Dean Amory - techniques for coaching


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Dean Amory - techniques for coaching

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  3. 3. Title: Techniques for Personal Coaching and Self Coaching Compiled by: Dean Amory Publisher: Edgard Adriaens, Belgium ISBN: 978-1-4716-6888-3 © Copyright 2011, Edgard Adriaens, Belgium, - All Rights Reserved. This book has been compiled based on the contents of trainings, information found in other books and using the internet. It contains a number of articles and coaching models indicated by TM or © or containing a reference to the original author. Whenever you cite such an article or use a coaching model in a commercial situation, please credit the source or check with the IP -owner. If you are aware of a copyright ownership that I have not identified or credited, please contact me at: The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own. – Benjamin Disrael 312
  4. 4. Cover picture: Sam & Jeffrey Adriaens - Fuenzalida 313
  5. 5. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION...............................................................316 3 TECHNIQUES FOR COACHING ..............................317 3.1. ACTIVE LISTENING ...................................................317 3.2. ASKING QUESTIONS ..................................................330 3.3 HERON’S 6 CATEGORIES OF INTERVENTION....360 3.4 RESPONSIVENESS .......................................................362 3.5 GIVING FEEDBACK.....................................................364 3.6 FRAMING - REFRAMING ...........................................372 3.7 REALITY CHECK .........................................................383 3.8 SCALING TECHNIQUES.............................................385 3.9 EXTERNALISING OF PROBLEMS ...........................389 3.10 CREATING RAPPORT ...............................................393 3.11 COLLABORATION BUILDING................................402 3.12 SAYING “NO”...............................................................422 3.13 I-MESSAGES ................................................................432 3.14 ADVISING.....................................................................440 3.15 CREATIVE THINKING ..............................................449 3.16 TURNING PROBLEMS INTO POSSIBILITIES .....491 3.17 SUMMARIZE, EVALUATE AND WRAP UP...........498 3.18 ENACTING ...................................................................509 3.19 THE MIRACLE QUESTION.......................................525 3.20 SHARING INFORMATION........................................530 3.21 SELF DISCLOSURE ....................................................533 3.22 USING INTUITION......................................................542 3.23 RECOGNISE LIFE PATTERNS.................................550 3.24 BREAKING THE DRAMA TRIANGLE....................604 3.25 VOICE DIALOGUE .....................................................611 3.26 CONFRONTATION.....................................................615 3.27 PROVOCATION...........................................................632 314
  6. 6. 3.28 MINDFULNESS............................................................638 3.29 HOMEWORK ...............................................................647 3.30 HUMOR .........................................................................648 3.31 RESPECT.......................................................................651 3.32 AFFIRM, COMPLIMENT, CELEBRATE ................655 3.33 PAYING ATTENTION ................................................661 3.34 TRUST............................................................................664 3.35 ALLOWING TIME AND SPACE ...............................666 3.36 COPING.........................................................................678 3.37 DIAGNOSING...............................................................688 3.38 THE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN ..............697 3.39 TRACKING...................................................................711 3.40 JOINING .......................................................................722 3.41 PARADOXICAL INTERVENTION...........................726 3.42 EMPTY CHAIR TECHNIQUE ...................................728 3.43 THE HUNGER ILLUSION..........................................730 3.44 VALIDATE, INTENSIFY, EMPHASIZE...................733 3.45 CHALLENGE EXISTING PATTERNS.....................747 3.46 SOLUTIONS AND SUCCESSES TO DATE..............751 3.47 USING SUGGESTIVE COMMUNICATION............763 3.48 THE POWER OF “YES”..............................................784 3.49 VISUALIZATION.........................................................786 3.50 BORROWED GENIUS.................................................839 3.51 IMMEDIACY ................................................................843 3.52 CHALLENGING THE COACHEE ............................845 3.53 MODELLING................................................................850 3.54 PROBLEM ANALYSIS................................................858 3.55 POSITIVITY ................................................................864 3.56 HEAD ON COLLISION ...............................................867 3.57 TRANSFERENCE INTERPRETATION ..................870 3.58 PRIMAL THERAPY ....................................................873 3.59 FOCUSING....................................................................875 315
  7. 7. Techniques for Personal Coaching and Self Coaching INTRODUCTION This is the second in a series of three books about Personal coaching. Part 1, “Personal Coaching” is about what Personal Coaching is and offers a surview of the most popular models for Personal Coaching (or “Life Coaching”) and Self Coaching. Part 2, “Techniques for Personal Coaching and Self Coaching” introduces you to the most powerful coaching techniques in use and describes the most successful questions and strategies for coaching. Part 3, “Essential Knowledge for Personal Coaches”, is a practical standard reference work highlighting the knowledge and skills that are indispensable for anybody who is considering life coaching as a career or as a serious self coaching process, Dean Amory's Complete Life Coaching and Personal Coaching Course is your best guide for coaching your coachees and yourself towards maximizing your life potential and achieving a happier and more fulfilled life. Personal Coaching is an invaluable training manual for anybody who takes life coaching seriously. 316
  8. 8. 3.1 ACTIVE LISTENING Listening is an art. A lot of people stop talking and in their mind they're already trying to think of what they're going to say next. That is not really listening. If you are (pre)occupied with your own thoughts, then there is no room for the coachee anymore. Not really. And even if you are listening and not busy with your own thoughts on the matter, listening is so much more than just hearing the words and being able to repeat them. To get the essence of what's being said -the words behind the words, is just as important, if not more so. While the coachee is telling his story, try to also listen for things like a slip of the tongue, jokes, omissions, recurring themes, metaphors and contradictions. They can speak volumes. Apart from the intonations you can pick out the different emotions in the coachee's voice. Body language and other signals can strengthen or weaken the story. Contradictions are called incongruence and the coach can either keep these in mind or ask about them. Make sure you do this carefully, so the coachee won't feel caught out. In active listening, the coach has an open and alert attitude, he's completely there for the coachee and is peeling his ears, so to speak. To listen empathically means the coach shows a lot of understanding for what the coachee is experiencing and in a way he manages to convey this warm understanding to the coachee, who can appreciate it. Before asking questions, we must learn to listen attentively and effectively. Active listening includes a number of 317
  9. 9. techniques: encouraging, paraphrasing, reflecting feelings, and summarizing. But also other techniques are important. Body language Body language is important. Excessive eye-contact may be felt as threatening. Not maintaining enough eye-contact on the other hand might be interpreted as a lack of interest (e.g. when listener is repeatedly looking at their watch or documents on their desk!), or as an indication that the listener is hiding information or is not sufficiently open or honest. Body language includes (affirmative) head nodding and the use of silence, which are powerful tools in any conversation. Gerard Egan describes the correct position for listening as follows : SOLER S : Sit squarely, face coachee O: keep an Open posture L: Lean forward when appropriate E: maintain regular Eye contact (don’t stare) R: Relaxed body language Show coachees that you are interested in the situations, experiences and feelings that they are communicating and that you care not only about what they are saying, but also about how this affects them. Encouraging Humming, and short expressions like “Yes”, ”I see" … are used to confirm coachee that you are listening to him keenly. These expressions also help them to understand which part of their message is being appreciated and to elaborate on that particular topic. 318
  10. 10. Asking questions is another way of showing your interest and making coachees feel understood, valued, respected and listened to. In its purest form, life coaching is a technique that uses powerful questions to facilitate you in finding your own answers. (Life-coaching for dummies – Jeni Mumford) Clarifying and reflective questions often are a very good idea: Examples of clarifying questions: - Tell me more about … - Go on … - I am interested to hear more about … - What did you do then? - You say …, why is this so ? - Is this always the case? Clarifying: 1. Restate what you heard the trainee say 2. Listen for confirmation that what you are saying is correct 3. Encourage trainees to tell you if you are right or wrong Examples of reflective questions: - How was this different from …? - What would it look like if …? - What would happen if …? - What do you wish …? - What did you want him to do instead? - How would this impact / change … ? Often enough, it is also very useful to repeat in some way what they have said. This forces coachees to concentrate on what you are saying, thus helping them to take some distance from their own story and obtain an improved general view of the whole 319
  11. 11. situation. By repeating coachees’ messages, you also stimulate their thought process, without introducing new subjects. Different options to repeat a message are available: 1. Parroting : literally echo their exact words. Often, only the last words are repeated (mirror-questions) in an invitation to amplify on them. The use of parroting should however be limited, since hearing your own words echoed repeatedly soon becomes very annoying. 2. Repeating Content: This technique goes beyond parroting: The coachee’s exact words are repeated, inviting them to elaborate on their story or to continue it. 3. Repeating Conflict: Repeat both sides of a conflict situation, opposing pros and cons stimulate coachee to make a considered choice. 4. Paraphrasing or Reflecting Meaning: Repeating coachee’s message in your own words, that is: reflecting the facts or ideas, but not the emotions and without getting emotionally involved, may open new perspectives. Often an element of acknowledgement or positive feedback will be part of the paraphrasing, thus motivating the coachee to continue sharing. Simultaneously, paraphrasing is - either a request for verification of your perceptions (feedback) - or a confirmation that you have correctly understood the message. 320
