What helps lessen the risks and fears associated with change?

I had arranged a telephone co-coaching session the other week. We are friends, ex colleagues and had benefited from a co-coaching relationship when we trained together. We haven’t been in touch much since I moved and the conversation became a bit loose and we soon slipped from coaching and into more a friendly conversation between friends.

Inevitably it was only partially beneficial and my friend remarked afterwards that my line of conversation which was blatantly offering advice set up resistance. She described herself as probably not a very good coachee in that sense as she felt quite averse to direct challenge. However she helpfully identified parts of the conversation where I had raised a question or challenge in a more subtle way that led her into a challenge that seemed ok. An example was when I said….”when you say that, it makes me wonder if………”

It was a very helpful pointer for me to not only clarify the style and what the person would like before starting coaching but also the blatantly poorer outcomes if the language of change is not in tune with the recipient.

It was also a powerful reminder for me as to the intrinsic qualities of the methodology Appreciative Inquiry to assist change. It’s all about the crafting of the questions we ask and how they are articulated……”We create our destiny by the questions we ask…..”

“The types of questions we ask determine the types of answers we receive; and “the seeds of change are implicit in the very first questions we ask.”

We manifest what we focus on, and we “grow toward what we persistently ask questions about.” (both quotes from Cooperrider & Whitney, 1999)”

 So!  I ask myself…….. “as well as what to I ask, how best to ask it?”

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