I teach “the theory of the approach with no theory” every year at a solution focused institute every year and as a part of that workshop, I usually give a coaching demo. This year, the participants were very surprised at my “freestyle” approach to coaching (their words). That got me thinking on “structure” and “free flow” of a coaching conversation.
Why a structure is helpful for a coaching conversation
A coaching conversation centers the client and his or her experience. The coach is fully present, yet decentered. It is the coach’s job to keep what the client wants from the session in mind and to help the client find a way to think about moving forward as easily as possible. Structuring the conversation makes this a lot easier.
What you need to do to find a helpful structure in coaching
Here are a few things to keep in mind when coaching:
Why a structure can hinder a coaching conversation
You see that there are really only 4 things to keep in mind – however, in many coaching approaches, people are first taught a more elaborate structure of the conversation. Beginning coaches try to follow that structure and sometimes they feel like that they are not good coaches if the structure is not matched perfectly. Since client’s don’t know that structure, coaches are starting to struggle in the conversation: “But this didn’t go as it was supposed to!”. Spoiler alert: Coaching conversations rarely go as “planned”. My advice would be to start with a structure and then experiment with being present to the conversation at hand, going back to the structure in partnership with your client until you can improvise within the framework.
If you want to experiment with coaching freestyle, come to one of our free meetup and exchanges:
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