  12. 12. Good openings for paraphrasing are: - So you think, …. - You don’t believe that … - You don’t understand why … - So, what you are saying is … - Sounds to me like you …. - The way you see things … - To you, this means … - So, you are saying that … - I guess it is your opinion that … - If I understand correctly … - You’ve always thought …, but now you found out that … Some manuals use the term “reflecting” to indicate reflection of meaning (thoughts) only and use “paraphrasing” for referring to reflecting thoughts AND emotions 5. Reflecting - or Repeating Feelings - is very similar to paraphrasing, but instead of reflecting the meaning, the coach now reflects the emotions that are the basis of coachee’s words. Reflecting feelings resorts a much stronger effect, because coachee will experience that the coach is not only understanding him, but is also emphatizing with his feelings. Reflecting feelings is the basis of emphatic listening and creates rapport. Naming the feeling that you recognize in their story, helps coachees to define and explore their own feelings and become more aware of their seriousness. Reflecting is very useful also when you feel coachees are rattling information without feeling involved. 321
  13. 13. Good introductions for reflecting are: - You feel doubly hurt, because … - The situation is worrying you, … - You are disappointed, … - You feel it’s a shame, … - You are feeling sad, … - You were angry, because … - You don’t dare to, … - You are afraid, … - You must be very fond of him. - You feel you have failed … - You are worried that you … - You had the strong feeling that … - Yet, I notice some doubt in your voice - You don’t sound very convinced though - And yet, you sound sad. Maybe you can tell me what happened? - I sense you are still angry, troubled, mixed up, confused … maybe that’s why … 6. Clarifying brings unclear or vague subjects into sharper focus. It is useful to confirm what was said, to get supplementary information, to present fresh points of view or add details, or to shed light on new elements. Examples: - Let me see if I’ve got it all … - Let me try to state what I think you said … 7. Summative Reflection involves summarizing the message in order to provide a structured, complete and comprehensive feedback. Aside from organizing and integrating the major aspects of the dialogue, summarizing also establishes a basis for further 322
  14. 14. discussion and offers a sense of progress in the conversation. It is required to also plan regular summaries and evaluations during which you - repeat the essence of what has been said or done - provide a clear image of the situation - locate where coachee is with respect to the total journey Logical moments for summarizing and evaluating are: - At the start and end of each session - At transiting to a new phase - At any moment that you feel a summary might be helpful to keep track of the situation or to stimulate the coachee. Alternatively, it is a good idea to ask the coachees every now and then to summarize and evaluate things themselves. This will help you to take notice of - Their point of view - Which elements have stuck - What is most important to them now - What they are “forgetting” - The most important elements in a summary are: - Accurate summary of core material - Clarity and structure - Reflection of content - Reflection of feelings - Deeper empathy Possible opening lines for summarizing: A. X, let’s see how far you got until now: - You came to me X weeks ago, because … and because …. - We determined that …, because …. 323
  15. 15. - Is there something you would like to add at this point? B. So, to summarize, you say that …, is that correct? C. At that moment, you set yourself the target of …. Because …. - To this end, we composed an action plan - Now, the question is when to start with the execution of this plan. D. Summarizing your story, you reported that … , but …, and … - Can you agree with this presentation? E. This seems a good moment to summarize what we have done during this session. - Is there something you want to add? - How did you experience the conversation? - By the next session, I would like you - to consider / go through today’s points again - to start the actions we agreed upon - Which would allow us to proceed next time with …. F. Is there anything you want to add? Examples: I don't understand why my wife is getting worked up, I for instance never get mad!! Still I hear a bit of anger in your voice. Your wife might perceive this as you being angry. If you think it helps, I'm quite willing to do it, you know? You don't sound convinced, what might be holding you back? 324
  16. 16. I actually wanted to stop coming here as I think I'm doing much better now. I'm glad you're feeling a lot better and of course you're free to stop whenever you want. However I've noticed there are still some things that seem to trouble you... I haven't touched a drink in weeks, it's clear I'm not an alcoholic... (hiccup) Being an alcoholic might be too strong a word, but something tells me you still do have a drink regularly. I don't know what's wrong with me or where to start. We can take our time. You sound very sad, maybe you could tell me what has happened? 8. Empathy and deeper empathy In coaching you want to build up a trusting relationship with your coachee in a short timespan. The coachee has often heard from people around him things like 'it's nothing to worry about', 'it will be all right', 'don't get worked up, you only make it worse' and more well intended things that unintentionally often made him shut up. With you he is allowed, or rather he should open up and get rid of this threshold. So you want to let him know he's at the right address with his story, his emotions and how he experiences things. By showing him empathy, you welcome his inner experiences and invite him to explore his own feelings. Empathy is not a technique by itself, it is often part of paraphrasing or reflecting. You not only express empathy in the words you use, but also in your modulation, intonation and by showing the right feelings. 325
  17. 17. Understanding, empathy and deep empathy are all in line and in a way connected. Understanding is more a rational thing and involves mainly intelligence. Empathy involves feelings, including your own feelings as a human being and as coach. Deep empathy even goes one step further. It goes right into the inner world of experiencing of the coachee for a short while. In other words, with deep empathy you can virtually feel what the coachee must be experiencing. You express the emotions you feel the coachee has. This can be overdone, not every coachee expects a strong emotional reaction from his coach. So use and express deep empathy appropriately and judiciously. In these exercises successive understanding, empathy and deeper empathy are shown. Mother is connected to all these tubes and can hardly say a thing anymore. She's also drugged up with medicines. (Understanding) That must be an awful situation. (Empathy) I can imagine it must be very emotional to see your mother lying there so helplessly. (Deep empathy) I can tell you're suffering, you would so much like for her to get well but there's nothing you can do about it and you feel powerless. Near my house kids hang out; it's very noisy, they fight regularly, and there's trash everywhere. (Understanding) It must be annoying; all that noise, aggression and mess. (Empathy) 326
  18. 18. It must be threatening; so close to your home, and that day in day out. (Deep empathy) Looks like it really troubles you. You were looking forward to living in a nice neighbourhood with your children and now it turns out to be just the opposite. I got fired last week, out of the blue. (Understanding) Gosh, that must have been quite a shock. (Empathy) That's terrible, and you thought you would get that promotion. (Deep Empathy) Of course you feel desperate and betrayed. I would really like to try and help you to get over it. “Empathy” is the capacity to recognize (and, to some extent,share) feelings expressed by others and to understand their circumstances, point of view and thoughts. Roadblocks to empathy There are a number of common ‘roadblocks’ that can prevent empathy (Jarvis et al., 1995). These include: - ordering or commanding - warning or threatening - arguing or persuading - moralising - ridiculing or labelling - giving advice or providing solutions It is also important to avoid: 327
  19. 19. - insincerity - repetition - clichés - using jargon - collusion “Deeper empathy” is the ability to use empathy to help others understand themselves, their world, personal situation, thoughts and feelings better and in another perspective. Often the coach will 1. Use questions like “Could it be …”, “Perhaps you might see …”, “I feel you may think now …” , “you might ask yourself…”, “Perhaps you feel …”, “it may be that …”, “it seems as if you are feeling …” 2. Followed by a reflection of information implied by cochee’s message, but not put into words by them. This might include naming of themes, patterns, isolated elements or inconsistencies of thoughts or feelings. 3. and by the suggestion of alternative viewpoints or perspectives Example (E = empathy / E+ = deeper empathy) Statement coachee: “I cannot bear to see her laying there like that.” E: I can imagine it must be very emotional to see her laying there so helplessly. E+: I can tell you are suffering, you would so much like her to get well but there is nothing you can do about it and you feel powerless. 328
  20. 20. 9. Evaluation In a coaching conversation, you will not want to stop at listening. Towards the end of the conversation, you will want the coachee to take a next step, start changing things, commit to action. Examples: - So, where does this leave us? - What will you do next? - How will this help you to proceed towards your goal? - What will be your first step now? 329
  21. 21. 3.2 ASKING QUESTIONS Asking questions is how we find things out. An excellent way to do this is “the FRRO technique”. “FRRO” stands for: 1. FRAME Put aside your own reactions, opinions and feelings and concentrate on getting as much useful and objective information as possible. Discover the story behind the story, then pull the elements that are useful for reaching the coachee’s goal to foreground 2. REPEAT See the chapter on repeating the coachee’s message. Show you understand, show you care. 3. REALITY Checking the coachee’s story, expectations and beliefs helps to build realistic expectations. 4. OPEN QUESTIONS Start with open questions and ask factual questions first, before proceeding to enquiring about emotions. The best way to start asking, is by asking open questions Open questions generally do not start with a verb, but start with a pronoun: who, what, why, when, where, how, how many, which, … 330
  22. 22. The advantage of using open questions is that they will evoke a more detailed response than other types of questions. They are therefore the obvious questions to ask when you want to collect information, stimulate the coachee to talk or stimulate them to put their feelings or thoughts into words. Exploring questions are very useful during the coaching process:  For putting the problem in the right context and perspective:  Which other feelings play a part?  For scanning and identifying possible goals  For exploring internal and exterior resources  For examining the various paths that might be useful to achieve the goal Examples: Exploring exact meaning of statement. E.g.: Coachee says: “I am feeling guilty” Some possible exploring questions: - Why are you feeling guilty? - What does feeling guilty exactly means for you, Ian? - How do you cope with that situation / feeling? - How does this make you feel exactly? - What do you do about these feelings, how do you express them? 331
  23. 23. Exploring possible goals E.g.: Coachee says: “I would like to feel really o.k.” Some possible exploring questions: - That’s a great goal, Ian. What would it take to make you feel really o.k.? - How would you know that you are feeling really o.k.? - What could make you feel really o.k.? - On a scale from 1 – 10, with 10 being really o.k., where would you locate yourself today? Discovering internal and exterior resources. E.g. Coachee says : “I’m a hopeless case” - You don’t seem to give yourself much courage. Ever heard of internal resources? “Ah, my sources have been dry for a long time now” - Hmm, imagine your sources all of a sudden becoming active again, what difference would that make? “I would be nice, be courageous, …” Probing questions and Clarifying questions Once we have obtained the general information, we switch to the more directive types of questions: probing or clarifying questions, which will yield us the missing data. They are also used to verify whether we understood correctly the information we received from the coachee. Most of these questions will be “Closed questions”. These questions often start with a verb. 332
