Collaboration is key
We are currently working with our long term partner, Fiona Coleman at create-i Limited, to deliver a coaching programme over three days a month apart, for a key client. I have been reflecting on what this means for me - collaboration provides an opportunity to create a balance between bringing your own expertise, approach and methodology whilst blending that with someone else who has a different approach, to benefit the client. I find that particularly stimulating - I am learning a lot from another facilitator who has a different style to me and a different scope of experience. Nina Bainbridge is an experienced coach and in particular, works on a personal level with people to help them be the best they can be. She also works in some more challenging, social environments such as in prisons with young offenders. Nina has a lot in her tool kit and is very resourceful in bringing out the best in people, I find it particularly interesting to observe how she does it. What I bring in terms of my expertise is an ability to see how bringing out the best in someone individually may also assist in team and organisational growth and development. Together we have something really powerful to offer.
Participants on the programme have now had some exposure to coaching practice. They have looked at the GROW coaching model (Goals, Reality, Options, What will you do?) and use something called T GROW, which is defining a ‘topic’ and then using the grow model to help resolve challenges associated with that topic. We have covered coaching the person and how you can build deeper levels of rapport and understanding of an individual to enable them to see things differently, or to use their own resources and experience to resolve an issue and come up with their own solutions.
Nancy Kline, who wrote the book ‘Time to think’ expresses this as a person who provides a challenge, very often owns the solution - they know the issue and they also somewhere in their minds know the solution. The role of the coach is to help them to find their own solution and of course, to own it and then influence it. It requires the person to think. Part of the role of the coach is to enable them time to think. It is very tempting to step in and help the person, particularly if they are struggling with their own resources and they just can’t find the answer. I found this particularly interesting to observe in the people we are working with and tempting to help them as I too am solution focused. I have managed a team for a long time and I am always looking for what we can do and actions and tactics that we can take to move things forward. It really stretched me to slow down and to enable more thinking time in the people around me. Nina is really good at resisting the temptation to come up with a solution and offer ideas before the individual has looked at all the options themselves. We can help another person to come up with their own answers by asking really simple questions such as “What else?”. Just a two-word question can give a person the space to think about what else they could do, other options they have and what else might work.
Working with another facilitator enables us to focus on our strengths, whilst providing a learning environment that’s hopefully interesting, stimulating and rewarding for our participants - because they experience very different styles in me and Nina. I’ve had to re-examine my own levels of resistance because I’m used to developing content in collaboration with my team and delivering it myself. This is very different - I am working with content that has initially been developed by someone else. I need to have an open mind and think about what is behind the content and what I can take from it to make the best of my facilitation skills and style.