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Solution Focused Coaching applications for Kids and Adults

How can we use Solution Focused Coaching skills with our kids? What can we learn from them about coaching?

Troubled as to how to constructively handle the issue with our son, I decided to make an “experiment” and try some of the coaching and feedback techniques I use when I work with adults. After I gave him feedback about what the teacher said in a positive and not threatening way whatsoever, I asked the classic “scaling” question, as we often do in Solution Focused Coaching.

Mom-Coach: Aris, if we had a 1-10 scale where 10 is that you you are working in your group as much as it is required and 1 is the opposite. Where would you position yourself right now?

Aris: At 2.

Mom-Coach: 2!! Right... so you do agree that this needs to get improved, correct?

To cut a  long story short, Aris and I agreed to an action plan with stickers... and small improvement steps. .  I also asked his teacher to focus on Aris’ progress on this topic so that her “focus of awareness” would be on his improvements. Last communication with the teacher was that Aris has  significantly improved his behaviour in class.

The biggest surprise to me was how accurately our 8 year old son positioned his level of performance, and that he knew he was  at a 2 in relation to the required 10. I was able to confirm, once more, what we say about people at work. Most of the time people know,  or are quite certain, how well they are doing their work.

If they will admit it to their manager and accept to get coached about it, heavily depends on how each topic for development will be discussed  so  that when they have a “feedback” conversation they remain open, rather than defensive. This is what we usually explain to training groups when we introduce Solution Talk. Using the right words when starting a feedback discussion is of ultimate importance so that  this is a  discussion that keeps the communication channel open.

For example, I had a coachee who needed to improve his  attitude, he was perceived by his peers as “arrogant” but he couldn’t see it . He was Finance Director at a multinational company, fully eligible to become Managing Director but his communication style, especially towards his sales peers, was an obstacle to his promotion.

One day, during a coaching session, he started describing a board meeting where he referred to his peers from the Commercial dept “...sales people are so ignorant with numbers, they don’t have a clue what they really mean and all they know is…”. I grasped the opportunity and pointed out to him “I notice you have high expectations from others, you expect others to be at the same high level as you in terms of numbers understanding. I wonder how they feel about this.”

Coachee: Are you saying they believe I am a snob?

Olympia: I don’t know if we should put a tag to it, the point is whether this possible perception of others about you, is useful or is it something you would like to work on.

Coachee: I want to work on it... I don’t want others to think of me as arrogant.

The above conversation is of course shortened for practical reasons, but the message is that the more we avoid using negative words and adjectives, the more the possibilities for the other to open up , and to start working on improving some of his behaviours by himself.

This technique of presenting things within a positive frame, is called “Reframing” and is about a frame that allows further improvement. We basically describe the situation in a neutral and/or positive way, avoid using adjectives, especially negative ones, avoid any sense of judgementality. Some reframing examples are:

 

Adjective

Reframing*

* Reframing is always situation specific

Distracted

thinks of many different things simultaneously

Lazy

works at his/her own pace

Indecisive

Rips a topic to pieces before taking a decision

Moan

Constantly trying for the best, from his side

Bossy

Has a clear opinion / direction on everything

Stingy

Doesn’t let anything go to waste

 

Download the article in English

Download the article in Greek as published in HR Professional, March 2014

 

Copyright photo: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_warrengoldswain'>warrengoldswain / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

 

 


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