AYE 2008 – Congruent Coaching

Continuing with my recap of the AYE Conference sessions I attended, I come to Johanna Rothman‘s session, Choosing the Right Coaching Approach: Congruent Coaching. This was a time-slot where I wanted to attend every single session. I chose this session because coaching is a big part of what I do, and Johanna is one of the best people I know to learn to coach more effectively.

My notes from the discussions are rather sparse. We talked about why we wanted to coach, and whether or not we were ready for it. We also noted the difference between coaching and teaching. We discussed different ways you can coach someone.

The meat of the session was the coaching practice. We broke into groups of three (except my group had four) and took turns with one of us coaching another on some problem the other had. The third (and fourth) person observed the session. After each such session we gathered in the larger group to debrief our experiences as coach, coachee, and observer.

Some of the coaching behaviors I observed:

  • Repeating the problem statement
  • Asking what “success” means
  • Affirmation of the coachee’s statements
  • Open-ended questions about the problem context
  • Behavior description questions
  • Questions to validate understanding
  • Probing for more detail or precision
  • Prompting to think of other options
  • Non-verbal cues of attention
  • Suggestion of a plan of attack–to deal with a behavior change first, and the underlying problems later
  • Suggestion of a plan for a future session, and an action to undertake before then.

And my favorite “sound bite” of the session was Dee Fuellgrabe saying, “The client can do with the problem what he wants. He can also keep it.” What a great reminder that we, as coaches, cannot solve the problem for the client. We can only help the client become better prepared to solve the problem.

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