Coach Yourself and Your Team. Tools for self-coaching and trainings
MONIKA GRZESIAK-CHMURA / TRAINER
ULA LESZCZYŃSKA / TRAINER
We present some of the tools that we have tested and found useful and valuable to share. Experiment with the techniques and adopt them to your needs or your target groups. Start with coaching yourself and then coach your team!
In this way you can figure out which of them work for you and as a result which ones you want to include in your coaching or training method. No matter if you want to coach yourself or coach individuals or your team, you’ll find most of these tools useful and inspiring. To make them more applicable we present instructions for both usages.
De Galan method
It is a five step process that can be used both for self-coaching and for coaching others. It helps to find solutions to difficult situations. Seems perfect, right? By using this tool you or your coachee need to answer five questions, each represents one step in the process.
First, identify the situation that is difficult, evokes difficult emotions or is challenging. Secondly, raise awareness of the current behaviour that brings the person to this problem. It will also help you get the deeper understanding of the situation. Thirdly, understand current effects of the situation. Next, come up with the desired effect. And finally, plan the desired behaviour that will start the change.
Now, take a look at this example interview that demonstrates the process.
What is the problem?
I’m not letting my team make mistakes.
What do you do when you don’t let your team make mistakes?
I give them very precise instructions and expect reports on progress with the project every week. When I see somebody doing things not in the way I would expect, I usually finish this work myself.
What does it bring to you? What are the negative effects? What problems does it create in your life?
I feel overworked and stressed out. I can’t keep up with all my work duties. My ‘to do list’ seems to have no end! The unfinished tasks pile up and I keep blaming the people for that. The atmosphere in the team is very tense.
What would you like to have instead?
I want to have the tasks finished without my interventions. I would like that people learned and shared their knowledge.
How can you achieve it? What can you do? What can you do different? What activities can bring these desired feelings and sensations? What can you eliminate? (choose one or two questions)
I can give feedback when I see people making mistakes and express my expectations more clearly. And I need to learn how to give proper feedback.
De Galan method helps to find solutions to difficult situations
This tool is also very useful when managing conflicts based on unexpressed expectations. By using this process you can help the group become aware of what is missing in the training or coaching.
You can also conduct midterm evaluation of your training or coaching sessions. To adapt this tool for these purposes, follow the same five step process:
1. What is the current situation and current behaviour?
As a trainer or coach, describe what has been done so far, what tool you used and what the expected results are.
2. What is the current result?
Check the current learning outcome. Ask the participants to draw individually a scale and mark on it their current learning (from 0 to 10, where 0 means no learning, and 10 represents excellent learning).
3. What is the desired outcome?
Ask the group where they would like to get with their learning in terms of numbers on the scale.
4. What is the desired behaviour?
Ask the group what is missing to go higher on the scale or what is needed.
5. Renegociate the training or coaching agreement if necessary, adopt the training or coaching to the needs expressed.
Radical honesty is the practice of always being completely honest and refraining from telling even white lies. Sounds difficult? Even impossible?
Well, you can give it a try because practicing radical honesty can bring amazing results. You might think that it will cost you too much energy to admit and fight all the lies you have been telling to yourself and to the others. Now, think how much energy you invest in putting on these masks, playing games, saying these little white lies or excuses. And how much it detaches you from other people. Even if you sometimes do it for the ‘right’ reason – to protect others or yourself from something that is not comfortable or that is difficult.
What if you stopped it? Became dare? What if you said to your partner or colleague at work what you really need or shared what is difficult for you in this relation? What is the worst thing that would happen if you answered these simple questions?
Radical honesty is the practice of always being completely honest and refraining from telling even white lies
If you want to try this tool, first you need to become aware how ‘honest’ you are right now on the honesty scale. To do so, create a list of at least 15 games you play. Yes! 15! I am sure there are even more! Be honest!
Now, create the list of at least 15 excuses that you use and 15 lies that you say (also to yourself!).
Take a look at them. Share your reflections with someone you trust. Reflect on the questions:
- What are you protecting with your lies, excuses and games?
- What would happen if you stopped them?
To practice radical honesty begin with these simple statements:
- If I’m honest with you, I will tell you … (about me).
- If I’m honest with you, I will tell you … (about you).
Observe the changes that it brings to your life. For me, it is lightness, strength and certainty and a lot of energy that I can invest into relations and things that are really important to me.
Where to use this tool?
First of all, use it ALWAYS in your everyday life. We do not like when people lie to us, why should we then lie to others? Secondly, and more precisely, it is a great tool to use during coaching sessions to create connection and rapport with your coachee and to help your coachee realise what being honest can bring. You can also experiment with this tool in a group setting to help the group solve the conflict or to introduce more trust in the group. What could bring us more trust than unweaving the tissue of lies covering us from head to toes?
Silent walk (phenomena process)
There is no tool simpler than this one. It can be also extremely demanding for some of you, BUT, if you finally decide to use it (with your target group or just for yourself), you will only benefit from it (do not get discouraged by some confusion that might appear at the beginning of the activity!).
What you need is just a lot of space (in our case these were beautiful hilly fields around the village of Ravnogor). The activity at first glance might seem a regular walk. There is just one rule: complete silence from the first to the last step. If you go with a group, you don’t tell your participants anything about the activity beforehand. What they know is that they are going to spend some time outdoors. Then, at the very beginning, you introduce the rule of complete silence and you walk. That’s it.
That’s it?, you might ask. Yes and no. The walk itself is “just” a walk. However, after an hour or so, you come back and reflect together on what has happened during the walk (if anything?). The idea is to discuss what, how and on what basis the walkers had imagined what the activity would be like when the very idea was (not) introduced, what assumptions they had had, how they behaved, or – most importantly – how their minds behaved throughout the activity.
Where mind-wandering can bring us to?
Now, why would this tool be demanding for some of you? How many of us decide to spend some time just with ourselves, led by nothing but the rule of complete silence, no phone, no music, no preparation, just you, your thoughts and anything that you can see, hear or feel (also inside yourself) around you (some Bulgarian cows in our case). For some it might seem easy, for others almost impossible. One way or another, try it yourself and see what will happen in the walkers’ minds.
To sum up, if you are still not convinced to try it with your group or your coachees, note that this activity – so simple in its form – can be very powerful. It involves such topics as communication, assumptions, thinking, self-coaching, and many, many more. Actually, what will happen during the walk depends solely on the walkers. How exciting is that!
You can use this tool for the whole topic of assumptions, how we create them in our heads.
Here are some example questions for a group reflection or self-reflection session:
- When did the process start for you? What was in your mind during the process?
- What was your vocabulary?
- What were you telling to yourself? How?
- What happened factswise?
- What did these thoughts bring to you?
- What did you learn about yourself?
All the tools presented in this article come from the Coach Your Team by Coaching Yourself training delivered by Smokinya Foundation in Bulgaria.
We are happy to be able to share them with you and contribute to spreading the skills and tools we’ve discovered during the training.
We’re waiting for your reflections, questions and any other feedback!
This article was produced as the result of the “Coach Your Team by Coaching Yourself” project implemented by Smokinya Foundation.
Project is co-financed by the European Union under Erasmus + Programme.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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