Wednesday, June 13, 2007

UAC #2

The second class in this course was held on Wednesday, June 13, 2007. We started the class discussing the different people that Jim recommended for reading in last weeks class: Robert Kegan and Albert Ellis. We moved into discussing Motivational Interviewing and how it plays into coaching. Jim took us through a model called Stages of Change Model. There were 7 stages: Pre-contemplation, Contemplation, Preparing to Take Action, Employ It, Fall of the Wagon, Maintenance (evidently I missed one). As a coach we come into play during the contemplation stage, the client has decided that they want this change in their life and they are looking for someone to help them with it. Motivational Interviewing comes in when they are having ambivalence toward the change that they say they want and we ask questions that lead them to seeing the benefits and drawbacks to what it is they want to change. As we ask these questions they will begin to focus on the reasons to change and therefore they will increase their motivation and decrease their resistance, without us telling them what they should do.

As I think about this concept and how I need to apply it to my own coaching style, I see that I don’t spend enough time weighing the different scenarios in my coaching sessions. I can remember a time when I did do that and would ask what the worst case scenario would be or what it would look like if a situation went a particular direction. I seem to have gotten away from that and want to move back into that more. As mentioned in an earlier blog, I had a couple coaching sessions that I got off the phone feeling less than good about and I have been able to see some techniques I could have tried that may have helped the session go better.

Advanced Coaching Techniques #3

The last class for this course was held on Wednesday, June 13, 2007. We had a fill-in facilitator for this final class so we began by recapping the last two classes and what we talked about. One thing that continues to ring true in all the classes is that we all have our own style and techniques and that if we have confidence we can bring our own flavor and approach to the session, we can draw on the things that we have learned (techniques and tools) and still have a successful coaching relationship.

Sheri brought up the “should” factor and how many times a client will come in and have a goal that they feel like they should do something and as the coach we can help them figure out if it is really what they really want.

The metaphor was brought up again about “putting your own mask on when on an airplane”, taking care of ourselves first so that we are able to help others. It is a great tool to be able to give the client a visual or word picture to help them understand a concept. I think this is an area that I could use more refining on. I don’t always think about creating a picture for the client in this way…I’m going to try this more and see if it can become a new tool for me to use in coaching sessions.

About half way through the class we experienced a coaching session. I appreciated that Sheri stressed the fact that this should be a positive and safe environment for people to experience coaching. I was not feeling very bold in offering to be the coach because I had two sessions yesterday that I felt went poorly; I was lacking confidence in today’s class.

The coaching session was about how the client could make her coaching business more visual. The session was a “laser” session, in essence short and sweet. The coach wrapped up the session by asking the client if she felt complete in the session. It was brought up that in supervised coaching and the ICF both look for this at the end of a session. I think this is another area that I need to be more conscious of. I often recap what the client is moving toward over the next week but maybe asking more specifically “What are you taking away from our session today” may be a good tactic to try implementing.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Moving Forward #3

The last class for this course was held on Thursday, June 07, 2007. Being the last class we were focused on doing coaching around moving forward.

The coaching session was around moving the client toward getting an office. The client was very clear about why she wanted to get an office but found that she wasn’t moving in that direction. Her hesitation came from not knowing where to look, who to ask, and cost of an office. The client has moved to a new town and feels very insecure. The coach did a good job making sure that she had defined what she is looking for in an office, her ideal situation. The coach had asked her where the fear of rejection came from and hit it on the head that she had experienced that in her new country. She practiced psychology previous to moving and her degree is useless where she moved to, she is very discouraged. The coach then encouraged her to find a support group of coaches. As it turned out she had just that morning emailed a connection she had with a coach in Milan. The coached used a powerful question in the way of, “What could you try if you had no reservation?” She had an upcoming get together with some women that she sighted as a possibility. He challenged her to not only express her need (for an office) but also do a sample coaching session in order to help them understand. He encouraged her that it could be the start of a network. He ended by challenging her (or asking) for a deadline that she could set for herself by which to try these things.

The phone line was really poor ob this class and it was difficult to remain focused for the entire hour. I have to admit by the end of the class when people were sharing what they had learned in class to today I was watching the clock. I think that there are a lot of ways to help the client move forward: powerful questions, enthusing, powerful listening, setting goals, creating action, identifying UAC’s, raising awareness, holding client accountable, the list can go on and on. The key is to find what works for each client and also to identify what the roadblocks are for that client. The role of the coach is to help the client move forward and I think that all the things that we learn at ICA are focused around that aspect.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

UAC #1

The first class in this three class course was held on Wednesday, June 6, 2007. I have been looking forward to taking this course because although I feel like I understand what this concept is I wanted to hear some instruction around it to get a better grasp on it and what to do with it.

