Awareness - that window into what’s working and what’s not - is the foundation for change.
The coaching profession values learning. In fact, coaching is all about learning. Our clients learn about themselves and howthey relate to the world. They learn new approaches to their challenges, either through new attitudes or behaviors. They learn to be more aware of the world around them and what’s happening inside of them.
It makes sense that coaches should be continuing their own learning, increasing their awareness and learning new approaches to their coaching and their relationships with clients.
Many consultants, facilitators, and coaches I know use the START/STOP/CONTINUE model to define how the future should be different than the past. They ask “What do you know to do that you want to START doing in the future? What are you doing now that doesn’t work that you want to STOP? What is still working that you want to CONTINUE?”
I think it’s useful to use this model when thinking about your own learning and how to improve your coaching.
What do you know about your coaching that is working well? How can you CONTINUE to do these things with confidence?
What do you know about your coaching that is just not working – for you or the client? How can you STOP doing those things in the future?
And where do you feel you have deficiencies? It could be things that you know you should be doing, but aren’t. Or you’re facing situations or clients that you’re not sure how to handle, and need new skills or approaches to feel more capable. What do you need to START to handle these better?
Before you answer these questions, take a minute to reflect. Do you know enough about your coaching to make good decisions about what to START/STOP/CONTINUE?
From my experience, it’s hard for coaches, on their own, to objectively view their own coaching. They have questions rather than clarity about whether what they are doing is working. So they are unsure whether to STOP or CONTINUE.
Their clients are happy and telling them the coaching is great, and they don’t have another way to tell is something is missing. It’s hard to START something to fill a gap when they’re not even aware of the gap.
Awareness, that window into what’s working and what’s not, is the foundation for change. Equally important is a model of coaching that sets a standard of what’s effective. Looking at your coaching (with an learners eye) against a model (that you believe in), you can start to understand what you can Start/Stop/Continue to become a better coach.
It’s further complicated when you consider that how well you coach depends on what you do and how you “be” while you’re coaching. Your technique might be fine, but your “being” might affect your ability to listen to and hear your client’s emotions or energy. Or you might have a connected and supportive way of “being”, but forget to challenging your client, or holding them accountable.
When was the last time you honestly reflected on your coaching against what you were taught? When was the last time you recorded a coaching session and listened carefully to see if you are using all of the coaching competencies? When was the last time someone you respected as an experienced coach listened to your coaching and gave you feedback?
Isn’t it time you made a serious commitment to START/STOP/CONTINUE for the sake of you coaching and your clients?