  24. 24. The risks inherent to this kind of questions are: - they often yield very short questions that do not contain supplementary information (yes, no …) - there is always the chance of influencing the coachee’s answer, especially when our question is of a suggestive nature (example: “you wouldn’t know by any chance whether …”, “you wouldn’t want to …” or: “do you think A, or would you rather say B …” Generally, people tend to use too many closed questions and not enough open questions, with the likely outcome of not receiving all the useful information that they might get through the use of open questions. Instead of learning about the coachee’s story, they might end up with a biased story that is limited in content and influenced by their own assumptions and prejudices. A special kind of probing question is the mirror-question in which all, but mostly only the last part of a sentence is repeated: “I have tried everything!” - “Everything?” “It was not a nice chat” - “Not a nice chat?” THE QUESTION TUNNEL 1. Open: e.g. “What does … mean to you?” 2. Probing: e.g. “Which of these objectives are most important to you and why?” 3. Clarifying: e.g. “So, what you really want is …?” 4. Closed e.g. “What will be your first step?” 333
  25. 25. Open questions: Obvious line to take for collecting information, for stimulating coachee to talk, for helping coachee describe a situation or put a feeling into words, or for making them reflect on a specific subject. Open questions often start with: who – what – where – why – when – where to – where from - what for – which - how – how many - …. They rarely start with a verb. The use of “why” has to be carefully considered, since this kind of questions easily lead to coachees feeling that they have to justify themselves and then often leads to a defensive attitude. In coaching it is recommended to start asking about an experience or situation and then move to asking about connected emortions. Examples: Phase 1: exploration of situation: “What exactly happened?” “What was the discussion about?” “When did you notice things were going the wrong way?” Phase 2: exploration of emotions: “Who was having most problems with the situation?” “How were you feeling at that point?” “What did it mean to you that …?” “What is your biggest fear?” “What do you think of it now?” “What are you expecting from him?” 334
  26. 26. Reflective questions: Special probing or clarifying questions that challenge thinking: “What will make you most comfortable with this action / decision / situation?” “What stops you from taking action?” “What would achieving this goal mean to you?” “What tells you that this is what you will achieve by….” “What’s great about that option?” Pre-supposing questions: “What would you do next if you knew you couldn’t fail?” “If you could have …, what would it look (be, feel) like?” “If it were possible to combine the security of your current job and the freedom of self-employment, how would you be working now?” Boomerang Question Redirect a question back to the learner Example: “That’s a good question. What do you think ought to be done in that situation?” When you don’t know the answer … “What would you do if you knew the answer?” “What would the answer be if you did know it?” 335
  27. 27. Pitfalls when asking questions 1. Being subjective : - Asking suggestive questions - Subjective interpretation of the answers received 2. Lack of delineation: - Asking vague, unclear, ambiguous, confusing questions - Unclear definition of the subject - Ramble from one subject to another - Asking several questions simultaneously - Lack of “fine tuning” of the conversation 3. Advising, judging, criticizing questions - Such questions create resistance and tend to block communication. - Do not try to prove you are right, do not enter into discussion, do not try to convince: “a man convinced against his will, remains of the same opinion still!” 4. One way communication : - Talking too much - Not listening to coachee’s answers - Not acknowledging coachee’s answers - Not responding to coachee’s questions and remarks - Bringing up your solutions instead of helping coachee to find his. 336
  28. 28. Bloom’s taxonomy Difficult questions stimulate independent thinking and boost the learning or growth process. Bloom distinguishes 6 classes of questions, with an increasing degree of difficulty: 1. Knowledge 2. Perception 3. Application 4. Analysis 5. Synthesis 6. Evaluation 1. Knowledge-questions: ask for facts - Who, what, where, when, which …. - Asking for definitions, lists, descriptions, factual or causal links, events, dates, … 2. Perception-questions: require thinking - Asking for a choice, selection, summary e.g.: Which elements influence …? - Asking for an explanation e.g.: How did this influence you? - Asking to convey the meaning of contents e.g.: Can you explain in your words? - Asking to make a sketch or drawing e.g.: Can you draw up a floor plan? - Asking for a prediction or forecast e.g.: How will A influence B? - Asking for examples e.g.: Name a case where this is valid - Asking for the big scope or great lines of an evolution or event - Asking for points of resemblance and of difference 337
  29. 29. 3. Application-questions: Asking to use knowledge in new situations - Asking to develop a plan - Asking to propose solutions - Asking to prove, demonstrate, justify, show how, … - Asking: “How would you … in this specific context or case?” - Asking to test abstract definitions by practical experience - Asking to solve a (mathematical, logic …) problem 4. Asking for an analysis: To force coachee to break up the subject into its constituent parts and order or compare the various parts. - What is the risk of …? - Describe pattern: which causes led to…? - Ask for proof for conclusions - Investigate, explore, … - Compare 5. Synthesis-questions: Asking to create a new entity by joining separate parts - Asking to design something, e.g. “design the ideal town” - Asking to create a poem, a stage play … - Asking to compose a survey, draw up a plan, compile a brochure, … - Asking to write an article - Asking to develop a theme, a point of view, … - Asking to predict, forecast, extrapolate, … - Asking to combine knowledge originated from different fields 338
  30. 30. 6. Evaluation-questions: Asking for a substantiated point of view and conclusions - Asking for substantiated conclusions - Asking for detailed arguments - Asking to indicate value: “who is the best …?” - Asking for a detailed critic: “What are the weak points?” - Asking to choose and justify the choice made - Asking for a substantiated judgment or verdict. Tips for asking questions Replace often pointless “why” questions about the past by “how” questions about the future. “Why” questions my leave the impression that one is asked to justify his actions and thus will easier lead to a defensive position. Instead of asking :”Why did you take this approach?”, ask: “How can we move on from here?” --------- Avoid using “why”, use “how”: If you need to know why something happened, avoid the “you” approach Instead of: “Why have you done this?”, ask: “How did this happen?” ---------- Instead of asking “What did you think about …?”, ask : “How do you feel about …?” or ask: “Did / Do you like …?” ----------- Pay attention to what is scrambled, suppressed or transformed: Continue to ask questions until you feel you dispose of all the necessary information. 339
  31. 31. Be alert for deletions (omission of referential index, nominalizations, omission of subject, comparative deletions, …), subjective remarks, assumptions, general truths, distortions, wordings which contain modal verbs (must, mustn’t, can, can’t, shouldn’t, …), generalizations (all, every, never, always, almost never, …) Examples : - I cannot ask her now : ask : why not, what is stopping you? … - I have enough of this : what exactly is bothering you? ------------- Challenge ineffective convictions. If you feel that the coachee believes: - that he is worthless unless he’s outstandingly competent - that he is special or doomed: either good or bad - that he must prove himself, must have everything he wants - that he must be immortal; must be loved, must have everything he wants - that he must be immortal, must be loved and cared for - that he must be made happy by others, must be treated in a special way Then ask: - Is their any evidence for this belief? - What is the worst that can happen if he gives up his belief? - What is the best that can happen if he gives up his belief? - Why should this be so? 340
  32. 32. If you really do not know what to answer, ask : “Why do you say that?” – “Why do you want to know?” --------------- Whatever you ask, add “because”: Explaining why you want something increases compliance with up to 50% … even if you add an “empty reason”. Example: “May I use the Xerox, because I have to make some copies?” 341
  33. 33. Questions for coaching The purpose of these questions is to bring forth answers from your (or your friend's, if you are coaching a friend) own store of values, experiences and abilities. They will also help you to turn your situation on its head and give you a new perspective. The Miracle question Suppose our meeting is over, you go home, do whatever you planned to do for the rest of the day. And then, some time in the evening, you get tired and go to sleep. And in the middle of the night, when you are fast asleep, a miracle happens and all the problems that brought you here today are solved just like that. But since the miracle happened over night nobody is telling you that the miracle happened. When you wake up the next morning, how are you going to start discovering that the miracle happened? ... Ask, what else are you going to notice? What else? In a specific situation, the practitioner may ask, If you woke up tomorrow, and a miracle happened so that you no longer easily lost your temper, what would you see differently? What would the first signs be that the miracle occurred? A child might respond by saying: I would not get upset when somebody calls me names. 342
  34. 34. The coach wants the coachee to develop positive goals, or what they will do, rather than what they will not do--to better ensure success. So, the coach may ask the coachee, What will you be doing instead when someone calls you names? A couple of supplementary questions you can ask: 1. Who else would notice that this miracle has happened? What would tell them? This question encourages you to step outside of yourself and think about what would be different in your observable behaviour if the problem were solved. Once you're aware of this, it's a very short step to beginning to act differently. 2. Does anyone else have to change in order for this miracle to happen? Out of dozens of coachees I've asked this question, everyone has said 'no'. Of course, having just described your answer to the miracle question makes it a lot easier to realise that you are able to make the changes you need in your life. 343
  35. 35. BasicBasic QuestionsQuestions forfor CoachingCoaching Basic questions  How are you doing right now … on a scale of 1 to 10?  Describe what a ten-point-level would look like.  If you were to go up by two points on the scale – how would things be different?  Which obstacles keep you from getting there today?  If you were to wake up one morning and those obstacles were no longer there, what would you think and do?  What is it that keeps your situation from being worse? Identifying goals  If you had already achieved what you wanted, what would it be like?  When do you want that to happen?  Is this really your own goal or is it someone else's? Motivational questions  What is it you will gain if you reach your goal?  What will you gain by not reaching your goal?  How would it feel to succeed?  How would it feel if you were not to reach your goal? Would it even be worth trying? Experience questions  Earlier in your life, have you been in a situation similar to the one you are in now? How did you solve it that time?  If somebody else with your experience had been in your shoes, what would you have told him or her? 344
