Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives. They are trained to listen, observe and customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. Their job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has. My approach is based on Solution Focused Coaching which operates on the following principles:
- Focusing on the future is more powerful and more likely to produce results than focusing on the past
- Change occurs in a systematic fashion with small steps rather than giant leaps
- Solution focus, rather than solution forced, is core to my approach
- Self-directed change results in sustainable behavior
- Challenge for thought and challenge for action drives accountability in the coaching client.
Depending on the circumstance and the particular coaching situation and client needs, I might employ the appreciative approach, grounded in what’s right, what’s working, what’s wanted, and what’s needed to get to the desired result. The advantages of such an approach incorporates discovery-based inquiry, proactive (as opposed to reactive) ways of managing personal opportunities and challenges, constructive framing of observations and feedback in order to elicit the most positive responses from others, and envisioning success as contrasted with focusing on problems. As a coach, I offer: Support for Thought: Creating the climate in which the person can speak freely, bringing into open thoughts what may not previously have been expressed. Adding more clarity to their narrative Challenge for Thought: A “second voice” that asks the questions the client does not ask him or herself, in order to widen the lens through which they access the information on which they base their decisions. Challenge for Action: Keeping in focus the need to turn talk into solutions, and solutions into actions to enable the person to do, at least, one thing differently and/or better. Support for Action: Ensuring that the size of the action is commensurate with the client’s abilities, confidence, resources, and within their control.
- As you think about your goals, what’s not working well in your company/project/team?
What are the consequences of this issue for you and for the important people in your team?
- What is the source of the need to change — is it in you, other people or is it external?
Is the need to change urgent enough to take action? Because we naturally tend towards continuing the status quo, if doing something new doesn’t feel urgent, it’s not likely to happen.
- Looking ahead, what will happen if you don’t change?
- What will happen if you do change?
What’s Your Decision?
The decision to change is a crucial moment because it marks the point when your mind shifts and you begin to see a different future. It is also a fragile point in planned change processes with plenty of temptations to go back to the way things have always been, and many distractions that pull away from the focused effort that’s required to do something new and make it stick.
- What have you decided to do differently and why?
- What is the ideal outcome?
- What are your new goals?
What steps will you take?
- What are the possible step-by-step actions you can take to make this decision real in your work and life?
- What exactly will you do, and when will you do it?
- How will you measure progress?
- What stands in the way, and how will you overcome these barriers?
- How will you generate needed support?
Are you really in?
Generating sufficient commitment to follow through is one of the most challenging aspects of any change process. Because commitment wanes without a sense of urgency, think about this:
- What if this is harder than you think?
- What are the first steps — and the next steps — you will take?
- How will you maintain your sense of urgency?
How will you sustain it?
The key questions here are:
- What impact has your new behavior had on you and others?
- What accomplishments are you proud of achieving?
- Is there a smarter step that might help you build momentum?
- How can I reinforce your commitment to action?