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Coaching Methodolgy Questions I don’t have the answer yet….

What value will coaching bring a client?

A coach supports an individual toward an important change that leads to a more fulfilling future and addresses the changes needed.

What will I as a coach tell my client about my background, approach and style?

I don’t know?? TBD

What will occur in each coaching session?

How will we create goals?

How will I assess the clients readiness to change, learning style and commitment to the work?

Consider the Features of Prochaska and DiClemente’s stages of change model for Readiness to change.

How will I personally respond to client resistance?

How do I build off of the clients strengths?

How are the coaching outcomes measured?

 

 

 

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Balancing consulting experience while coaching

What if I think there is value in wearing two hats during my coaching engagement? I must consider four components prior to moving down this path.

Is the information I have relevant to the coachee and their situation?  What specifically will this coachee gain from my contribution?

Clearly state I am not wearing my coach hat while I am providing specific expertise or experience.

Ensure the coachee want the information.  Clearly ask permission.

Ensure I am clear that I am offering this with no strings atttached.

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Goal-Setting

Goal-setting seems like an important part of helping a client create goals from their plans and intentions.  Similar to consulting, I imagine the best goals are specific and measurable and action oriented.  At times, it may make sense to split larger outcomes into smaller parts to help the client see progress and feel good about movement and action.  I am imagining the best time to discuss goal setting would be upfront in the contracting phase to ensure success can be defined in the relationship upfront.

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Bottom-lining

When I start thinking about the agenda for a coaching call I wonder what happens when we get derailed with a long winded background story?  I appreciate that the coachee should do most of the talking but how can I help the my client get to the bottom line and help them discover the heart of the problem?

The recommendation is to describe the use of bottom-lining early on in the coaching contract so they are not surprised the first to I ask them to get to the bottom-line.  I can remind them the story is background and in the coaching relationship, the background is secondary and there isn’t time for long stories.

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Asking Permission

I would like to respect my coachees boundaries by asking questions such as “May we work on this issue?, “Can I tell you what I see?, “Would you like some feedback on that?”  It is important to remind the coaches that they have the power in the relationship and the coach knows the limits of  their power.    This dynamic is slightly different in a consulting engagement because here the coachee takes responsibility  for managing the relationship versus the consultant in a consulting engagement.

 

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Failure

On my coaching training journey, I wonder if the “ask don’t tell” philosophy  limits a coachees ability to take action.  What if I use every technique I learn in the next 6 months but it is an uphill battle with little movement.

In consulting, I often need to look at a problem from a different vantage point when I don’t see a clear path forward.  I believe there are times when there is a need for a a brief stepping back to monitor what is happening in order to keep the coaching moving forward and remain in a co-active connection.   I also wonder if there is room to share my own experiences and opinion with the understanding that it is not “the right answer” but just another data point to consider.

But if I find myself in self-analysis and am having an emotional reaction I must find my way back to then coach and reconnect.  If this occurs I will wonder if I have had enough training to be engaging in coaching conversations.  I must remind myself that a co-created conversation is about two people in a dialogue with a common purpose.

 

 

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Myself as a coach

What if my strengths are so overpowering that my client is reluctant to share their anxieties and concerns?

What if my rough edges make it difficult to slow down and build the relationship and alliance I need with my client?

What if my aspirations and competition are so powerful that I fail to recognize that our client wants something simpler, more direct and more achievable and short term?

My coaching pact to myself and my clients includes ensuring I balance my strengths and weaknesses to promote an unbiased presence. I will need to bring my most authentic self.  I will ensure I face my limitations, blind spots, rough edges in order to strengthen my abilities and continue to learn and grow as a coach.

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Ethical Dilemmas pop up from time to time

My very first consulting project after graduating college I was working on a large team where I was the most junior consultant. There were 30 team members working in a large conference room onsite at the client’s headquarters. I was responsible for answering the phone when the client would call from one of their offices on another floor of wing of the building. Often, I would be asked to take a message or tell the client that my fellow consultant, manager, or director was not in to answer their question. My colleagues were not finished with a presentation or collecting data or whatever the client was asking to discuss and asked me to lie for them. I felt very uncomfortable lying to the client and telling them that the person wasn’t there when they were sitting next me. One time, the client decided to walk down and try to find someone else to answer their question and found the consultant sitting in the room. At the time, I didn’t think I had a choice, and I just followed their requests and lied to the client and struggled internally as I don’t believe in lying. I resolved the dilemma by telling myself I was just following their orders and if I was honest with the client my colleagues may look compromised. In the end the client did not trust me because I was the one lying on the phone to them.

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Intro: It’s nice to meet you virtually

I have been a management consultant for twenty years.  I graduated Lehigh university with a degree in industrial engineering and was hired right out of school where I experienced on the job training to act and think like a consultant.   I would summarize my role is to offer advice, opinions, recommendations and most importantly solutions to problems.  I was taught to minimize the assessment process and move quickly into recommendations because “time is money”.  After reading chapter one of the Handbook on Coaching, I believe I rely heavily on the consulting framework (table 1.1 Coaching, Consulting, Counseling, and Mentoring: Key Distinctions).  I lead from the front and am relied on as an expert who identifies barriers and blind spots and is brought in as a “cleaner” to solve difficult problems.  Consulting and coaching both require a client to trust you but the focus, role, outcomes, and relationship are very different in nature. I often find it difficult to move from consultant to mentor to coach.    Once I have assumed one role with a client, I find it difficult to take off one hat and put on another.  I would like to be able to shift into coaching and mentoring as the situation requires it.  I enjoy helping people achieve their potential and help them see their strengths.  When I worked at the Gallup Organization, part of my consulting project was to bring in strengths coaches to help leaders identify their strengths and build on them.  I see myself coaching with this lens.

I have a huge passion for both mentoring and coaching but have only performed in non-professional settings.  I spend five seasons coaching girls’ softball and two years running an elementary school science team called Destination Imagination.   I enjoyed spending six months to a year with each team and watch the players / teammates grow and develop under my guidance.  Coaching and mentoring has proved the most rewarding for me and I would like to move into operating in a professional setting.  I would like to explore adding a coaching element to my existing consulting toolkit.  I am unsure if I will remain with a consulting firm after I graduate MSLOC or take on a new role internally.Intr

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Resistance is futile

I generally take the philosophy that the Borg Collective, from Star Trek, uses to assimilate a new race in their collective which is “Resistance is futile”.  I may drag my feet on occasion from wanting to address a difficult challenge or procrastinate addressing a difficult conversation but generally I tend to face my resistance head on and push through it.  Most recently, I felt resistance when I knew I wanted to apply to MSLOC.  I postponed the application process for two years and then finally pushed through my discomfort with the unknown and applied.  Once I take the first step into the unknown, I could address my fears head on of writing a research paper and was I too old to learn and grow?  I knew I had a deep desire to attend and successfully complete the MSLOC master’s program and I wasn’t going to let fear of the unknown create the resistance and barrier to achieving my dream.   Upon reflecting on my resistance and associated behaviors reminds me to check in with myself when I am procrastinating.   I should remind myself to ask, “why I am procrastinating?” and what support do I knew to push through my discomfort because I know resistance is ultimately futile and I will continue to have desire and dreams I will want to achieve.