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"Coach Talk" Blog!

*Please know that any post deemed to be disrespectful or not relevant to the conversation will not be approved.

Friday, March 16 2012
On the call yesterday a participant asked Barbara Luther, MCC for any tips as to what to do when she's "not feeling on" or focused.

Barbara gave 2 great suggestions/reminders for us all.

The first was self care, maintaining routines that help us to be fully present for our clients.

And the other was to "own it and bring it into the coaching session, we all have off days, we're all human". Barbara said she would say something like - I just got off an intense class, so lets pause a moment, take a breath and get present together.

I'm always fascinated and find it very beneficial when coaches share the various ways they have of dealing with what I believe are universal issues, so:
1.      What methods of self care do you find work the best for you?
2.      How do you get focused for a session or refocus in the middle of one if need be?
3.      How do you go about getting into and maintaining that "ready position" (as they say in tennis) for a coaching session with a client? For example what intentions, techniques, rituals etc do you use to help yourself come to neutral? How do you let go of what's going on in your own life as well as any possible preconceived notions or beliefs about the client? How do you as best as possible "get out of the way" before and perhaps during a session?

A few of my personal favorites are:

1. Meditation is what actually works best for me in answer to all three of the questions.  Of course I don't "meditate" in the middle of a session:) but will use one of the tools for meditation. If I'm feeling ungrounded, not focused or "in the way", I will focus for a moment on slowing down and deepening my breathing. At the same time, I remember to really amp up my listening and then I will reflect back what I've heard- that usually gets me back on track!

2. Remembering my intention before the session to be of the highest service is really important for me and of great help. I also have a picture on my desk that symbolizes that intention. And I look at it often!

3. Another very simple but really effective tool to help get you out of your head (which for me usually means I'm getting in the way!) is to simply place your hand over your heart. Try it, its amazing! Got that from one of the instructors when I was in school at ICA- and I'm thankful!

Now would love to hear what works for you!

Also for the future please let me know if there are any topics you would like discussed.
Posted by: Gail Moore AT 03:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 08 2012
Whether it's appropriate for coaches to give advice is an important debate that keeps arising.  After hearing many different points of view and contemplating it myself, I have to question whether like for most things in life, there's truly a blanket answer. So in this quest...

Hmm I wonder:  What’s considered to be “advice"?
  • Something like ”you need to . . .” or “I think you should . . . ”  or  “It would be best if you . . .”  is clearly advice.  And I assume the majority of coaches probably prefer not to use this approach.
  • Looking at my own coaching however I wondered about “May I make a bold request?”  or “Would you be willing to take on some homework?” or “Could I share a tool with you that I have found to be invaluable?”
  • Even with checking to be sure I'm in alignment with the client’s agenda,  these kinds of conversations can certainly be seen as providing direction. And some may even consider it subtle advice cloaked in the form of a question.
Hmm I wonder:  What about tips, tools and expertise?
  • Across every niche, whether it be life, spiritual, relationship, health, etc., one would be hard pressed to find a coach’s website in which they don’t offer some wonderful information, tips, tools, etc., in their area of expertise.
  • Do coaches not at some point(s) offer their hard-earned wisdom to their clients during a session?  What form does this or “should” this take?
  • Is this advice, sharing, teaching?  What’s acceptable?  Who decides?
Hmm I wonder:  What does the ICF have to say about it?
  • Even for the ICF credentialing purposes it’s not crystal clear:  They say that "one will not pass if they focus primarily on telling the client what to do or how to do it".  So then is it OK to do it part of the time, if that’s the way someone wants to coach?
Hmm I wonder:  Did Thomas Leonard offer any insights?
  • Interestingly, Thomas Leonard, the man considered to have originated modern coaching and founded the ICF had this to say years ago about coaches giving advice:
    "Many of the newer clients hiring coaches are hiring that coach not only for their coaching skills set but also for the coach's situational knowledge and solutions set. Traditional/purist coaching will be around for a long time, but the market is asking for coaches with solutions, not just coaches who are good at evoking or supporting. Both are important. The definition of coaching is expanding because the marketplace is demanding it."
Hmm I wonder:  How much of a role might the specific niche play in this discussion?
  • Personally I love and resonate with what I believe to be the basic premise of coaching: that there is an inherent greatness within each of us and we are the only ones who have the answers for our own lives. 
  • I liken it to the example of when Michelangelo was asked how he created his masterpiece sculpture, “David”.  He replied that he didn’t, he simply chipped away all that wasn’t David.
  • Nevertheless, when I go to a business or marketing coach, they could help me chip away from now until eternity, and I will never have the answer as to how to get better SEO or the mechanics of creating a successful landing page!
  • In the purist coach approach yes they could ask me questions to help me discover where I could go to find the answers for myself but then again I might as well go to business school.
Hmm I wonder: Then where does this informal study that I really relate to fit in? 
  • A Master Executive Coach on one of the MMC calls (unfortunately I can’t remember just now who it was) said that she had performed her own personal study over a number of years.  She found that when she gave the client advice, a very small percentage of the time it was acted upon.  But when the client came up with their own strategy, a high percentage of them acted on it and to their advantage.  

Hmm I wonder:

  • Perhaps then for each of us it all depends on our definition, the approach, the intention, the frequency, the niche, the timing, the client, our own personal coaching style and of course good old trial and error.

And after all that wondering: 

  • I wind up where I began with my original premise: that neither life nor coaches nor coaching is all black and white, there are many beautiful shades of gray. There seems to be lots of room in the industry for all different styles and approaches.  There are certainly many different needs and personalities of clients.
  • So I just say thank God for the wonder of coaching:) And to be able to choose the shade of gray that works best for me.
Seriously:  What a gift!
  • How fortunate we are at MMC to hear many of the different styles of coaching that are happening out there in the world.  
  • It has opened & broadened my perspective.  I’m learning and growing both as a coach and as a person. 
  • And as a result of hearing others coaching, especially the Masters, I’m constantly refining and redefining my coaching and who and what I want to be and represent as a coach.
Posted by: Gail Moore AT 05:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  12 Comments  |  Email