Unfolding the Learning Curve-The Inward Introspection
"Coaching is all about having someone believe in you and encourage you, about getting valuable feedback, about seeing things from new perspectives and setting your sights on new horizons." - Anonymous.
That is what the International Coaching Week that kicked off on 16th May 2016 was about. This year's theme was 'Peer Triad Coaching,' an interesting process for exploration and self-development. Peer Triad Coaching as the name suggests is a process wherein Triads (groups of three persons) are formed with one person playing a coach, the second a coachee and the third an observer. After each session of thirty to forty minutes, the participants change roles, with each one playing all the three roles in rotation. The purpose is to obtain feedback from each other to enhance the effectiveness of coaching of each participant and enrich the coach's working style by sharing observation and best practices. This article shares my experience of Peer Triad Coaching and my learning there from. It also attempts to explore on what made this particular intervention unique and its dynamism that enabled self- learning and introspection, which is essential for growth of an individual, especially as a coach.
Some learnings that unfolded during the two days are as follows:
It is interesting that whilst, we all follow competencies during our coaching sessions, we seldom have a chance of getting open feedback from the client or have someone observe us in action. "The International Coaching Week Peer Triad Coaching" enabled that for the coaches of the ICF Mumbai Chapter with a three-way communication that helped enrich the coach's working style by sharing of observations and best practices. This article shares my experience of the Peer Triad coaching and what emerged as learning for me there from.The Discovery:
The Triad coaching session began with the Relationship(i.e., establishing trust, ethical and professional standards, managing progress and accountability) and Purpose(i.e., coaching agreement, creating awareness, planning and goal-setting) being smoothly and interchangeably managed. The coaching presence was also demonstrated. However, somewhere in the conversation, I got disengaged as the client went on rambling about a challenge and the story made me wander off momentarily. That moment of disengagement impacted the Intention (i.e., coaching presence, active listening, questioning, etc.) that was required of me throughout the session. This feedback that I got from the observer made me do introspection and set me thinking on the following:
It made me do soul searching of how I had just jumped into this session instead of taking time to do probing as in my earlier coaching sessions. It made me question the why and think on what I can do to make my next session different and more impactful.
The realization that emerged was that here when I saw the client not able to come up with a solution, I was unknowingly leading the client to a solution to help arrive at their desired outcome. This happened due to the pressure of finishing the session within thirty to forty minutes.
Once I had understood the why, the how to go about it differently was as follows: Understanding new findings, unlearning for real lessons in the growth
My Insights or 'aha' moments came when I realized, post the feedback from the observer that somewhere I had got involved with the client's challenge at hand. Although certain competencies were demonstrated, the listening did not happen in depth and that is how the effectiveness got compromised. This understanding got me thinking on the following:
As coaches we have to keep practicing and sharpening the saw. We should be open to unlearning for learning just like one needs to empty a cup before refilling it again. This intervention made me realise the following:
The client's story is important, as it contains the essential elements that the client needs coaching around. As coaches, we provide them with
I end with a quotation, "You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it in himself." Galileo Galilei.
It helped me understand what I know and what I do not know, what is needed to move from 'Conscious competence' to 'Unconscious competence' in the journey of being a coach. That is what differentiates and makes one a seasoned coach who has experienced different client palates and adapted to suit their speed, agility and comfort in the journey covered as partner.
Note: I extend my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all my peer coaches in the Peer Triad, who deserve a special mention here. This article would not have been possible without the learnings I got from them. My sincere thanks to each coach who participated in the International Coaching Week. Being open to learning from every interaction and every situation has helped me immensely to grow both as an individual as well as a coach.
Parineeta Mehra is an ICF certified and Marshall Goldsmith certified executive coach. She is also a facilitator and trainer with leadership experience in global financial services, retail, including positions in sales, customer service, and business management. She led a corporate-wide culture transformation initiative for a BFSI company - a pivotal experience which ignited her passion for helping organizations grow towards tapping their unlimited potential optimally.
As an executive coach and facilitator/trainer, she has worked with organizations in areas of leadership development and personal reconstruct programs for middle and senior managers. Her strength lies in understanding the behavioural dimensions of work and enhancing people effectiveness across Industries. She calls herself a keen learner, who ensures that she presents the most relevant solutions to her clients at all time.
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