Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Monday, 10 March 2014

Listening for the assumption - skills of coaching

One of the least useful pieces of advice I was given in my early career as a manager was 'Don't assume". Surely if I'd know I was assuming I wouldn't have done it! Assumptions are almost by definition outside of our awareness - they are simply the water we swim in. We develop habits of mind as well as habits of action, as a way of short cutting life's routines. After all, if we had to re-decide all our decisions everyday, including which side of the bed to get of, we really wouldn't get much done. However many of our assumptions - our habits of mind -  as well as being invisible, are simply outdated, have ceased to serve us and need revision.

On our own it is often very difficult to see what is an assumption and what is fact, so one of the more useful ways a coach can serve us is to help us see our assumptions afresh and give us the chance to do a bit of much needed rewriting.

We've all probably been taught about active or deep listening - and many of us have got very good at this. However an under-developed skill in coaching I believe is 'listening for the assumption'. I have been surprised how many times in my coaching practice the real shift often comes when we can surface and explore the nature of the assumptions that are being made by the client.

No comments:

Post a Comment