Monday, January 21, 2008

Community of Practice

Today and one day last week I sat in on a couple of Community of Practice sessions of other disciplines - Career and Business. I wanted to experience other types of coaching to get a feel for how they may be the same or different from Life Coaching. I still want to sit in on a Spiritual one as well, although I find myself geared toward Life Coaching as my focus.

Both COP had wonderfully executed coaching sessions and although I have done a fair amount of coaching I found myself a bit self-conscious. What stood out the most to me in listening in on these coaching sessions is that the 'process' of coaching is the same no matter what area you find you coach most. I'm not sure why I am intimidated to coach 'business' as opposed to 'life' - it is really the same.

Anyway, I have 7 more COP's to attend and even though I have seen that they are all the same in process we'll see if I am willing to be vocal in the other COP's. I guess I should challenge myself to be actively involved in another COP. I'll let you know how that one turns out.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2008 Update

Wow how time flies by! I finished up all my class work in the fall but I failed to register for Supervised Coach and therefore was not able to graduate in December. This actually worked out well for me as my family relocated from the west coast to the east coast. We are finally settled and I feel focused on completing the remaining tasks for Graduation. I have 9 practicum, one outside client assessment, Supervised Coach, self-assessment and the log of classes to turn at the end of it all. I have gotten approval for the Coaching Model and Power Tool. I just turned in the written exam minutes before this blog entry.

I have been coaching regularly. Currently I have three clients. With three children (two school aged and one pre-schooler) I find that this is enough clients for the time being. I am enjoying the coaching relationships I have and feel like I keep getting more comfortable and confident.

I will resume some blogging around the practicums and supervised coaching classes in the coming weeks.

I hope all you fellow ICA students are finding yourselves renewed in the new year as well and accomplishing your coaching goals.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Accountability 1 & 2

The first class in this course was held on Wednesday, September 26, 2007. I am excited to start and finish this course because it is my last class aside from the Community of Practice and Supervised Coach.

Accountability means doing what we say we are going to do, commitment and reliability, being able to answer for your actions or lack of action. Accountability often times includes another person whereas responsibility is more about ourselves. Accountability is linked to expectation. There is usually a set of ‘rules’ by which one is being accountable for or conditions that have been set.

We spent a lot of time discussing the difference between accountability and responsibility. I have to admit I was losing a little bit of interest as the debate kept going for so long.

The second class was held on Wednesday, October 03, 2007. Someone brought up the question of how to help your clients keep themselves accountable. One idea was to reframe the question by asking what structures they can put into place to support themselves.

I found it interesting that someone shared that she got coaching around an issue and the coach gave her such a huge mountain to climb that she felt defeated before she even started and basically sabotaged herself. I think as a coach we have to be careful not to overwhelm our clients – we need to remember that coaching is a process and that the way to reach the big goal is through smaller steps and successes.

Someone in the class brought up the idea that asking “Why” is not ok in coaching. Angela thought this was not a black and white idea, rather that “Why” can be a probing question. It can move a person to what they are trying to get to. As she was talking I was thinking of other ways to get to the point of the ‘why’ by asking ‘what’ questions and interestingly enough someone else in the class said the exact same thing - that rather than saying “Why?” trying to ask a question that gets to that essence of the issue through a “WHAT” question.

I have not paid that much attention to whether or not I use “Why” questions with my clients and I’m going to try to be more aware of that and be careful not to disempower them by that sort of question.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Celebrating #2

The second class in this course was held on Wednesday, September 26, 2007. Last week I was not in the ‘mood’ for celebrating and vowed to work on shifting my perspective over the week. I was able to really focus on the good things or the blessings of my life rather than the frustrations. Every time I started to feel defeated or frustrated about the things that just weren’t quite going the way I thought they should I reminded myself that my family is healthy and happy, that certainly things could be much, much worse and ‘coached’ myself back into moving forward rather than focusing on those things that drag me down.

As it turns out this week I feel quite celebratory. There have been some things this week that have occurred in my family that are quite the cause for celebration. I have found that in spite of the frustrations of our cross-country move my children are incredibly well-adjusted and actually happier than I have seen them in years. My husband is more relaxed and happy with the change that has occurred in his work as a result of our move. So even though some of the practical ‘settling in’ things aren’t coming together my family is happy and united and that is the most important thing to me.

