Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Who takes the notes?

A small bug bear of mine is 'who takes the notes in coaching relationship?'  An apparently small point I'd admit, but for me says a lot about power in the relationship and who is actually holding responsibility and ownership.

During a session many line managers I meet feel compelled to take notes because they believe they can't hold all the detail or that they will miss something vital. Fair enough if this so, but please, please, tell your coachees what you are doing as a minimum and even better if you give them your notes at the end of the session. Still better is learning to without notes altogether and giving your coachees you full and undivided attention - you can always capture your thoughts after the session.

At the end of the coaching session there is also a tendency for the manager/coach to take down the action points and agreement, perhaps sending them on shortly by email. For me this sends the message that the manager/coach is in charge and therefore responsible for the actions, as opposed to the coachee. If we believe that coaching is about increasing ownership and responsibility then this send out completely the wrong message. Far better to get the coachee to capture their own learning and action points.

So.. who takes the notes in your coaching sessions

Friday, 1 February 2013

Watch out for burn-out - issues in coaching

None of us are machines - despite our increasingly 24/7 lifestyles, all of us can only manage so much. A pattern I notice in clients is an expectation that the 'should' be able to manage all the demands on them. Rather than challenge the reasonableness of such demands the tendency is to 'soldier on'.

Which brings me to the topics of burnout - work for too hard and for too long we will succumb. Not good for us as individuals, those that love us, or the organisations we work in. It's therefore essential that coaches have an understanding of the early signs when working with over stretched clients:

  • Phase of big illusions - believing that we can change the world. Work becomes life.
  • Phase of frustration - placing too high expectations on ourselves leads to disappointment. We start to resent sacrificing our personal life, perhaps health problems start to niggle.
  • Phase of decreased vitality - we start to feel everything is a burden, we don't have time for play or personal development
  • Phase of apathy - work loses its meaning

Now of course it's not just clients that can burnout....