Out of the Box: A Child-Like Perspective
Have you ever watched a child pick up something and investigate it as if it were the coolest thing they have ever seen? They often explore what we might consider the most simple things with a wide-eyed curiosity and enthusiasm. It is a beautiful thing to see; to see a child so present in the moment, learning, and enthralled by the things surrounding them.
Isn't it true that as adults we sometimes get so lost in all the day-to-day that we sometimes don't see what's around us? We forget to be present in the moment, clouding our ability to see the great learning experiences and fantastic opportunities. Heck, we even forget to breathe!
How does the color blue suit you?
We can learn a lot from children. We can learn to slow down and be in the here and the now. We can learn to look at almost everything with a renewed enthusiasm and zest for exploration. Just because we are older and even wiser that does not mean we are too old to learn, too old to explore, nor too old to play.
It is our wish that you gift yourself (if only for the week) the curiosity and spirit of a child. Take time to stop and enjoy exploring your surroundings. Take a look at things through the lens of curiosity and see what you notice. The key is to be curious!
Out of the Box: Silence is Golden
Silence is a beautiful thing. Silence provides us with a break from all the buzz. It affords us some breathing space. It can be a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day. As coaches, it can be one of the most powerful coaching tools in our coaching toolbox.
You may have already noticed or experienced this, but when there’s silence there’s a natural urge to fill it. In the coaching conversation, when you use silence you give the other person the time and the space to reflect before responding. Think about it, you have asked that jewel of a question, a real eye-opener, what better way to highlight that question then to go silent?
We encourage you to give yourself the gift of silence in your conversations and take notice of what happens. Did the person you were talking to create a deeper awareness? Did they fill the silence with more information? What happened?
Here’s to the gold that is silence.
Out of the Box: Strategize ; "The smart way of getting somewhere with the least amount of effort or cost."
By Alison Hendren, MCC, CEO
Developing efficient, supportive and enjoyable strategies to help people achieve their goals is what is key to providing value in coaching. Most people really want and need a strategy to make what they are wanting to accomplish/achieve/solve/create happen. Just recently I was speaking with a client who discovered a critical lapse in communication by her team. They implemented a fundamental change but forgot to communicate it to the key stakeholders! The change was a good one but they just forgot to tell people before they made it...sound familiar?
There was a huge missed opportunity to celebrate the very positive change along with so many other pieces. So, what was she to do? We talked a bit and then focused on what opportunities were present and what strategy she could put into place that would support an even bigger change initiative. By the time we were done, not only had she come up with a way to solve this that would be empowering for her team, but she came up with two key strategies that could profoundly strengthen herself as a leader, i.e. collaboration and innovation.
Here are a few provocative questions to help someone strategize:
- What is the most unconventional way to do this?
- What if you had no budget for this?
- What are you willing to do in order to achieve this?
- What's the fastest way?
- What's the easiest way?
- What would be a great way to get there?
- What's the most intuitive, creative, brilliant approach that you could take to accomplish this result and generate six others like it?
AND, here are a few more tips when supporting someone to strategize:
With a strategy, you aren't always working directly on the goal itself, but rather on improving or positioning the environments, relationships, resources, flows, systems or even yourself. So, strategies are very different from a plan. In fact, when you devise the right strategy, the plan becomes obvious. But without the strategy, the plan is merely a set of linear action steps (read: lots of work and often a waste of time). So, as the coach it is critical for you to shine the light on the bigger picture or possibility, take the person up to the 50,000 foot level so that they can really look at what is possible.
Developing efficient, supportive and enjoyable strategies to help people achieve their goals is what is key to providing value. Here are a few elements of Personal Strategies: Integrity strengthened, support structures, fitness/health, community, self-discovery and here are a few elements of Business Strategies: Improved Technology, Pilot Program, Coaching, Strategic Alliances, Incentives, Education, Collaboration, Innovation etc.
Coaching someone to strategize is the ultimate in empowerment. How exciting to be able to support them in coming up with the tools to empower themselves because 90% of coaching happens in between the coaching and years beyond.
Out of the Box: Action Planning: A key to getting things done!
We all do it. Some may call it action planning, others may call it strategizing. Regardless, it is something we do on a daily basis to accomplish our tasks and goals or to get from Point A to Point B.
Think about it.
If you like to write out your grocery list in the order that the items appear in the store, you are action planning in order to ensure that you get everything you need. OR
If you schedule your day from appointments to downtime, you too are action planning in order to make the most of your day.
As a matter of fact, action planning and implementation is one of the key elements in coaching. It helps our coachees to stay on target and to take forward movement. It takes a discovery-type conversation to the next level. Any time we can put a new awareness to use, we are not only growing, but we are increasing our success rates.
Out of the Box: Requesting - The opportunity to ask the World of your Coachee!
by Alison Hendren, CEO, MCC
Many people who learn coaching skills are under the false impression that they should never ask anything of the coachee but simply let them come up with what they are willing to commit to....WRONG!! Requesting is one of the 5 Core Coaching Skills in our 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™ because there are many times when making a request can catapult the coachee to a whole different level or at the very least accelerate movement thru a particular challenge or issue.
A great way to do this is to make a request i.e. "I would like to make a request for you to come up with 3 key strategies that could solve the conflict with your Director in half the time. You can accept, reject or negotiate it. What do you think?" The bottom line is to find a way to ask more of your coachee than they might themselves or support them in seeing something in a completely different way. If the request isn't quite it, work with them to find one that is and hold their feet to the fire. When we are coaching or being coach-like we are supposed to truly believe that our coachees are capable of so much more and they are! If we don't make requests that demonstrate we believe it is possible for coachees to solve that problem, achieve that goal, deal with that conflict, realize their dream, soar as a leader, take that risk, learn that new skill, ask for that grant, etc. then we are not being all we can be as coaches! What is the request it is time for you to make?