How do you know you understand your client during coaching?

What do coaches do?

Some coaches tell you what do.

Hey, who is living this life?

Some coaches say hmmm,  haw, what do you think?

What are they contributing here that the cat couldn’t do just as well?

A good coach encourages wisdom

We are all wise, at least a little.  But in our impatience to make a decision, sometimes we rush to conclusions.

A good coach helps us do our thinking.

Dialogic thinking:  how would other people see this problem?

We could talk to lots of other people, and our coach might ask us to.  They will check that we have done so.

They’ll also suggest reading novels and watching movies. They’ll get you to take a “cloud journey” and fly around the world looking down on different cultures and imagine what they are doing right now.  It frees up the mind and welcomes in what you know but have pushed aside.

And a good coach will suggest techniques described by Paolo Coelho in The Warrior of Light.  Imagine fighting against yourself!  That helps you flesh out what you are doing and what you are taking for granted!

Dialectical thinking: how our questions and answers change over time

The difficulty with being a noobe, is that we have no idea how we will see an issue when we’ve had a little more experience!

A coach has seen many people go through the same process of noobe to expert and they know how you will change.

Importantly, they know you will change.  They’ll help you approach an issue in an experimental way.   Test, redefine, test, redefine!

A good coach shares your journey

A good coach is not only there for you when times are hard.  A good coach understands that their wisdom grows from their relationship with you.  They too used dialogic and dialectical thinking.

They need to understand your point-of-view about your predicament and your point-of-view about their relationship with you.  They too need to see their questions and answers change as as result of working with you.

A good coach is not expert who gives answers or pretends to know behind a hmm, haw, and what do you think?

A good coach is challenged by your views and changes their own mind as they learn about yours.


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Useful coaching technique: a cloud journey

Are you wise, sometimes?

Have you ever kicked yourself for making a dumb decision?  Have you ever sat there thinking, why did I do that?

Turn on your wisdom

There is a way to turn on wisdom.  Peter K Webbs describes the research evidence for promoting wisdom.

#1  Talk a decision over with someone else.  They don’t give you answers.  The talking brings a wider range of facts and figures to your conscious decision making processes.

#2 Go on a cloud journey.  Imagine traveling around the world.  Think of different places and cultures.  Then make you decision! This is Staudinger’s and Baltes (1996) ‘cloud’ journey.

Complexity in organizatons

Peter K Webbs summarized complexity theory in organizations and psycholoogy very well.

For a poetic account, read Paolo Coelho, The Warrior of Light & Strategy.  I particular like the ideas of accepting defeat as what they it is: defeat.  I like the idea of preparing to fight by imagining fighting oneself.  I like the idea that friends remain with you through good and bad times.  They share the journey and the ups-and-downs of the journey.