  36. 36. Identifying obstacles  If some person is involved – who is the most negative? For what reason?  What other circumstances effect you with regard to this matter? If necessary, would you be willing to have a look at these circumstances?  How determined are you to try to reach your goal? Transformation  What would be a step in the right direction?  What other possibilities do you have?  What further options are open to you?  What sort of things are there that could be done if you did not have to do them?  What more can be done?  What can you do to get yourself beyond these obstacles?  What do you first need to do/find out in order to move forward?  Who or what can help you to get what you want? Perspective questions  If you had an unlimited amount of time and money, what would you do?  If somebody else had the same problems or issues that you have, what kind of advice would you give him/her?  If your best friend were in your situation, what kind of advice would you give him/her?  If your child found himself in the same situation, then what would you advise? 345
  37. 37.  If someone were sitting up on the moon and looking down on your situation, what do you think he or she would say you should do?  What would a total novice in the field do in the same situation?  What would someone with a strong sense of self do?  What would a man or woman of enormous wisdom think? Problem-solving questions  What is it that really works? Can you somehow reinforce that?  What has worked before? Can you try it again? Intuition questions  What does your gut-feeling tell you? What does your intuition tell you?  Answer within five seconds – what would you do if you knew how you should behave? Confronting your fears  What are you most afraid of?  What are you least afraid of?  What is the best thing that can happen if you make a move, even if you are scared?  What is the worst that can happen?  If you were completely without fear, what would you do?  When others are frightened, what do you tell them?  Has it ever happened that you worried about something, even after it turned out be alright in the end? Can you draw any parallels to your current situation? 346
  38. 38.  What do you expect if you do nothing – how will you look at that decision when you are eighty years old?  If you let your fears control you, does it help? 1010 PersonalPersonal GrowthGrowth QuestionsQuestions toto AskAsk YourselfYourself Question # 10: How am I spending my time? We all have 24 hours each day. We cannot manage ‘time’, yet we can choose how we manage ourselves with the time we have. Time is your most valuable resource. You only have a limited supply. What is your present relationship with time? Does it give you the satisfaction and fulfillment you seek? Do you feel there are never enough hours in the day to achieve what you want? Do you sometimes feel that others are managing your time? How you choose to spend your time is how you spend your life. The way you spend your time tells you much about your priorities and what you value in life. Do you know what your core values and priorities are? Have you decided what the top ten things are that you want to spend your time on this year? If you want to make good use of your time, you've got to know what's most important and then give it all you've got. (Lee Iacocca) Take some time to reflect on the larger areas in your life, such as your work/career, health, relationships, finances, personal growth, fun and recreation. How can you manage yourself more effectively allowing you to spend more time in those areas that are most important in 347
  39. 39. your life? What choices will you make? What will you say 'no' to in order to gain more balance and experience more fulfillment in life? If you choose to live a more balanced life, you must redefine your relationship with time, to shift the emphasis from quantity to quality, from frustration to fulfillment, from lack to abundance, from pressure to peace. Managing your time is a choice! Question #9: What Would I Do If I Knew I Couldn’t Fail? What if failure was not an option? The fear of failure holds us back more than anything else in all our pursuits in life. Many people don’t even set goals because they are often so afraid of failing that they do not even try. How many opportunities have you missed in the past because you lacked the courage to take a chance, to play full out, all because you were afraid you might fail? How much more pain and lost opportunities are you willing to endure by continuing to allow fear and procrastination to rule your life? Failure is a concept that only exists in your ego’s mind. If your ego would have a favorite slogan, it would probably be “Playing It Safe.” Your ego operates in the emotional comfort zone of your mind and will do anything in its power to keep you there. It is that little voice in the back of your head giving you all the reasons why you shouldn’t do this or try that … The only way to create results in your life is by taking action. Realize that, succeed or fail, you will produce results from which you will learn. Don’t be afraid of failure; be afraid of not taking action! 348
  40. 40. Question #8: Who Am I becoming? How satisfied are you with the person you are becoming? What kind of person do you see yourself becoming ? Do you see someone who is becoming more stressed out or tired with an unsatisfying job or an unbalanced work/home life, or do you see someone who is enjoying a happy and fulfilling lifestyle? How do you feel about your future self? If you want to have more and experience more in life, you have to become more. What are some of the personal qualities you would like to further develop this year? Perhaps you would like to become more skillful or competent. More honest, sincere, genuine or congruent. More compassionate, accepting, forgiving or grateful. More creative or expressive. More courageous. More generous, loving or happy. More responsible. No matter how you feel about yourself right now, you can make a decision to become more of who you really are. The power to choose lies within your mind and how you think about yourself. You will become what you think about, most of the time. Your thinking process determines how you feel, the choices you make and the results you create. If you seek to attract new experiences in your life or you want to make certain changes, you need to begin the process in your mind. Focus on continuous personal development; with books, CD’s, seminars, personal coaching, studying, listening, practicing, and nourishing your mind. Become the mental architect of your own personal transformation! 349
  41. 41. Change your mind and change your life! Question #7: What Am I Tolerating? What are some of the things you have been putting up with in your life? What have you been tolerating at work, at home or in your social environment in the past year? What are the things you wish would resolve themselves somehow? Sometimes tolerations show up as minor inconveniences such as a messy desk, a squeaking door or a friend who always shows up late for appointments. Other tolerations are more serious, such as mental or physical abuse or a controlling or disrespectful boss. Sometimes it is easier to ignore your 'tolerations' rather than to take the necessary action to clean them up. Allowing 'tolerations' to hang around in your life will drain your energy, try your patience and show up under the form of stress and anxiety. They can chip away at your self-esteem, confidence and enthusiasm. Here are a few life coaching tips to help with the process:  Make a list of 10 things that you are putting up with. Ask yourself what each is costing you in terms of energy, confidence and enthusiasm?  Resolve to take action. The decision to act on 'tolerations' is very liberating and will improve the quality of your life.  Set target dates and make time in your schedule to overcome your 'tolerations'.  Seek the support from friends, family or a personal coach to keep you focused and stay on track. Living a life you want not only means choosing the things you want, but also eliminating the things that are hanging around in your life that you no longer want. 350
  42. 42. Now is the perfect time to do some personal housecleaning, and remove some of the clutter around your house, at work or in your relationships. When you resolve to stop putting up, you will find a renewed sense of freedom and balance in your life. Question # 6: Where Do I Focus My Attention? Your life becomes what you focus on. Your thought patterns create the texture of your everyday life. You are always focusing on something. The experiences you create in this very moment, and the next, are based on where your focus lies. What you see depends on what you look for. What you hear depends on what you listen for and what you feel depends on the experiences you seek. Your expectations, based on what you focus on, blossom into self-fulfilling prophecies. The results you create are a result of your focus. If you're not getting the results you are looking for, it is time to re- examine what you focus on. If you keep focusing on the same things and keep doing what you’ve always done, sure enough, you’ll keep getting the same results. Your mind cannot tell the difference between something you think about or focus on that you do want, and the stuff you think about that you don’t want. Your mind is a very effective goal seeking mechanism and seeks to create precisely what you focus on. The key is to direct your focus on the goals and experiences that you do want in your life. Think of your focus as a sticky boomerang. What you focus on comes back to you, with more strength that it has gathered along the way. If you send out anger, fear, negativity or jealousy, you will invite the same thoughts manifold. 351
  43. 43. What you focus on expands. Focus on what is going well in your life right now and what is good for you moving forward. Focus on your innate talents and capabilities. Focus on what you believe is possible and you will see opportunities rather than constraints. Question #5: How Am I Using My Talents? When you talk with people who have achieved a high level of success in their lives, you’ll find that they have found ways to incorporate their passions and talents into their daily activities. They also experience more fulfillment and balance because they intentionally played to their talents and strengths by developing the know-how and experience through continued focus and practice. Your talents influence how you think and the way you respond to the situations in your life. Once you fully understand and acknowledge your natural abilities, you will develop a higher self awareness, which will lead to increased self confidence, a healthier self esteem, more success and personal satisfaction. Talents by themselves are not that special, it is what you decide to do with them that make them special. All too often we deny our own talents, because to acknowledge them would mean we have to use them. Why is it sometimes difficult to identify our own talents? First, it’s a question we don’t really ask ourselves. Second, our talents feel so natural to us that we tend to take them for granted. Third, we live in a culture where we tend to focus on improving our weaknesses rather than developing our talents into strengths. Do you know what your talents are? How do you go about discovering some of your talents or natural abilities? 352
