As you might know, in just a few days, I’ll commence my program in narrative coaching. Exciting times. In preparation for this, I’ve been tasked with addressing a series of interesting questions such as the following:
Which assumptions, habits, stories or outdated practices could you let go of in order to free yourself to work more powerfully as a coach?
The first thing that I need to let go of is the assumption that I have all the answers.
No longer am I the legal ‘expert’ imparting advice to my clients.
But I also suspect that next thing that I need to let go of is the assumption that my coaching clients have all the answers. It would be great if they did, but the reality is that they probably don’t although together, we’re meant to come up with something workable.
The third thing that I need to let go of is the assumption that there is some tried and true, ‘follow the numbers’ coaching methodology that will produce satisfactory results every time. Again, it would be great if there were such a thing but there isn’t although I suspect some would disagree because there are lots of catchy phrases and acronyms floating about in the profession.
My conclusions, to be fair, are based on limited experience. During my first residential week at Cambridge last autumn, we watched a live demonstration given by a very experienced coach working with the T-GROW model.
Quickly, the ‘client’ (volunteer from class) identified that he was having a career crisis (TOPIC). He needed help to make a choice between three very different options (GOAL).
Naturally, the coach explored whether more than three possibilities (OPTIONS) might exist, but the ‘client’ was adamant; he’d already given much thought to this so all that was required now was to evaluate the options and pick one (WRAP-UP). When he’d done just that, he seemed visibly relieved although he acknowledged there were downsides to his choice.
Just before Christmas we all got an email from that ‘client’ (volunteer from our class) saying that in the end, he’d pursued a completely different option. He didn’t explain why and because as the result of his choice he will no longer be on the program, we’re probably never going to find out.
Now, I can imagine a whole host of reasons why things would change for the ‘client’ over a period of a couple of months. That isn’t my problem. My problem is that the live demonstration we watched as coaching students was so slick, so slam-dunk, that it was so tempting to assume this model was the neatest thing since sliced bread. It might still be but I now have my doubts and so I’ll go into my narrative coaching program a little more wary.