The Confident Coach 4: Challenging Perceptions

This is the fourth in a series of five articles about The Confident Coach. I thought it would be interesting to discover the factors new coaches starting out on their coaching journey report they are confident about; and how this is a predictor of their ultimate success. To do this we must track their progress over the first 18 weeks of the Coaching Master Class programme. Here’s how the programme works. After the initial training I run three coach-the-coach sessions at six week intervals. Session one focusses on the new coach’s confidence in the five key elements of the training. Session two on the business results being achieved with coaching. And session three to assess coaching capability. A couple of years ago I ran a worldwide Coaching Master Class programme for 100 top leaders. I’ve looked at my notes from coach-the-coach follow up sessions with the top 20 from this group to see what makes them ‘Confident Coaches’.

In the Coaching Master Class training I teach that there are instances in coaching where the Coachee will be experiencing limitations that stop or slow their progress towards achieving their business goals and fulfilling their potential. These limitation will be in their mind and be based on experience, beliefs, confidence, expectations, fears, self-image, attitude and personal agenda. Like it or not – this is their Reality. Whilst all of this may be submerged in their subconscious, it is the language they use and the emotions and behaviours they display which you can work with. The role of the coach is to challenge the Coachee’s subconscious limitations and stimulate them to take a different and more productive conscious path; enabling them to move forward with high expectations of meeting and exceeding goals.

Here is a selection of comments made by leaders during my coach-the-coach follow up sessions. They were all confident about their approach as coaches. What are the key factors for success being described here?

“I challenge his perception that he cannot change anything or anybody by asking open questions such as: ‘what are the main reasons for errors’; ‘what have you done to address them’; ‘if this is so important to you and the business, why did you not chase them until you get a solution’. Note: This direct and somewhat awkward questioning can only be useful when there is an environment of mutual trust”.

“Do not be afraid of confrontation. As long as there is no hidden agenda, everything can be discussed and debated. But the coach has to be in concord at all time to direct the conversation”.

“The coachee had a perception that people don’t understand him when he talks to them. I tried to ensure that this perception is cleared up and he gets some encouragement and self-confidence”.

“Challenging on a sensitive subject – asked questions with empathy and purpose to drill down into the issue”.

“When I challenged him to think more about the development areas he began to explore and share more on what his direct report could improve”.

“Very effective questions to shake him up a bit to ensure that he did not lock himself into the conclusion he almost had ready before the session”.

“I asked ‘if you put your foot into somebody shoes then how you will do this?’ Used challenging perception questions to unlock why there had been little progress – to identify what was holding him back. Then lots of listening once I had explained goals and put in English the reality being faced”.

“Once the coachee raised up his concerns and perceptions of current process/co-worker, I provide my timely observations and feedback to him. Then we jointly mapped out the possible scenarios and problems we might face in future with new solutions, and what is the possible quick-fix”.

“He was a bit pre-concluded on the direction he wanted to take but I knew that and had prepared a couple of good power questions – which actually made the outcome different from what he had expected”.

 

Further Reading:

Challenging Perceptions

The Confident Coach 3: Levels of Listening

The Confident Coach 2: Purposeful Questions

The Confident Coach 1: The GROW Coaching Model

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