  44. 44. Answer the following questions and start to identify some of the common themes within your answers.  What are some activities or special interests you enjoyed growing up? What did you enjoy most about those moments and why?  What are some of the skills or abilities you developed over the years? What skills were easy for you to learn or develop?  What are some of your favorite activities or projects that give you the most satisfaction? At home? At work? What are some activities that whenever you’re doing them, everything just flows because it just feels right. It comes natural to you and you tend to lose track of time. What are some activities that you genuinely look forward to doing again?  What would you enjoy doing even when you’re not getting paid for it?  What do other people regularly ask you to do?  What are some of the qualities that other people think you have? Once you get a better understanding of your dominant innate talents and abilities, start looking for ways to incorporate them into your daily life. None of us have been dealt the perfect hand, but it is your responsibility and greatest joy to become the best you can with the cards you have been dealt. Question #4: Who Do I spend My Time With? The people you spend most of your time with have a strong influence on you. When you are surrounded by negative or angry people, you will absorb some of their negativity or anger. 353
  45. 45. When you spend time with people who inspire you, support you and believe in you, their positive energy will boost your motivation, self-confidence and inner strength. Do not underestimate the power of influence of the people you surround yourself with. Make a mental note of the people in your personal and professional life with whom you most often associate and think of how they are influencing you, both positively and negatively. Perhaps you've heard the story of the little bird. He had his wing over his eye and he was crying. The owl said to the bird, You are crying. Yes, said the little bird, and he pulled his wing away from his eye. Oh, I see, said the owl. You're crying because the big bird pecked out your eye. And the little bird said, No, I'm not crying because the big bird pecked out my eye. I'm crying because I let him. I believe that the quality of your life is greatly influenced by the quality of your associations and relationships. Be cautious of the people you allow yourself to associate with in your personal life and business. Choose to surround yourself with people who will move you forward on your journey and let go of the negative influences that impede your progress. Question # 3: How Do I Honor My Core Values? Your core values express the essence of who you are. Although you may share similar values with others, you have a unique set of values. Many of the important decisions that you make, and the actions you take, are based on the values that you hold. Your values, together with the beliefs that support them, are an energetic driving force and provide meaning and direction in your life. 354
  46. 46. If you commit time and energy to something that violates or neglects one of your core values, you will most likely feel resentful and frustrated. If your values are not respected at your job or in your relationships, you will feel that something is missing. While it is enormously helpful to know your core values, it is not always easy to identify them. Often these things are so much a part of who you are, that they become invisible to you. Take a moment and write down the unique qualities that define you? What are the qualities that are at the core of who you are? Create a list for yourself by thinking about the ideas and questions below. Don’t worry about getting it right and capturing all of your values. Your list will be a work in progress. Also, your values don’t have to be a single word; they could be a string of words or sentences or themes. Find the words that work best for you. Think about the following questions:  What is important to you?  What do you really care about?  What do you really want in your life?  When do you feel happiest?  Select a time from your life when you felt particular fulfilled. There may have been challenges,but you were still on a roll. It may have been a few minutes, or hours or days. What was important about that experience? What values were you honoring? 355
  47. 47.  What do you react negatively to? What makes you angry or frustrated?  What value is being violated? What kinds of situations cause you to feel incongruent? When are you not being true to yourself? For each of us, there are usually values that are so much a part of us that we don’t even think to put them on a list. These are often our most dearly held values. A teacher might fail to include learning; an artist might forget to write down creativity, a business owner might overlook financial success. Question # 2: What Do I want? The quality of your life's experiences amounts to the sum of all the decisions you have ever made. The power to make decisions is what gives you freedom. The more freedom you have, the more options you can entertain. The more options you have available, the more opportunities you can create for yourself and others. Have you ever been told what to believe? Have you ever had someone tell you what you should do, how you should feel or behave? Why would you have someone else decide for you in your life? What is the cost of living that way? Life is short, and time is your most valuable resource. Letting anyone else decide for you is a waste of time! No one else knows you as well as you do. You are the expert of your own life. Think of yourself as the majority shareholder in your life. What are some of the strategic decisions that will help you grow and flourish in the New Year? What will you vote yes for in your life? What will you vote no for? Recognizing that you have a choice does not mean that there will never be any uncomfortable consequences. But not making a 356
  48. 48. decision is also a decision which could have consequences that are just as negative. Peter Drucker once said that whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision! In what department of your life's organization - relationships, money, health, fun, recreation, personal growth - do you currently experience the most challenge? Where do you feel trapped? Whatever you believe is missing, it is yours, waiting to be claimed. The first step is to make a conscious decision about the things you would like to have more of and the things you will need to let go off. Some people get trapped in inaction. They have a hard time saying yes, because that would mean that they have to close off other possibilities. In economics, this is referred to as the 'opportunity cost'. The same principle is true in life. Saying yes to one thing often means saying no to many other possibilities. Don't just dwell in possibility. Dwell in reality! Choose, decide and take action. Question #1: How Am I Committed? Why is it that we tell ourselves we want certain things but we don’t take action? We might have the best of intentions to make certain changes in our lives, yet we do not follow through on our resolutions? Does that mean we are lazy or undisciplined? Are we afraid of failure? Are we holding on to limiting beliefs about ourselves? We get frustrated when we think and say we are committed to wanting something for ourselves, but no action follows that voice of commitment. 357
  49. 49. When you fully commit to something, action always follows thought. There is no question, no debate, no doubt or struggle. You don’t wonder whether or not you will take action or not. Commitment goes beyond making a choice. I have never met a mother who had to think about and decide whether or not to feed her baby. People gain a mysterious strength and resolve when they make a commitment. Commitment is a unique personal experience. As a personal coach I can offer you many possible commitment strategies, yet the best personal style of commitment comes from a deep emotional awareness within yourself. Often our commitments are invisible to us and we don’t think about them as commitments, it is what we do naturally. And that’s the whole point. Recall a time in your life when you were committed to something. You were so deeply committed that there was no doubt in your mind, and taking action was almost automatic and effortless. Take some time to answer the following questions to discover the underlying structure of your own personal commitment strategy.  When and where were you committed? Was it a commitment you made to yourself or others? Were there any external influences?  What were some of the actions you took?  How did you go about taking action? What was your strategy for taking action? Did you write down your goal or commitment? Did you visualize your achievements? Did you call a friend or work with a personal life coach? What skills or capabilities did you use?  What were some of the emotional reasons why you were committed? Reflect on the values and beliefs that 358
  50. 50. motivated you to take action and follow through on your commitment.  How did you benefit from taking action? What was the cost of not taking action at all?  How did you think and feel about yourself as a person? Maybe you felt like a successful individual or a compassionate person.  How did your commitment impact others? Understanding and modeling your personal commitment strategy will help you create resolve to follow through and achieve your goals. 359
  51. 51. 3.3 HERON’S CATEGORIES OF INTERVENTION John Heron (1986) defines six major styles of intervention that we can use to increase the effectiveness of our communication skills in coaching relationships. In the list below, the interventions are described according to their intention rather than content. Pay attention to which of these styles of intervention you use most and least in your own communication. Notice whether you use some more than others. AUTHORITATIVE INTERVENTIONS 1 Prescriptive: A prescriptive intervention seeks to direct the behaviour of the patient/colleague, usually behaviour that is outside of the coach / coachee relationship. For example – ”I would like you to discuss this issue with your senior colleagues” 2 Informative: An informative intervention seeks to impart knowledge, information and meaning to the other person For example – “Grants are often made available for this type of work” 3 Confronting: A confronting intervention seeks to raise the awareness of the coachee about some limiting attitude or behaviour of which he/she is relatively unaware. For example – “I notice this is the third time we have talked about this – and you have still not been able to act – I wonder what is going on?” 360
  52. 52. FACIILITATIVE INTERVENTIONS 4 Cathartic: A cathartic intervention seeks to enable the other person to discharge and express painful emotion, usually grief, anger or fear (Heron believed that unexpressed emotion could block development and creativity) For example – “I notice that whenever you speak about your research you look rather anxious”. 5 Catalytic: A catalytic intervention seeks to elicit self discovery, self directed learning, and problem solving For example – “Tell me about a previous time when you had to work with a colleague who you found particularly challenging … How did you deal with that?” 6 Supportive: A supportive intervention seeks to affirm the worth and value of the other person, and their qualities, attitudes and actions For example – “It sounds like you handled that in a very mature and confident way”. In developing effective coaching relationships, it is usual for the coach to rely more on facilitative interventions rather than on authoritative ones – to enable the coachee to develop their own solutions and autonomy. (Developed from John Heron ‘Helping the Coachee’ (1990) London Sage) 361
