Posts Tagged ‘coaching’

What’s your Personal Best?

September 17, 2012

Just over a week ago the closing ceremony for the Paralympics drew to a close what’s been an amazing run of success stories for athletes this summer from across the globe – both from the Olympics and the Paralympics.

Many world records were broken and many personal bests were achieved.

But you don’t have to be an athlete to achieve a Personal Best!

It could be argued that many of the 70,000 volunteers and Games Makers, who helped make both Olympics such a success, achieved ‘personal bests’ in the services they provided, such as the example of greater confidence in the previous link.

Personal bests can be achieved in a whole range of areas …

What’s the best conversation you’ve had with a colleague or friend?

What’s the best lesson you’ve taught or best bit of 1-1 tuition you’ve done?

What’s the best conference you’ve organised or meeting you’ve ever run?

What’s the best bit of mentoring or coaching you’ve done?

I’m sure you can think of other areas where you can recall your personal best.

So, why were they your best moments? How do you know – what’s your evidence?

One Head teacher I’ve worked with identified the following elements of a successful meeting with her SLT:

  • knowing what was to be achieved from the meeting
  • clarity and understanding of issues from all
  • enabling and facilitating everyone to have a voice
  • encouraging creativity
  • ensuring conclusions and next steps are identified by all (taking ownership)
  • identifying clear strategies for communication of outcomes to all staff

What would your’s be? 

Once you’ve considered personal bests in a range of areas, are there common strengths underlying each one? How can you replicate these common skills in other areas to achieve more personal bests?

The nature of personal bests mean that there’s always the potential to beat them, either by changing some equipment you are using or by changing / tweaking your actions.

What personal best will you achieve this week?

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m a qualified coach – why would I need my own coach?

March 14, 2011

I am an experienced and qualified coach, and yet I have my own coach. Why?

There are 3 main reasons:

  1. It keeps me on track with good coaching practice
  2. Having my own coach accelerates my progress
  3. It provides useful objectivity that I can’t totally provide for myself when working on challenges and growth areas

I’ll come back to point 1 shortly. Points 2 and 3 are valid reasons why anyone should have a coach. You can often ‘get there’ on your own, but it could take a long time and you could give up out of frustration or lack of belief it will happen.

You might argue that coaches have the skills and tools necessary to coach themselves. It’s true they have a certain advantage over those without coaching training, but I return to point 3 above, and state that you can be too close to the situation to really see it clearly. I find that coaching provides me with that objective clarity I seek to ensure a more successful outcome.

Over the course of my time working as a professional and personal coach I have employed 3 types of coaches:

  • A life coach – to help me with my ongoing personal development
  • A social media coach – to get me started on different social media platforms (she is also a qualified life coach)
  • A business coach – to give me clarity and focus in my business, through its changes and challenges

The first two have also doubled up as supervision coaches to ensure I maintain good coaching practices (point 1 above); and all have contributed to my own personal and professional development in some way. One of the most important aspects of quality control for my business is to continually develop my coaching skills, and regular supervision sessions are key to this.

There are a variety of coaches today, many of whom will specialise in a particular business/organisational sector or a particular development area, such as confidence building, stress management, or leadership development. When looking for a coach, it’s important that you choose the one that best serves your needs and who you can develop good rapport with quickly.

If you are a coach:

  • how often do you use the services of another coach?
  • what type of coach do you use?
  • what benefits do you find?
  • do you prefer 1-1 supervision or group supervision sessions?

The value of silence

February 10, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 10

Today I’m continuing the coaching theme for International Coaching Week, and looking at the value of silences.

What’s going on when people don’t immediately respond to a question?

question mark

Whilst recently training a group of teachers in coaching skills, one of the toughest things they found was allowing silences in the coaching conversation. These are the type of silences that follow a thought-provoking question.

Typical behaviour was for them to jump into the silence with another question, or they would rephrase the question. When asked why, they responded with:

  • the silence felt awkward
  • I thought they didn’t understand the question, so I asked another one to help them
  • I thought the question was too hard for them, so I asked an easier one

In response to the last point above, I would suggest the question had probably been pitched perfectly, and was really making them think.

Allowing comfortable silences was something I also found tricky when I first started coaching, but got better at with experience. Now it’s usual, and is one of the key features of a good coaching session.

Silences are valuable thinking time

In our fast-paced world, we don’t often have time to really think about things, to reflect on our successes or what we’ve learned. Coaching provides this. Not just through the questioning, but also through the coach allowing silences following questions. This is when useful learning is taking place in the mind of the person being coached.