learned that if I wait for someone to come and rescue me or the organization that I work for to develop me that I could be waiting a VERY long time. I have learned to recognize the value of me enough to know I’m worth investing in. I’m passionate about learning and growing, it is an important part of my life because it helps me to Live On Purpose. There is something really powerful about investing in YOU.
  • It’s hard to go it alone – I’ve learned that I can’t do it all alone. Sometimes we need help and support. A coach always provides that beacon of light in the darkness. A lighthouse in the storm, so that you can safely navigate back to port. She is always there for you. She holds your hand and walks with you. She helps you navigate back to your centre and find your way home.
  • Help with your clarity – A coach helps you to get clear and say what you really want. Even when you think that you don’t know! She helps to clear away the noise and distraction.
  • A coach believes in you – A coach has the wisdom to see a BIGGER and GREATER you. She has vision to see your potential and ability even when you can’t see it and you’re stuck in your shrinky-ness. She sees you already there, being successful and Living On Purpose. She’s not interested in dwelling in the past. The focus is the present and how you can take steps to move forward and grow. She helps you be authentic and true to yourself. It’s a partnership.
  • Holds you accountable – A coach keeps you accountable. You have someone to answer to. She helps you to make and keep promises with yourself. This stops procrastination and creates discipline, persistence and motivation and you achieve your goals!
  • Celebrates your successes – Whether it’s saying ‘no’ to someone at work, getting out of bed in the morning and actually going to the gym or developing a successful kick ass coaching programme, a coach will recognize and reflect back your successes. She’s there to remind you of the baby steps you’ve taken and the growth you’ve achieved. This drives momentum and makes you want to achieve even more! Bring it on!
  • Is your mirror – A coach has a 6th sense (I swear mine has!). A coach is sensitive to your emotions and moods. She recognizes and understands the negative mindsets that block your thinking and helps you create new patterns of thinking that align with your intention. She reflects back your leaky language when you’re playing small and helps you turn it around. You get to experience “what is it like being on the receiving end of you?” in a safe and creative environment.
  • Makes you feel great – A coach will make you feel better about the situation and yourself. I’ve witnessed this reflected in my client’s faces. They come into a session full of stress and pressure, looking tired and pale. They leave relaxed and the colour has returned to their face. They’re ready to kick ass and make things happen. They take back the control of their situation. A coach makes the un-doable become doable!
  • Having a coach helps you to BECOME a coach – Experiencing being coached is an awesome gift. Knowing what it’s like to be coached helps you to be fully present for anyone you interact with. You become committed to them in the same way as your coach is to you. You’re living and coaching from the inside- out and helping others to do the same.

Me? I’m going to “Learn as if I’m going to live forever” because I believe that my learning and growth will NEVER be done.

What a GREAT investment to make!

Do you value your life enough to invest in yourself?

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