coaching blog - always feedback what you think you have heard
When a coachee presents the area they would like to work on with you, it is essential you feedback on what you think you have heard. You may think you have heard the area the coachee wants to work on, but unless you share this, you usually won’t know for sure. This becomes the contract between you and your coachee.
We all take information differently; some of us take big picture and creative things, others factual and specifics. Both areas are needed in life, but we all have a preference, and automatically our brains respond to the preference. Feeding back what you think you have heard confirms what you think you will be working on together. Always when working through a coaching session if you feel the coachee is changing in a different direction, it is vital you feed this back for confirmation. Sessions change direction, so the key is to pull back the coachee or re-contract.
Hugely interesting when watching coaching sessions, the different pulls in different directions you can witness when you pay close attention to both the coach and coachee. When supervising it is easy to sit observing, I call it the capacity seat. You can see how coaches get pulled in different directions from the coachee as they become fully engaged and maybe lose track of what was contracted at the start. The problem then is what was contracted at the beginning becomes a thing of the past.
If you notice yourself being pulled in, recognise this, it is very important you watch for this as a coach. If you get feelings, thoughts, and if you notice your behaviours start to change then important you share this in the session. If I am sat wondering, I say, "let's sit with wondering" and then notice what comes up. The coachee is likely to speak first and if so notice what is going on between the pair of you, not focus on the language. The communication difference between feelings and words is 55% vs 7%, so therefore it is essential you pay attention to this.
So feeding back is an essential part of coaching, I would suggest reflecting how often you do this in a session. Always interesting to see what you do or think you do. Coaching and being fully aware is key to be ing a good coach; contracting sets the direction for both of you.
Claire Moody is our head coach at Target Training, and you can read more about her here. She delivers training on all coaching and numerous training the trainer courses.