Why Does Coaching Matter?
I recently had the honour of participating in an Expert Coaching Panel at the Early Childhood Intervention Association (ECIS) NSW/ACT Conference which addressed the topic ‘Why Does Coaching Matter?”
On one level, I felt challenged about how I was going to share my insights about the value of coaching in just one hour, because over my 27 years practice as an Occupational Therapist and in my role coaching and training others with my Coach Approach Program and Workplace Culture Programs, coaching has become so much more to me than just a strategy or an interaction style.
Coaching has become a way of thinking, doing and being.
As I sat on the stage with the panel, I found myself looking out at the audience of Early Childhood Intervention practitioners, academics and parents and contemplating where I would begin. It was essential to me that I could convey the true essence of the incredible personal experience I have had in discovering, learning and embodying the Coach Approach both in my work and my life.
Think Like a Coach
So I started by exploring how a coach thinks.
I believe in teaching a person to fish rather than just giving them the fish. This is a key principle in helping people to learn the art of coaching.
By learning to think like a coach, you are better placed to know what to say, how to say it and how to empower others.
An effective Coach has thinking that is:
- open and
And this is much easier said than done. Here’s how I explained this further.
“It’s all about them not me”.
We are hardwired to focus on our own experience of the world. I don’t know about you, but if I am not being self aware, I can get sucked into assuming that the way I see the world is the same way that everyone sees it. I have learned that to be an effective coach, you cannot assume anything about what other people are thinking.
And in the process of doing this we begin to appreciate why coaching matters.
If we are able to constantly step outside of our own thinking and get curious about how the other person is seeing the world, then we are in a better position as coaches to develop strategies to help us really understand what is behind a person’s limiting thinking and action.
How open are you to looking at how open you actually are? How do you know that what you are doing in your work practice is what the theory intends? If you believe you are coaching parents, how do you know you are doing it well?
I have encountered many different views on what people think coaching is and how it relates to imparting the useful expert knowledge that we have been employed to share. The real challenge of how open you are becomes clearer when the person you are coaching wants to focus on something that you do not believe is of value. Have you ever encountered this situation? What’s your default reaction?
The honesty that comes with being open means that you are prepared to admit that you are not all-knowing and that whatever truth you find, there may be more to a situation than you realise.
Embrace a Flexible Mindset
With a flexible mindset you have the ability to more easily adapt to new situations, improvise, and shift strategies to meet different types of challenges.
It allows you to reflect on what is working, what is not and build on your strengths to figure out solutions to the presenting challenge.
Without flexibility there cannot be creativity.
Without creativity there can be no innovation.
Without innovation, there can be no solution and the problem remains unchanged.
Lack of awareness of our own biased thinking can be a significant barrier to effective coaching. Whether you are aware or not, your thinking is impacted by your unconscious baggage. This means that our unhelpful patterns of thoughts and beliefs may in fact prevent us from really listening and responding to others without our own judgments and opinions.
I have learned that the key to non-judgmental thinking is learning to ask questions, for which we do not know the answer.
Why Coaching Matters
Effective coaching in Early Childhood Intervention is a great way to implement Best Practice in your work with families.
I encourage you to keep reminding yourself to step outside of your own story and get curious about others. Ask great questions, listen with an open mind and do your utmost to be non-judgmental about what you hear.
Think like a coach and have faith in your intuition to know what to say and how to say it.
Coaching matters because the best way to help others is to help them to help themselves to support their child when we are not around.
I will be running a Coach Approach Training Workshop 10th-11th July in Melbourne. If you are interested to learn more, click on the link or email Jacqui at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Hi there! I’m Jacqui Snider and I’m here to help you and your business grow and flourish.
As an Occupational Therapist and Workplace Culture Coach and Trainer, I am passionate about helping individuals and organisations develop better home and workplace practices that everyone enjoys being part of. With more than 35 years of coaching experience, I have personally coached and trained in excess of 350 leaders, bringing about transformational change in both individuals and teams.
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Workplace Culture Coach & Trainer
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