This week is ICF’s International Coaching Week and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate & discuss coaching. Each weekday I’m hosting blogs from a variety of authors exploring an aspect of coaching. You can read all the posts this week here & follow them on Twitter using #coachingblogs.
The topic for today is “The impact of coaches actions & reactions on coaching outcomes” which has been suggested by Phil Willcox (@philwillcox).
This post has been written by Clare Manning (@manningclare) – I hope you enjoy it!
The impact of coaches actions & reactions on coaching outcomes
What an interesting topic to reflect on! Three things spring to mind so i’ll share these and see where it takes us…
Firstly, I was working with a manager recently who had been referred for coaching by her organisation. We held an initial taster meeting to see whether she wanted to take coaching forward. Her approach was cautious, sceptical and it felt as though she was going through the motions because she was required to be there. So, after 40 mins the following thought flit across my mind ‘if she doesn’t start to engage with this in her own right, I will walk away from the contract because this won’t work unless she wants to be here…’ note this was just a thought. Within seconds, she started to change, became more animated and at the end of the session told me she would like to continue with the coaching because she thought she would get a lot out of it and I clearly wasn’t just in it for the money! I realised at that point just how powerful our body language is. In the book ‘Blink’ by Malcolm Gladwell he talks about ‘thin slicing which is the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behaviour based on very narrow slices of experience’. So, our coachees will be reading our body language, and drawing conclusions, in a blink of an eye. Messages we might think are hidden within us are actually being transmitted in part through body language to our clients.
This for me links with an earlier blog I did sometime ago for David called ‘Coach and Coachee – a Dance of Magnificence‘ where I explored the transformational effect of believing in your client’s magnificence throughout the session you hold with them. The more I use this technique, the more it glows. I’ve also recently finished teaching coaching skills to a group of managers and two of them revealed that it is this use of unconditional positive regard that has had the most dramatic impact on their practice, especially in the rapport and confidence levels they are seeing in their staff. And this is before any other coaching skills or tools have been used…
And finally, I have noticed that when I am refreshed, with a spring in my step, my coaching sessions zing and my coachees, generally, leave feeling refreshed and highly motivated. When i’m tired from a previous day’s training or mediation then my energy is down and I sense a dip in the motivation of my coaching clients also. Perhaps i’m reading too much into it? Perhaps it’s just coincidence. But just to be sure, I now build in a day’s recovery time after every full delivery day so I can deliver all individual coaching sessions with the energy I feel they deserve.
So, what are the hidden things that you sense you bring to sessions? To what extent do you draw on these to enhance your coachees outcomes? All ideas welcome ….
Clare Manning (@manningclare)
Really interesting article Clare and this is a subject I think about a lot and was only discussing with a colleague the other day. I too have experienced the impact that my body language can have on a client and have even found that my reaction to a client’s story was part of the reason for such a successful outcome for the client! Not what I expected at all.
Coaches are only human after all (well most of us anyway!). Ensuring good supervision and self-reflection during and after working with clients, as well as getting direct feedback from clients is, in my view, the best way to raise our own awareness of our actions and reactions allowing us to really think about and be mindful of the impact we have.
Couldn’t agree more! It’s a rich topic isn’t it? One for an EMCC open space discussion soon I think …