The class today was around how we will celebrate with our clients. Karen did some ‘role plays’ that would help us to know how to celebrate with our clients when they have successes. Ask the clients “How can we celebrate this accomplishment?” If the client has something tangible ask them to send it, share it…a picture, a writing that they have done or an invitation to an ‘opening’.

The second role play was a situation that the client didn’t accomplish what it was that they set out to accomplish. Celebration is always in order. How do we celebrate with a client who hasn’t reached the ‘goal’? We celebrate the effort, the values, the showing up just to say that they didn’t accomplish the goal. We need to look for the things that can be acknowledged and celebrated at every session. It is empowering and encouraging for the client when they can focus on what they have done rather than where they failed.

I think I used acknowledgement a lot in my sessions. I’m going to work at taking that to the next level and actually turning that acknowledgement into a form of celebration with my clients.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Celebrating #1

The first class of this course was held on Wednesday, September 19, 2007. I have to say that I’m not in a “celebration” mood and frustrated that I was not open to celebrating with all the people in class. It has been bad week and stressful 3 months for me and I am having a hard time engaging in anything that would be cause for celebration.

One thing that was brought up as a tool for celebration is a “joy journal” – a structure to help people focus on the things in their life that they can celebrate.

One person shared that at one point when she was feeling really down and discouraged and wanting to give up she stopped and wrote down what she had done and tried to focus on the positive. I know that this is what I should do right now because I know that I am focused on what isn’t going according to plan rather than what has gone well or where things are better.

Another way of using celebrating in coaching is to have a celebration session. Taking one session, maybe after 12 weeks, to reflect on what the client has accomplished over the 12 weeks. Possibly type up the session notes in such a way that shows what they want to accomplish and how and where they accomplished it – and celebrate it.

This was actually a very powerful class for me today. I really came into the class in a ‘bad’ place and as I listened to others in class talk about different ways of celebrating and about having an attitude of celebration - how even failure can be reason for celebration. I don’t know that I will walk away today with renewed hope or continue to feel defeated but I can see that it is something for me to contemplate this week.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Powerful Requests #2

I took the second class to this course on Monday, September 17, 2007. I was moving across country during the second class and lost cell phone service. I have felt very incomplete because I like to take the classes for each course all at once and not have such a huge gap in between. After so much time elapsing I’m glad to get this course completed.

With the discussion being on Powerful Requests someone brought up what is different about a powerful request instead of just asking them to do something. Some things that came up were that they are challenged to go outside of their comfort zone and initiate change or it might uncover a fear or something that is blocking them from moving forward.

Someone on the class brought up how this can be used in group coaching. Karen shared that she has used this in group coaching both geared toward an individual or as a group. As long as the coach is clear that they can either accept it, say no or make a counter offer. First, as a coach, we should ask if everyone feels comfortable doing this thing this week and then ask if anyone would want to ‘customize’ the request for their situation.

In my coaching practice I think that I use powerful requests. I try to find the ‘action’ or ‘request’ that pushes the client to move a step beyond where they were at the beginning of the coaching call. Personally I think I need to make a powerful request of myself to work on my Research Paper. I have not done a research paper in so long that I’m almost paralyzed to know where to start. I need to figure out how I am going to move through that.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Empowering #3

The third and final class in this course was held on Thursday, September 13, 2007. As expected we were to engage in some coaching practice around ‘empowering’. The person who volunteered to be the client was dealing with a situation where they were having trouble at work – sort of a third wheel, animosity type issue. The coach did a good job listening to the client and gave a suggestion about calling a meeting with her team, a little while later she suggested not being a part of a team. I think it was difficult to ask questions around this but may she could have tried “What have you tried to resolve this issue?” “What are other options for a solution?” “What do you desire in the long run for your business?” I don’t like to have a critical attitude of the coaching sessions but I felt the coach gave too many suggestions. The coach eventually got back to asking what the client could do in the next week to look towards changing her circumstances. She also encouraged her and empowered her that she doesn’t have to “buy into the drama”. She summed up the session by asking her what she took away from the session.

The observers saw some good things…being present, acknowledging the client, helping her shift her perspective, helping her get in touch with what it would feel like to ‘do’ something else, taking her into action and overall empowering her.

As I think about ‘empowering’ my clients I hope that I do. The women that I coach often times feel powerless as a result of the breakdown in the marriage. My desire is that I am able to help them see that they are not powerless and help them to discover ways that they can be empowered through the own identity in Christ and gifts and talents that they possess.