Coaching Requires New Thinking
The shift from telling to asking requires new thinking.
In my last blog I talked about what coaching is. The most outstanding feature of the coach approach is that it relies on listening and asking skills to pull out decisions and solutions from the client vs the coach telling or providing solutions for the client. This shift from telling to asking requires new thinking on the part of the coach. Most of us have been raised in a culture of telling, advising, directing and commanding. It is the predominate mode of communication in our culture. Teachers lecture, preachers preach, bosses command and direct, athletic coaches direct and tell, parents lay the law down, and consultants give advice. Underneath the telling approach lies a basic belief system about people and how they learn and change. For sure, there are appropriate situations for telling and advising. But, overall the telling approach is the least effective way of bringing about real learning and lasting change. Information alone does not produce transformation.
What new thinking is required?
So just what are those beliefs that underlie a coach approach? What new thinking is required to shift from a telling paradigm to a coaching paradigm in helping others? In their book, Faith Coaching, Chad Hall, Bill Cooper, and Kathryn McElveen, present a chart of 8 shifts in beliefs we need to make to effectively embrace a coach approach in helping others. I have listed them below. On the top are a set of basic beliefs that tend to fuel the telling/advising approach. Right underneath is a different belief which represent the coach approach. The shift from From to To is what is needed in someone’s belief system for embracing a coach approach. This list of beliefs is not exhaustive but certainly gives a good place from which to begin.
8 Shifts in Beliefs
I understand things better than the other person
I have some information and the other person has other information
My goal is to get the other person to think the way I think
My goal is to understand and help the other person clarify
People without Christ are wrong
People without Christ are valuable, like a precious son, sheep, coin
Conversations must end with all or nothing
Change is a conceptual process that unfolds over an undefined amount of time
To be helpful, I must maintain control or else disengage the conversation
To be helpful, I must engage without being in control
I must maintain a mindset of evaluation and serve as critic to what the person says
I must maintain a mindset of curiosity and openness to what the other person says
Disagreements are bad
Disagreements can be very good
People change when they get the right information
People grow when they recognize truth more clearly and are motivated to change
Beliefs form mindsets which determine our behavior.
As you read down through these beliefs which ones did you find yourself agreeing with? Beliefs form mindsets which then determine our behavior. We all operate from a set of beliefs which are held, not just intellectually, but more at the very core of our being. It is these beliefs that drive our behavior – even our behavior as it pertains to helping another human being. To make the shift from telling, advising, and directing to listening, asking great questions and drawing out requires a certain set of beliefs about ourselves, others, and how people grow and change most effectively. Without those beliefs at the core of who we are we will most assuredly fall back to the default mode of trying to fix people with our expert telling and advising.
Coaching Core Values
Underlying and giving strength to the core beliefs which facilitate a coach approach is a set of core values. In my last blog I referenced the first one, believing in people. Here is the complete list of core values I embrace as a life development and spiritual growth coach:
- Believing in people: The heart of the coaching model is a belief that people are unique and gifted individuals, capable of thinking for themselves, processing information, hearing God, and making purposeful and strategic decisions for their own lives that can move them toward their potential and destiny in Christ.
- Relationship: Though our journey in Christ is personal, it is not private. Often the key to unlocking an individual’s potential and destiny is having a good change partner come alongside who believes in us, helps us think beyond what we have thought of already, gain fresh awareness, gain new perspective, point out our potential and encourage our true identity in Christ.
- Authenticity: Authenticity is the relational quality of being open and real with another person. It is expressed in a willingness to let others know us – our brokenness as well as our glory – in order that the relationship can go to a deeper place. Relationships of acceptance, trust and love allow us to be comfortable in our brokenness and celebrate our glory. It is my aim to create authentic relationships with those I coach.
- Empowerment: Empowerment is giving others the permission as well as the support and encouragement to reach for their potential and lay hold of their destiny in Christ. It includes believing in them, building authentic relationships with them, and giving them the freedom and room to grow.
- Personal Responsibility: When people are believed in, empowered and take responsibility for their own lives and personal actions, a powerful synergy is created for growth and transformation. That is why I believe asking great questions and fostering self-discovery is more powerful than giving advice.
- Process: The journey into our calling and destiny in Christ is a process spanning the course of our life and taking us through a variety of experiences through which God works for our good according to his purposes. Coaching recognizes and works with this process while helping others engage their own journey well.
What are some other beliefs or core values you would add to the lists above? What shifts in beliefs do you need to make to help you move from telling to a coach approach? What do you need to make that shift?