  53. 53. 3.4 RESPONSIVENESS Responsiveness is defined as: “Readily reacting to suggestions, influences, appeals, or efforts” Being responsive means acting quickly, reacting to requests, suggestions, influences, appeals, or efforts. It means being able to adjust quickly to a change in situation, environment, or direction. Though not a perfect antonym, I would say that the antithesis of responsiveness is procrastination, which is the downfall of many businesses, careers, and lives. (Jeff Wilson) Responsive life coaches will gradually develop an approach and an orientation that is most relevant and useful to both them and their coachees. ( Responsive questions enable the coach to gather more information and to help the coachee discover their gifts and talents - and finds ways to bring those out. A life coach needs to be intuitive and responsive when guiding a coachee to see the value in their own unique gifts. (Patti Stafford) Some examples of responsive questions are: 1. If it were possible to satisfy and alleviate your specific concerns, would you be interested in discussing this in more detail? 2. (I can certainly appreciate how you feel.) May I ask why you feel that way? 3. What are the top three benefits you would want to realize if you were to …? 4. What do you need to see in order to feel confident that you've made the best decision? 362
  54. 54. 5. Is it possible that there is another approach/solution here? 6. What else do you think may be possible? 7. I'm not sure what you mean by that. Can you say more? 8. That's interesting. Will you share with me why you see it that way? 9. What solution would motivate you enough to explore in which way you should work to realize it? 10. If a coachee says, I’m not ready for this now. “ respond with: May I ask, what might be changing in the near furture that would then make it a better time to try this solution? This question enables you to smoke out the real objection, just in case we're not ready now is not it. Moreover, you may uncover some additional information you can use that will allow you to adjust your approach. From The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cold Calling © 2004 Keith Rosen - CPW-014-009062 Visit Keith Rosen's Website: 363
  55. 55. 3.5 FEEDBACK Feedback is the term used for giving people information about their performance. Sometimes as a coach you have information or a suggested course of action that you believe can help the coachee—you have a suggestion or an opinion. The motivation of suggestion and feedback is to reinforce or change a pattern of behavior, to assist the coachee in solving a problem, or to support a coachee’s development. We often offer our suggestions and feedback early in the conversation, before we have fully explored a situation with a coachee. The guidelines that follow assume that you have been in enough questioning to significantly understand the situation being presented to you. Advocacy or suggestion is used only after sufficient questioning. Key Concepts: ● To truly achieve peak performance, people must see the relationship between their behaviors, thoughts, feelings, underlying beliefs, and the result of ALL of these (intended or unintended) in their lives. ● The spirit of coaching is to offer and let go. ● For optimal success, the coach maintains an open and curious state about the coachee’s situation. If for some reason, this is not possible (ex: coach is highly invested in one alternative or action), another coach may be helpful. ● Coaching assumes that each of us knows our own needs, situation, and goals best. 364
  56. 56. Issues with Feedback Although supervisors may know about feedback, they do not always have skills to give effective feedback. It takes practice as well as knowledge. Staff and volunteers often are not receptive when feedback is offered. They may get defensive, trying to justify what they did rather than listening and considering the help they are receiving. Both supervisors and their staff or volunteers should prepare for feedback sessions, and know some ground rules. Feedback should be a regular occurrence, a part of the overall strategy to improve performance. As opportunities arise for the supervisor to observe, read, or discuss work, positive and corrective feedback should be a part of the interaction. 365
  57. 57. Guidelines for Giving Feedback Giving feedback is a delicate communication, because there is always the risk of people interpreting feedback as a personal critic directed against whom and how they are, instead of taking it as useful information on something they did. The best way to give feedback is to avoid “you-statements” and use “I-statements” instead: 1. Give a specific description of the concrete behavior 2. Tell how it made you feel 3. Explain why (because…) 4. Describe the desired consequence 1. Be specific and support general statements with specific examples. The receiver of feedback for both positive and negative behavior will be better able to act on statements that are precise and concise. Example: “During this month you have improved a lot.” This may be satisfying for both parties but it’s not as effective as saying, “Your reports were on time and better proofread.” 2. Describe the facts and do not judge. Describing the facts helps the receiver to understand the meaning and the importance of the feedback. It tends to focus the discussion on behavior and not on personal characteristics. Example: “Did you prepare for your meeting with the grantee? For me it looked like you did not. It was not organized.” This type of statement can bring anger, return accusations, or passive–aggressive behavior in the 366
  58. 58. listener. A better sequence of statements would be: “I got confused in your presentation to the grantee. I was not clear what the presentation was meant to accomplish. A statement about that at the beginning would have helped us all focus on the information you presented.” 3. Be direct, clear, and to the point. In many cultures, it is considered more polite and educated to not be direct. But in the case of feedback, since the objective is to communicate clearly and specifically, and not leave someone guessing, we encourage people to be direct but in polite way. 4. Direct feedback toward controllable behavior. Inquire before critiquing. If an employee is continually late to work, perhaps s/he has a childcare situation that causes this. Discussing the cause and the alternatives to meet everyone’s expectations and needs would be a more constructive approach than simply criticizing the employee’s behavior. Avoid criticizing a participant’s physical characteristics. To say, “You are too short to be seen in the back of the room,” without giving or exploring with him/her some suggestions (about room arrangement, for example), is not very helpful. 5. Feedback should be solicited, rather than imposed. If a collaborative work environment is present with employees or volunteers, feedback should be expected and welcomed. It should include positive feedback on good performance to reinforce what is being done correctly or better. Feedback that helps improve performance is critical 367
  59. 59. to the learning environment and be desired by employees and volunteers. 6. Consider the timing of feedback. Do not wait too long to discuss observations with staff or volunteers. Given in useable amounts and in a timely manner, it is much more effective than allowing things to build up. A person may even feel you that you were holding things over him/her, if you withhold information about behavior that you feel needs to be changed. 7. Make sure feedback takes into account the needs of both the receiver and the giver. Feedback can be destructive when it serves only one’s own needs and fails to consider the needs of the person on the receiving end. If an employee or volunteer is struggling, and there are many points that could be discussed, select some positive points and one or two behaviors to work on first. Then, as performance improves, give feedback on other areas to improve. 8. Plan your feedback. Plan what to say, and in what order. Think before you talk. As you give feedback on a regular basis it will become easier to balance your comments, and provide feedback that can be acted upon. 9. Own your feedback. Use “I” statements, so that the receiver understands that it is your opinion. Example: “Your posture of standing with your hands on your hips was very authoritarian as you talked 368
  60. 60. with the group” is different than saying, “I found your hands on your hips distracting. That posture is sometimes seen as aggressive and authoritarian. Were you aware you were standing like that? What were you thinking as you stood that way?” Guidelines for Receiving Feedback 1. Solicit feedback in clear and specific areas. It’s always easier to give feedback if one is asked. It’s even easier when a specific question is asked. Example: “I often find it difficult to conclude a presentation. Will you pay particular attention to the conclusion today?” 2. Ask for clarification and make a point to understand the feedback. Listen carefully and ask for clarification, if the feedback is not clear. Example: “Are you saying that if I had given an introduction stating what I was going to talk about, that the rest of the presentation was clear?” 3. Help the giver use the criteria for giving useful feedback. Example: If the feedback is too general, ask: “Could you give me specific examples of what you mean?” 4. Avoid making it more difficult for the giver of the feedback than it already is. Strive to avoid being defensive, angry or argumentative. 369
  61. 61. 5. Don’t ask for explanations. Clarification and examples are different than asking why someone did not like something. Requesting explanations beyond the facts can seem defensive and often end up in an argument. As a result the giver backs off and is discouraged from giving feedback in the future. However, the giver is not discouraged from seeing negative behavior or assessing your performance; the person simply becomes unwilling to provide the feedback. Focus on understanding the behavior and its impact. 6. Assume the sender wants to help. Related to the point above, assume that the person giving the feedback is helping you improve. It should not be seen as a way to be more powerful than you or to make you feel bad. Everyone can improve; it is a benefit to have someone reflect how your behavior appears to him/her. 7. Be appreciative and thank the observer. Express your gratitude in a sincere way, such as “Thanks. I am sure I will be clearer if I pay attention to your points.” 8. Share your improvement plan. Tell the giver what you intend to do in the future. Example: “I think I will try your idea of putting talking points on the flip chart in pencil. That should help me get rid of the notes that are distracting to me.” 370
  62. 62. Remember that feedback is based on one person’s perception of another person’s behavior, not universal truth. You are receiving one person’s perceptions. Having this in mind should make you less defensive. If you do not agree with the feedback, you might check out the perceptions with others. For example, you might ask someone else to watch you for the specific behaviors you received feedback on. 371
  63. 63. 3.6 REFRAMING Everyone sees things differently — knowledge often lies in the eye of the beholder. To reframe means to change the conceptual and/or emotional setting or viewpoint in relation to which a situation is experienced and to place it in another frame which fits the ”facts” of the same concrete situation equally well or even better, and thereby changes its entire meaning. (Watzlawick et al.) The reframing matrix enables different perspectives to be generated and used in coaching and management processes. It expands the number of options for solving a problem. “Wise people,” wrote M. Scott Peck, “learn not to dread but actually to welcome problems.” You know why that’s wise? Because you’re going to get problems. If you welcome them and embrace the challenge, you will be better at solving them. And you will be less upset or depressed by problems when they come along (which they will). We can learn to welcome problems by getting in the habit of framing problems as opportunities in disguise. We can learn to welcome problems by deliberately trying to see what’s good about the problem — by deciding right up front, “This is good,” and then working to make it so. Rationale Perspective is a mental view, an ingrained way of perceiving the world. Different people have different experiences and see in different ways: understanding how they do expands the range of solutions that one might devise to address a question or problem. 372
