At a recent networking event I led a group through a silent coaching exercise. Many found it useful, and I was asked to publish the script I had used. Here it is, developed for my blog.
This can be used in one of two ways. You can either ask a friend to read you the questions or you can read them to yourself. Either way, you may find it useful to write down your answers, and particularly those to questions 16 to 19. It should take you no more than 20 minutes to work through.
Before starting, think of an issue that you’re wrestling with at the moment. It can be work-related or from your private life, but it needs to be something that matters to you and in which you’re a major player.
Got one? Then here goes.
1. What do you want to be different about this issue?
2. If you were successful in making that difference, how would things look?
3. How would that success feel?
4. In a year’s time?
6. In a few minutes?
7. Specifically, what will show you that you have been successful?
8. When, specifically, is this an issue for you?
9. When is it not an issue?
10. Is anything different at those times?
11. What have you already done to tackle the issue?
12. What has happened when you’ve tried to tackle it?
13. Was anything/anyone particularly helpful in making progress with it?
14. Apart from you, who is involved when it’s an issue?
15. Could anyone else be usefully involved?
16. Thinking back over all of this, what options do you have for tackling the issue?
17. Think again. What options do you have?
18. Now thinking right outside the box, without any constraints, what other options do you have?
19. And what options would your wisest friend come up with?
20. Looking at the options you’ve written down, which are the best three?
21. What help do you need? From whom?
22. What else do you need in order to make things happen?
23. What would show that you were making progress?
24. What small step could you take towards that in the next 24 hours?
25. Are you committed to taking that step?
26. If you aren’t fully committed, what would it take to make you so?
When I’ve used this process, many have found that it helps them to work their way through an issue that has been a problem for them.
It also brings out a key point about coaching – the coach does not need to be an expert in the issue with which you are wrestling. You are the expert in that. The coach is expert in guiding you through a process which helps you structure your thinking so that you can come up with the answer which fits the issue and you.
Sarah Mantell offers business and life coaching to individuals and small businesses in the South Lakes and North Lancashire areas. She is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and is currently working towards a fellowship. She holds CIPD certificates in Personnel Practice and Training Practice and has completed a Certificate in Manager as Coach Programme (Part I).