- Definition of Coaching
1. Application of coaching tools and methods to own coaching practice.
Consider the statement in quotation marks below. Then critically discuss the statement, using theories/models and examples from your own practical coaching experience to support your opinion about that statement.
“In a Coaching Context – “…an effective coaching relationship…can motivate clients and unstuck the stuck. People come to coaching for lots of different things, but the bottom line is change”
Examples of at 3 coaching tools or models and reflective practice
I believe that Coaching is the fastest tool to unearth potentials, maximise performance and promote longer lasting results.
Coaching is a professional alliance of mutual trust between two equals that targets well being by honouring own values and relying on strengths.
It is ultimately a voyage of self-discovery that increases self-confidence and self-esteem.
Being confident is having a high degree of self-awareness and making choices that align with knowing who you are, your strengths, your challenges and ultimately, your values. Values represent your core beliefs: what is important to you? What drives you?
Coaching is about going out from the comfort zone to enter into the learning zone.
This journey starts with the coachee willing to change something in his life to find balance and satisfaction.
In this essay I will examine some of the approaches that I have used in my coaching practise that gave me the best results with my clients. In general, I use a combination of approaches during the sessions I give, depending on the situation. One of my favourite approaches, which I will describe with an example, is the Cognitive Behavioural Coaching.
This approach is useful for a client that is stuck or not able to achieve the best outcome with a goal oriented coaching approach.
I usually use this approach when I identify cognitive distortions during the initial conversation.
Cognitive Behavioural Coaching (CBC) is a powerful coaching model based on psychological models.
To change our reality we need to change our thoughts and learn how to allow only the ones that serve us to enter our minds. We can change our thoughts only if we are aware of them. The coaching sessions promote this awareness and help to see the reality from a different point of view.
I always say to my clients: “Thoughts are like seeds. What you plant in your mind can be flowers or weeds”.
Using powerful questions, a coach can help the coachee to realise that the thoughts about certain circumstances cause feelings that influence action and create their reality. If they change their thoughts they can change their reality.
I am a performance coach in my company; I had a case of a colleague that changed from being a high performer to a low performer after moving department.
In the first session I asked my colleague to describe the current situation in detail. He mentioned a couple of times that the new manager was unable to express any appreciation for the employees and recognise their talent and that he did not see his efforts acknowledged.
So I asked him what he thought about this. He replied that his boss should appreciate him.
I then asked how this made him feel. He told me that he was feeling frustrated, without motivation and willing to leave.
I continued by asking him how he acts when he feels frustrated and without motivation. He replied annoyed: “Well, I don’t work as I should.”
After a long silent he had a realisation moment and he said “Of course how he can appreciate me if I don’t work.”
I agreed with him and I used a prescriptive approach to clarify the real situation.
His circumstance was that his manager was not a communicative person. However this was something external to him that he could not influence; he had no control over it and he had to accept it. But he had the full control over his own feelings and thoughts and consequently over his actions.
So I asked him what could be a thought that would serve him better. He replied that he had to work for his own satisfaction because he did not want to be a low performer.
During the session he repeated many times “he should appreciate me”, I used a provocative approach and I asked “Do you appreciate yourself?” With this simple question we identified the real problem. He did not appreciate himself so he wanted his manager to appreciate him. He was new in the department and he had lost all his expertise. He was in a period of uncertainty so he was in conflict with himself for changing department and taking this frustration out on his manager.
Following our conversation I had the feeling that he was not completely aware of his behaviours and he was acting like a victim. To break this circle of concern and raise his awareness I used the coaching tool Switching Perspectives to offer him a whole other lecture.
My client was lost in this situation because of thoughts that were creating an uncomfortable reality. By changing his thought process, he was able to look at the whole situation in an objective way and I could now use a goal oriented approach to set an action plan.
In this journey to unstuck the stuck, another tool which I rely on is the wheel of life (W.o.L.)
The W.o.L. helps to get people “into the helicopter” to look at their lives as an overall entirety.
It is a powerful tool designed to help you get a graphical representation. It measures clients’ level of satisfaction in the various areas of their lives, shows clients what balance in their life looks like, and helps identify which will most benefit you by improving.
I usually show the client an example of wheel of life already filled and then I invite them to create their own wheel with the areas that are important to them in the present situation.