  64. 64. Definition The reframing matrix is a simple technique that helps examine problems from distinct viewpoints. In other words, individuals or groups place themselves in the mindsets of different people and imagine what solutions the latter might come up with. The reframing matrix was devised by Michael Morgan. EXAMPLES OF REFRAMING Initial frame I am in a tunnel and I can’t see a way out. I am too anxious to study. I know I will never be confident. When he/she looks at me like that he/she hates me. Beggars are criminals and might kill me. He/she is out at night and that means that he/she does not love me any more. He/she is so boring, stays in all the time and does not have a mind of his/her own. Reframe Every tunnel has an entrance and exit. You need to be anxious enough to concentrate. Being confident starts with having insights about our limits. People cover up their hurt by putting a scowl on their faces. No one deliberately wants to fall on hard times. Private time away can help you to appreciate each other much more. Thoughtful people put others first and are a great port in a storm — a great source of security. 373
  65. 65. Process The reframing matrix lays a question (or problem) in the middle of a four-box grid. It is then examined from four typical business perspectives • Program Perspective: Are there issues with the program (or product or service) we are delivering? • Planning Perspective: Is the business (or communications plan) appropriate? • Potential Perspective: Is the program replicable? Can it be scaled up? • People Perspective: What do the people involved think? The figure below offers one example of the so-called Four Ps Approach, with illustrative questions aimed at a new program that is not raising funds effectively. Then again, the four-box grid can be used to consider a question (or problem) from the perspectives of different groups of stakeholders, e.g., staff, coachees, suppliers, and partners, or specialists, e.g., engineers, lawyers, economists, or information technology specialists. The table 374
  66. 66. below shows how one might figure out the potential perspectives of internal and external stakeholders in the context of a development agency. Even so, the problématique of independent evaluation is still more complex.2 At the request of shareholders tasked with reporting to political leadership, taxpayers, and citizens, feedback from evaluation studies has often tended to support accountability (and hence provide for control), not serve as an important foundation block of a learning organization. Some now argue for a reinterpretation of the notion of 375
  67. 67. accountability. Others cite lack of utility; the perverse, unintended consequences of evaluation for accountability, such as diversion of resources; emphasis on justification rather than improvement; distortion of program activities; incentive to lie, cheat, and distort; and misplaced accent on control.3 Table 3 suggests that the two basic objectives of evaluations—accountability and learning—are generally incompatible. This is not to say that evaluation units face an either-or situation. Both accountability and learning are important goals for evaluation feedback. One challenge is to make accountability accountable. In 376
  68. 68. essence, evaluation units are placing increased emphasis on results orientation while maintaining traditional checks on use of inputs and compliance with procedures. Lack of clarity on why evaluations for accountability are carried out, and what purpose they are expected to serve, contributes to their frequent lack of utility. Moreover, if evaluations for accountability add only limited value, resources devoted to documenting accountability can have a negative effect, perversely enough. However, evaluation for learning is the area where observers find the greatest need today and tomorrow, and evaluation units should be retooled to meet it. Table 5 suggests how work programs for evaluation might be reinterpreted to emphasize organizational learning. Evaluation capacity development promises much to the learning organization, and should be an activity in which centralized evaluation units have a comparative advantage. Capacity is the ability of people, organizations, and society as a whole to manage their affairs successfully; and capacity to undertake effective monitoring and evaluation is a determining factor of aid effectiveness. Evaluation capacity development is the process of reinforcing or establishing the skills, resources, structures, and commitment to conduct and use monitoring and evaluation over time. Many key decisions must be made when starting to develop evaluation capacity internally in a strategic way.4 Among the most important are:  Architecture. Locating and structuring evaluation functions and their coordination. 377
  69. 69.  Strengthening evaluation demand. Ensuring that there is an effective and well-managed demand for evaluations.  Strengthening evaluation supply. Making certain that the skills and competencies are in place with appropriate organizational support.  Institutionalizing evaluations. Building evaluation into policy- making systems. Why development agencies should want to develop in-house, self- evaluation capacity is patently clear. Stronger evaluation capacity will help them  Develop as a learning organization.  Take ownership of their visions for poverty reduction, if the evaluation vision is aligned with that.  Profit more effectively from formal evaluations.  Make self-evaluations an important part of their activities.  Focus quality improvement efforts.  Increase the benefits and decrease the costs associated with their operations.  Augment their ability to change programming midstream and adapt in a dynamic, unpredictable environment.  Build evaluation equity, if they are then better able to conduct more of their own self-evaluation, instead of hiring them out.  Shorten the learning cycle. Figure 2 poses key questions concerning how an organization may learn from evaluation, combining the two elements of learning by involvement and learning by communication. It provides the context within which to visualize continuing efforts to increase value added from independent evaluation, and underscores the role in internal evaluation capacity development. It also makes a strong case for more research into how development agencies learn how to learn 378
  70. 70. The Reframing Matrix A Reframing Matrix is a simple technique that helps you to look at problems from a number of different viewpoints. It expands the range of creative solutions that you can generate. The approach relies on the fact that different people with different experience approach problems in different ways. What this technique helps you to do is to put yourself into the minds of different people and imagine the solutions they would come up with. We do this by putting the question to be asked in the middle of a grid. We use boxes around the grid for the different perspectives. This is just an easy way of laying the problem out - if it does not suit you, change it. We will look at two different approaches to the reframing matrix. You could, however, use this approach in many different ways. The 4 Ps Approach This relies on looking at a problem from different perspectives within a business. The 4 Ps approach looks at problems from the following viewpoints: 379
  71. 71. 1. Product perspective: is there something wrong with the product? 2. Planning perspective: are our business or marketing plans at fault? 3. Potential perspective: if we were to seriously increase our targets, how would we achieve these increases? 4. People perspective: why do people choose one product over another? The 'Professions Approach' Another approach to using a reframing matrix is to look at the problem from the viewpoints of different specialists. The way, for example, that a doctor looks at a problem would be different from the approach a civil engineer would use. This would be different from a sales manager's perspective. Here is an example of both approaches: 380
  72. 72. Sources: Asian Development Bank- Metro Manila, Philippines - - Olivier Serrat, Head of the Knowledge Management Center, Asian Development Bank ( 381
  73. 73. 3.7 REALITY CHECK When people come for personal life coaching, they usually feel stuck. They desperately want to change something, but they report they don’t know how to make their lives different. As they discuss the scenario, I typically note a common denominator that keeps them stuck in their unpleasant situation. Most people who want to change are caught up in a state of “denial”. As you read this, you might be saying to yourself that you don’t fall into that state because you clearly know what is wrong in your life and what you want to change. I assure you, denial is almost always part of the problem. The classic example of denial is the coachee who lives with an alcoholic and does not see the behavior as being as serious as it is. She might say, “He wasn’t as drunk as last weekend” or “Well, at least he didn’t drive” or “He couldn’t have been that intoxicated because he was able to go to work”. When a coachee comes in and wants to start a new business they typically have not researched the amount of hours they will need to devote to changing their life so dramatically. They have not created the financial support to sustain them during this transition. They are in denial about the realities of this change. They want the outcome, but they haven’t created the infrastructure to support the change. My work with coachees who are stuck usually involves moving them out of the state of denial by doing what I call a “reality check”. This is done in two steps. The first step is after the coachee makes a statement, I hit them with a dose of reality. COACHEE: I want to lose ten pounds. ME: What have you done to support the change? COACHEE: I am doing a lot of thinking about it. 382
  74. 74. ME: (reality check) I haven’t heard you talk about the behaviors that support the change. The coachee is well-meaning, but they continue to avoid looking at the real picture. They stay in that state of denial, pretending they know what they need to do to improve their lives, when in essence their situation continues to have major problems because they don’t have a specific action plan that they are implementing or because they aren’t seeing the situation for what it is. I believe you will get healthier faster if you move out of the state of denial and see the total picture. When a coachee says to me, “I have been working on my spending” I do a reality check… “How much less are you spending?” They typically answer, “Well, I don’t know the exact numbers.” By not knowing the exact numbers they don’t have to change their behavior drastically. It’s a very scary thing to alter your life to support the goals you really want. It takes a lot of courage and self-determination to stop enabling others or yourself. It almost always means that you will have to let go of some familiar behavior that has not been working for you. If you want to save money, you can’t buy that new dress or that new technological toy. If you want to lose weight, you won’t be able to have that second helping. If you want to be less affected by your spouse, you will need to walk away from them temporarily and create your own life. Are you in denial about something important? To live the life you were meant to live, you must give 100% to it. Source: m 383
  75. 75. 3.8. SCALING 3.8.1 SCALING OF PROBLEMS Think about something you want to achieve, or even some (minor) problem that you are currently facing. How would you rate where you are in relation to this issue on a scale of 0-10 - where 0 is the worst it's ever been, and 10 is how it's going to be when it's exactly how you want it? This seemingly simple question does a number of useful things and opens the door to even more. Let's have a look in more detail at how it works:  Unless the rating is zero, it helps you realise that not everything is bad in the current situation. When we focus on solving a problem, that tends to expand to fill our awareness until all we see is the problem. Rating the problem on a scale helps us to realise that some things are already working, and some components of the solution are already happening.  Having a scale implies that it's possible to move. If we view the current situation as 'the problem', and contrast that with our ideal solution, it can seem like there's no bridge between the two - particularly if we are prone to black and white, either/or thinking. The scale builds a bridge between 'problem' and solution - and obviously implies that we can move along it to get closer to the solution.  Do you ever give yourself a hard time about not achieving enough? As you know, that will most likely demotivate you. Instead, you can use scaling to remind you of what you have already achieved with this supplementary question: (given that you are at n on the scale now) How have you got there from n-1? Or: How do you stop yourself sliding back to n-1? 384
