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Coaching the Person, Not the Problem

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Coaching mastery isn’t just about improving skills; mastery also requires that you quickly catch internal disruptions and shift back to being fully present with your clients. Part III explains and gives exercises for cultivating the three mental habits needed to master the practices of reflective inquiry:

  1. Align your brain.
  2. Receive (don’t just listen).
  3. Catch and release judgment.

I have had the opportunity to demonstrate to thousands of coaches worldwide both the essential practices and mental habits. Either they thank me for what they learned or they thank me for what I helped them remember because they knew it all along.

When I teach these practices to leaders, they realize their primary excuse for not coaching—I don’t have time—is based in their fear that they can’t coach effectively. They have probably tried and failed as they grappled to find good questions. This book gives leaders a coaching approach that reduces their fears when they discover easy steps to implement for quick and more binding results.

Once leaders work with reflective inquiry, they discover it is the best way to prompt a strong shift in perspective and action in a short time. Additionally, the conversations are creative and meaningful as well as productive, inspiring others to learn and grow. Employees feel seen, heard, and valued—the key to increasing engagement, productivity, and excitement around new ideas.

People who have experienced good coaching say it changed their lives. The essence of coaching isn’t based in problem-solving or performance improvement. Those committed to using reflective inquiry are change agents who actively recharge the human spirit. At times when events at work and in the world dampen the spirit, coaching brightens the path.

 

P A R T I

What Is a Coaching Conversation?

Coaching is so much more than asking good questions.

—Marcia Reynolds

 The founding members of the International Coaching Federation asked the question, “What makes coaching different from therapy and consulting?” The ICF definition of coaching emerged from this conversation:

“Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

The key word in the definition is partnering. Coaches do not act as experts or analysts even when they have relevant experience and education. Coaches are essentially thinking partners focused on helping clients use their creativity and resources to see beyond their blocks and solve their own problems.

The passion and commitment that fuels the continual growth of coaching is grounded in the coaching experience for both coach and client. For me—when I don’t give in to my urge to advise — nothing is more fulfilling than seeing my clients laugh at themselves when they realize they’ve been clinging to an outdated belief. I love the spark in their eyes when they discover the answer to their problems on their own. They feel relief and gratitude when they recognize they won’t be hurting anyone by following their dreams. When I feel the courage in my clients bubble up, it’s my pleasure to help them put their desires into motion.

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