Professional Effectiveness: Stretch, Impact, Reposition
Instructor: Jeff Leinaweaver
My experiences with my professional coaching sessions were very challenging to say the least. When I decided to begin graduate school, I never imagined I would be coaching my peers and they would be coaching me during my first quarter. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the experience and I learned a lot while participating. In my circle of friends, I am the one always handing out advice whether it is solicited or not. Because of this, I assumed these sessions would come natural to me. However, I learned by me forcing my opinion and advise on others I was trying to control them. Whitmore (2009), states “Building others’ self-belief demands that we release the desire to control them or to maintain their belief in our superior abilities” (p. 18). Relinquishing control is a new concept for me. The GROW model gave me a new way of thinking about holding others accountable instead of myself and not offering advice, especially unwanted advice.
My co-worker, Teressa T. was able to help me out with my workplace coaching sessions. Since we sit next to each other, we were pretty comfortable with each other. I felt our comfort level would put her at ease and allow her to open up. All three of our sessions were face-to-face, which was very different from my telephone sessions. I was able to read her body language and facial expressions. Teressa T. was considering a career change that required a change of location. She was nervous and very hesitant about what her next steps should and would be. I already knew a little background and I think it helped but I still had to ask a lot of questions for clarity. Our first session didn’t really flow because I was still trying to figure out how to transition through the GROW model. She was patient with me and allowed me to find my way. We found ourselves talking a lot about her goals and it took up most of the hour. During our second session, the plan was to pick up where we left off and we did but I detected the anxiety in her tone and I let it guide me to the right questions to get her thinking outside of her bubble. By the third session, my questions we more fluent and it felt more natural. I also found myself asking more open-ended questions instead of suggesting my opinion in a close-ended question.
My classmate coaching partner was Kim Knetter. Kim’s original partner dropped the class and I was still seeking a partner. I am so glad her original partner brought us together because Kim was a great coach. Kim and I coached via telephone. Within the course, we learned that you must be comfortable with the coach and the coachee. They must also be someone with whom you can think of positively. In our first session, we spent a few minutes getting a feel for each other. I was glad Kim elected to coach first because I was really nervous. She shared some of her similar experiences and it made me feel more comfortable with her. She really helped me with a life altering decision that was adding a tremendous amount of stress in my life. Kim encouraged me to be open-minded and boosted my confidence when it came to applying the options she helped me produce. She then left me accountable with the outcome of our sessions. When I coached her, I tried to ask questions that she possibly had not thought about, therefore, allowing her to look into the situation a little deeper and outside of her comfort zone. We scheduled 2 one hour sessions but they both lasted at least 30 minutes longer. With each session, I feel I was able to strengthen my skills as a coach and open up more as the coachee by learning from my partner. Key Insights
Initially, I wondered how in the world I was going to apply this GROW model without using the outline in the book and asking those questions verbatim. I also worried about transitioning from one to...