Showing posts from June, 2013

The three questions coaches need to answer

I was at a coaches' training this weekend (taking the training, not leading it this time). The coaches involved had varying levels of coaching experience and confidence. They were all there to learn because like most people who dedicate their work to the study of human behaviour, they believe there is always more to learn.

We all face the same three questions as coaches:

1) How do our clients know what they want to change? We can't assume they are using the same criteria or even the same thinking processes that we are. Coaches take training because they never know enough about the processes that lead to the best choices.

2) How do we help people make change? We all want to intervene as little as possible because that seems like the most useful way to enable someone to change in a way that will work for them. But it's hard to know where to apply a useful nudge. Coaches take training because they are always looking for tools that will get better results with less interferenc…

I Require Connection to Pursue my Passion

I suppose this heading might take your thoughts in lots of different directions. That's the way both connection and passion work.

The direction I intend you to remember is that this sentence is a mnemonic that will allow you to quickly recall 5 useful beliefs about human beings. These beliefs will help you feel better, connect better with others, and set goals that are worth your time, your energy and your enthusiasm.

I is for Integration. Believe that each human being (even you) is one unified being, that body and mind and unconscious processes all work together as just one integrated system.

R is for Resourcefulness. Believe that each human being (even you) has the strengths, characteristics and intelligence to live a more satisfying life.

C is for Connection. Believe that the mind/body system of each human being (even you) is exquisitely equipped for observing and connecting with other human beings.

P is for Predictable. Believe that each human being (even you) works in pattern…

The 4 Ps on the Path to Performance

Who has time for complicated theories? Even those of us who love rich complex thought, especially combined with clever wordplay, have only a little time for it. It's the square of exquisite dark chocolate in our diets, not the leafy greens that keep us healthy and moving.

This morning, I'm going to offer you a simple way to think about how you are getting the results you are getting. Most of us don't think about performance (except in phrases like performance review). We think about getting things done and satisfaction and relationships. But. . . . whatever you do in a day is a performance and you can decide where you would like to perform better (which is a more direct way to think about where you would like to get better results).

The four Ps of performance:

Pain:  I know. It's a terrible place to start. But pain is an indication that there's something that needs to change. And working through pain extends your endurance and ability.

Problem: All pain is a probl…

Permission to put the right label on what you feel

Did you ever have a feeling that was different from what people expected you to feel? There's an interesting motivation that comes from finding the right word for what you are feeling. It's as if the right word gives edges to the feeling. You might still feel it, but you are also able to begin to imagine that you might feel something else too.

This framing only happens when you are congruent with the word you choose. When other people give you other labels, the feeling leaks out around the edges. Because it is not contained, it colours all of your attention, even the part that is feeling out the label and working to understand what does or does not fit.The leak is every bit as messy as it sounds, and it keeps you stuck trying to figure out a feeling instead of free to move past it or through it.

When you are supporting someone else and you can tell they have found the right word, give them a few minutes (or hours or days) to adjust their perceptions around this word. It's …

Is coaching just another word for therapy?

I recently attended a workshop where the leader (an internationally acclaimed psychologist) often applied research on therapy to the practice of coaching. For instance, if it is true that therapy should be evaluated after 3 sessions and declines dramatically in effectiveness after 10 sessions, then that same metric will be true of coaching. The implication is that coaching, like therapy, is about returning people to a condition where they are capable of managing their lives without assistance.

Is that what coaching does?  It's certainly true that coaching is often about solving problems and good coaches often enjoy solving a problem quickly and effectively.  However, from another point of view, if coaches wanted to solve problems they should a) solve their own and b) stop hanging out with top performers who also like solving problems. It may be true that elite athletes, actors and musicians require coaching throughout their careers because they are somehow constitutionally incapab…