I ask them to rank each area from 0 to 10 where 10 is the maximum level of satisfaction.
The central metaphor of the W.o.L. is “if this wheel were a tyre on your car, how bumpy would the ride be?”
I always start the analysis from the higher ranked areas to raise the positive energy and then I ask the client which aspect they would like to focus on. I generally use this tool in the first session or if they are in a transition period, to better understand who my client is, what is important to them and to check if their goals are in line with other aspects of their lives.
From my experience, I found that this tool works well combined with the Grow model to set goals and with the Values tools. I truly believe that is important for a coach to ensure that the goals honour the coachee’s values.
I use the following powerful questions while we go through the different section of their W.o.L.
What do family/hobbies/money mean to you? What are your thoughts about these?
How do these thoughts serve you?
During the coaching session it is really important not to be judgemental and listen at level 3, be aware of what is said and unsaid and the body language. I have some expertise in “body talk” so I ask also to describe the feeling in their body. The most important thing is to be present in the conversation.
I have been coaching a mum of four that wanted to become a senior manager and the new position involved a lot of travel and she said that she felt guilty.
By combining the W.o.L with the Values Matrix and Appreciative Inquiry tools we realised that at this stage of her life her first value was her career. She had all the support that she needed and favourable conditions but something was holding her back from taking action and move forward.
During our conversation she mentioned her mum many times which I found unusual coming from a person of her age and because she was referring to her as role model, so I asked: “What does your mom think about this?” She admitted that her mum did not show enthusiasm about her ambition. It appeared to be a pain point for her so I asked how she could overcome this issue and she came up with her action plan. We noticed that after one month the family section in her wheel of life had a higher rating and overall she had accomplished her goals from the last session and she was ready to move forward.
Another tool that I have found extremely useful in my coaching experience is the GROW model. This tool is good for a goal oriented approach and especially indicated for performance improvements.
With the GROW Model, you decide first what you want to achieve (the goal) and establish what the current situation (reality) is. You then explore various possibilities (the options). Eventually, establishing the will, you ensure that you’re committed to achieving your goal.
I have found the difference between the types of goals proposed by Withmore in the book Coaching for Performance, particularly interesting.
Goals are important in any coaching conversation, without them we have no idea in what direction we are going. There are two levels of goals to be considered. Firstly the goal for the session could be a simple question such as what would you like to achieve from this session. It could be an action plan or simply more awareness. Secondly the goal for the specific issue to be discussed. In this regard there are two types of goals for you to distinguish between: The End Goal and the Performance Goal. The End Goal is a specific objective that the coachee wants to achieve and provide the inspiration and motivation to take action. He has some control over it but not the total control. The other goal to consider is the performance goal. The coachee has much more control over it. The performance goal gives the specification for the action.
An end goal should be supported by a performance goal and both should be tailed by Dream goals and Process goals. The Dream goal provides the inspiration and pushes the coachee to think above the limits to set a high standard of performance. The process goal gives the control to reach all the goals.
As a coach it is important that you help the coachee to stretch himself to set high and positive goals. “You tend to get what you focus on. If you fear failure you are focused on failure and that is what you get.”
I have used this tool to improve my team’s performance in the cash application process at work. The first positive effect that had the introduction of this tool was that it left no space for the blame game between the departments involved and drove the focus on the solution rather than on the problem. I asked the teams which was the goal for the session and they told me it was to solve the Unapplied Cash issue. Then to stretch them I asked which the Dream Goal was and they told me it was to become the best team in the OTC department. Finally I asked about the end and performance goals with the reality options and wrap up.
The team coaching session was so useful that in 15 days we reduced the Unapplied Cash from 5 million Euro to 1 million Euro which was a huge achievement. We exceeded our target because we set the highest goal possible in an environment of collaboration where everybody was aware of his importance and responsibility in achieve this goal.
I have noticed that setting the goal before analysing the reality brings the coachee to think without any limitation.
As mentioned above, the coaching relationship allows us to clear away thoughts that don’t serve us and enables us to look at ourselves in a different and positive way to become the best version of ourselves.
To conclude, I will quote and readapt Brian L. Weiss “ the coachee is a diamond in the rough and it is the job of the Coach to clean each facet until the surface is brilliant and can reflect a rainbow of colours”.