UAC’s are our judgments about ourselves and the world around us. Our belief system and the rules we live by. They could be formed by our upbringing, religious beliefs or things that we have been taught or experienced. It may be something that we may be unaware of but they are just there for whatever reason.

It is important to understand this as a coach because it helps us to get to the true feelings behind the words. By asking powerful questions you can help the client rethink their belief about something.

The conversation shifted to coaching versus counseling and it seemed like the class couldn’t move off this topic and get back to the topic of UAC’s. Kudos to Jim, he really kept trying to steer the discussion back to that and the class seemed really stuck on the differences between coaching and other roles.

I think that as a coach it is important to not try and fix someone’s UAC. It is ok to ask “Where do you think that belief came from? or “Why do you feel that way?” However, I think the job of the coach is to take the UAC and help the client learn how to use their UAC’s either to move forward or help them see how they have blocked them and how they can stop letting them stop them.

Advanced Coaching Techniques #2

The second class for this course was held on Wednesday, June 06, 2007. We began with talking about the “wrong trap”. We discussed how we can move the client to the topic of the day without saying ‘What is wrong?’ Some different questions that we could ask instead are: “What would you like to achieve?” “How can I support you?” “What would you like to focus on today?” Along the same line we may encounter a client that doesn’t know what they want coaching on. What can we do with the client that doesn’t know what they want to coach on? A good question to ask is “What do you want more of?”

Defining the Opportunity – What more is there for the client…moving into creating. Sometimes people move toward things out of a sense of guilt. We as coaches need to be careful not to move the client forward in this way. What are other ways to move clients forward without using guilt? Enthusing the client into action or helping them create a goal, are a couple of ways we can do this.

Personal Basics – Self Care. We were asked to think of three things we have done for someone else, what came to my mind was: made husband lunch, took kids to the park, had the neighbor girl over to give her mom a break.
Then we were asked to list three things we have done for ourselves, I listed: started walking, cut my hair, eat healthier & drink more water.
There is a direct correlation between caring for ourselves and having the energy and focus we have for others. I have found this week that when I feel good and take care of myself I actually have more energy for others.

Self acknowledgement is also essential to self-care. We tend to shy away from it because we don’t want to become arrogant. Another aspect is asking for what we want. When we don’t express ourselves we can harbor resentment which serves nobody.

I felt good about today’s class. I feel like have implemented so much needed self-care into my life and I feel like I have a good grasp on these Advanced Coaching Techniques that we talked about in the first two of the three classes.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Community of Practice #1

Today, Monday, June 04, 2007, I attended my first Community of Practice. I have to admit that I was nervous about being thrown into a coaching role on the first class and as it turned out there were volunteers ready and waiting. I know that at some point I will have to be both the client and the coach but I wanted to just see how the class went first. The class was basically the same as other classes that have mini coaching sessions within them.

The client today wanted coaching around striking a balance between disciplining her 7 year old daughter that held her value/principles and giving her daughter room for freedom. I see as I reiterate the situation that she really answered her own issue in the stating of the situation. The coach did a really good job of giving reflective feedback and empathizing and connecting with the client, bringing in things from his own life that mirrored what she was talking about. He worked his way through painting a picture of the family, each person’s role in the family, what the child was like, what the client tended to do in certain situations etc. He gently made suggestions about different things to try but did it in such a way that it was more of a question to the client than advice that she should follow. A good question that the coach asked was “What is a discipline issue and what is a being a child issue?” I thought this was a great question to help the client see that at some point she may be putting adult expectations on a child. Certain behaviors she described weren’t “naughty” rather she was just being 7. The coach also talked about a “Family Values (Mission) Statement”. I thought this was a good direction to go because it helps to identify what the expectations are for the family. He also suggested allowing the child to be a part of defining the Family Values Statement. This brought the session to the crux of the issue, giving the daughter room to spread her wings a little bit and make some decisions, in essence, giving the daughter responsibility and freedom to some degree, with parental controls (she is only 7 after all).

I probably would have gone a different direction with the coaching session. I would have asked questions around what she has already tried, what the relationship was like now, what she hoped the relationship would look like, etc.. I’m not sure if it would have ended up at the same conclusion or not. The client was clear at the beginning of the session that she wanted to walk away with an exercise, something that she could try. I think she knew what she needed to do from the beginning she just couldn’t see it until she went through the channels of processing.

I hope to take the next Community of Practice class on Monday…maybe I’ll volunteer for something…we’ll see!