  76. 76. Notice how these questions acknowledge and validate what you have already been doing to make the solution happen, and provide behavioural reinforcement to your unconscious mind, encouraging it to do more in that direction.  You can use scaling to begin to move towards your ideal solution, like this: (given that you are at n on the scale now) What will be different when you are at n+1? Notice that the question is not asking 'How are you going to get there?' - just 'What will be different?'. This begins to build an image in your mind of how things will be when they are just a bit closer to how you want them, and what you will be doing differently - a form of mental rehearsal which makes it more likely that you will take action. Of course, if you are using scaling to coach someone else, you can equally well use these questions to assist them in moving towards their solution. You can also ask, for any action that they tell you they are going to take: 'On a scale of 0-10, how committed are you?' For anything they expect to happen: 'On a scale of 0-10, how confident are you that this will happen?' Normally I give sources for any research that I quote. Here's an additional snippet I recall reading somewhere, but the source escapes me - so it's up to you if you believe it or not: when we assign a numerical rating to a problem, this engages the left hemisphere of the brain, which is associated with more positive emotions. So just by scaling a problem, we may start to feel better about it. If anyone is aware of the research which backs this up, do let me know! Sources: solution-focus-2-scaling.html (Andy Smith) The Solutions Focus: Making Coaching and Change SIMPLE - by Paul Z Jackson and Mark McKergow 385
  77. 77. 3.8.2. Scaling Techniques For Assessing Progress Using scaling techniques in coaching can be a really useful way of helping a coachee assess their progress or their state of satisfaction in relation to their desired outcomes, or clarify their commitment to a way forward. For example (in the simplest form): On a scale of 1 -10… …to what extent have you made progress towards this goal? …how content are you in this area? …how committed are you to taking this action. This then allows the coachee to assess their position and gives a foundation on which to move forward. The use of scaling techniques in coaching forms part of the ‘Solutions focus’ approach (see further reading) and there are numerous techniques you can employ to use scaling effectively. (There are even whole day courses you can spend to improve your skills in this area!) Assessing progress One powerful benefit of scaling is to help your coachee to asess their position in relation to their ideal outcome (their 10/10). So, when you ask a scaling question remember to give a brief description of what their 10/10 might be and a brief description of their 1/10, ensuring that what you describe for the latter is well below what you know their position is: e.g. ‘On a scale of 1 – 10 where 10/10 is your perfect scenario where you are totally organised, you know what you have to do and you achieve everything you want to achieve in a day and more, and as a result you feel great… and 1/1 is where you are so disorganised that you achieve absolutely nothing in a day, you don’t know what you want to achieve and you don’t even know how to start being organised….where are you on this scale?’ 386
  78. 78. In this scenario your coachee will most likely to be able to identify some midpoint between the two extremes on which you can then build with a further question such as: ‘so what do you know you are doing well which is giving you the score of 4?’ which then leads to further positive exploration. Remember, always use 1 rather than zero as your lower end of the scale as zero cannot be built upon should your coachee choose the lowest extreme. Once you have established your coachee’s current position you can then ask questions to help move them forward: e.g. so, if you are now at a 6 what things can you now do to move yourself to a 7?’ Assessing commitment Using scaling techniques in coaching is also a great way to assess your coachee’s commitment to an action. Simply asking ‘are you committed’ is a closed question and will more likely prompt a ‘yes’ rather than a ‘no’ whatever their commitment is, whilst asking ‘how committed are you’ might elicit a vague ‘very committed’ response which could mean many things. By asking a scaling question you are helping your coachee put some measure on it which you can then explore further and prompt you to ask ‘so what would bring your commitment to a 10/10?’ From experience coachees with a commitment of less than 8/10 usually require further exploration to establish underlying issues affecting their motivation and to establish what action they will be more committed to. Source: techniques-in-coaching.html 387
  79. 79. 3.9 EXTERNALISING OF PROBLEMS Externalising language is used in coaching to separate the problem from the person. For example, a person may say “I am a sad person”. This implies that the person has a sad quality or characteristic of sadness rather than it just being something that affects the person from time to time. Coaches working from a narrative perspective are attuned to the language they use to represent an issue or problem in their coachees’ lives. They assume that the issue or problem is “having an effect on the person” rather than the issue or problem being an intrinsic part of who the person is. Rather than saying “you are lacking in motivation”, a coach working from a narrative perspective may ask “when did motivation leave you?” OR rather than say, “you are stressed” the coach may enquire, “when did stress get a hold of you?” Source: Consider the difference between saying ‘I’m a perfectionist’ as opposed to saying ‘Perfectionism is giving me a hard time today.’ In the latter case, you are, in language at least, separating you – the person – from the problem. The separation opens up different ways of talking about the problem and helps bring to the surface different options for responding to it. Of course, you can think of impediments to productivity as a manifestation of your basic essence, your basic nature. The impediments may be your intrinsic laziness, slow-wittedness, or clumsiness showing through. On the other hand, you can externalise these impediments, think of them as objects or agents that are distinct from you and with which you have a (sometimes troubled) relationship. When problems are externalised, it’s much more natural to think of them as coming and going, sometimes being strong, sometimes weak. It is much more natural to ask when they arrived on the scene, to ask 388
  80. 80. whether they might leave, and to ask whether and how you might change your relationship with them. Naming problems If something is holding you back, you can seek to find a name or other means of referring to the problem, a means that makes it separate from you. Sometimes just putting a ‘the’ in front of it will work, e.g. ‘The Perfectionism’ or ‘The Block’. There are no right answers here. The point of the technique is to find a name that means something to you. And if your first couple of tries for a name don’t feel right, you can always try others. Names people have shared with me for problems that have interfered with achieving their goals in a sustainable way include: ‘The Critic’, ‘Perfecto Man’, ‘The Pressure Cooker’, ‘The Boulder’ and so on. Having a name for your particular problem, one that means something to you, helps create the separation between you and the problem. For some people, the business of naming a problem can seem daft. And for very many people naming a problem can be both fun and a helpful first step in loosening its grip. Finding out more about a problem Once you have a name for your problem – and even if you do not – you can find out more about it. How does it like to operate? When is it most active? Does it have a gender? Does it have a colour and a shape? When is the problem in charge and when are you in charge? What aspirations does the problem have for you in the short and in the long term? What do you like about it and what do you dislike? What positive intentions does the problem have (even if, overall, it does not play a positive role for you)? What consequences does the problem tend to bring about? 389
  81. 81. Exceptions and unique outcomes Problems and the problem-talk that they promote, often like to generalise recklessly. They are very fond of words such as ‘always’, ‘never’, ‘not once’, ‘every time’ and so on, e.g. ‘Every time I start to write I get blocked. I will never finish this report.‘ If this is your experience, it’s worth gently probing your history to see whether such statements really stand up to scrutiny. You might, for example, get curious as to whether there are any occasions where the problem has not got its way. What was different on such an occasion? Can you find a common thread that links together a series of occasions where the problem did not interfere in a way that you would rather it had not? This line of inquiry is not about denying the power of the problem. It’s not about pretending that it is not an issue. Rather, it’s about opening up some space for another story thread. If, as can sometimes happen, the dominant story thread is one of being stuck – ‘I have terminal writer’s block, I’ll never get finished‘ – then this can sometimes drive out exceptions. Learning more about the exceptions, especially if you get stuck a lot, can be a route to renegotiating your relationship with a problem. At the same time, adopting different and richer ways of describing your relationship to a problem, can help prepare the path for changing the manner of that relationship, e.g. ‘On Tuesday morning, The Block started to work on me just as I was making coffee and didn’t let go for the rest of the day. But on Friday, after lunch with Emily, The Block was just absent. I didn’t even think about its presence or absence until now.’ You are not the problem, the problem is the problem Externalising emphasises that you are not the problem. Rather, the problem is the problem. Getting some distance from the problem can help you see your abilities and competencies, can help you see the differences between what you want for yourself and what the problem wants for you. Having this space can often help you renegotiate terms 390
  82. 82. with the problem or, in some cases, break off relations with the problem altogether. Externalising has it origins as a subtle technique that is used by narrative therapists. For the best DIY results, read up more about it and work with another person who has also read up. If what you try works, keep on with it. If it doesn’t, stop and try something else. Origins and understandings Narrative therapy, and the technique of externalising, was developed by Michael White and David Epston. Generalising recklessly is a topic addressed within Transactional Analysis therapy in relation to the concepts of ‘discounting’ and ‘grandiosity’. References  What is Narrative Therapy?: An Introduction. Extracts of the book are available at site, o What is Narrative Therapy?: An Easy to Read Introduction  Brief Counselling: Narratives and Solutions. The authors’ have a great slogan – ‘if it works do more of it, if it doesn’t do something different’ . o Brief Counselling: Narratives and Solutions Source: (Matthew Elton) 391