Coaching Strategies – Significant One
Since writing the blog post about one of the more prevalent enemies if change, the behavior pattern of the significant one, I have been living with the question of how to offer possibilities that can be heard. As a recovering significant one (some parts if personal mastery and self awareness are hard and admitting to unuseful behaviors and patterns is one of them) I found myself remembering two questions my boss used on me:
- What bothers/ concerns you about your solution/ piece of work ? ( Insert the label for work/ thinking that you are discussing ).
The intention here is to generate curiosity in a space where the individual doesn’t have an already made, well thought out answer. It avoids a confrontation with the certainty that comes with this behavior pattern. It also has the potential to shift the mood of the individual and open them up for possibility.
I am thinking of trying another two variants on this:
- If you could only use one aspect what would it be ?
- If you had to loose one aspect what would it be ?
The wording is generic and I suspect will change in a conversation, the intent is to create a possibility for introducing other ideas and thinking and creating an awareness of what is most important and what least.
A nice ontological coaching question set I am also going to be exploring is a variant of the grounding assessments pattern. A solution or answer could be considered to be an assessment and as assessments are judgments and not truth, they can be changed (for more about assessments and language see this blog post). The grounding assessment processes brings the evidence supporting the assessment out into the open as well as evidence that doesn’t support the assessment. It is this portion that has piqued my curiosity – can the certainty be shifted by shifting the focus from how I am ‘right’ to ‘What evidence is there that doesn’t fit?’
- What evidence is there that doesn’t fit your solution ?
The the solid sense of ‘rightness’ that comes with this pattern isn’t always easy to shift. For me it took a gentle touch and a consistent, yet persistent and subtle curiosity that created enough safety for me to find the courage to entertain other options! This approach meant I never felt judged or wrong, I felt encouraged to explore and stretch and along the way I started to realise how limiting my certainty had been.
How could you create that possibility and space for your teams ?