Resourcing the Coach

Man at Peace Between Two Yelling Women 600x400

Another important part of coaching supervision is resourcing/restoring the coach. Real coaching is demanding on the emotional and sometimes physical energy of the coach and client. If the work is productive and useful, energy and well-being for both tends to increase. (See research on Positive Psychology.) But when the coach becomes anxious or exhausted from the work, supervision can be a vital means of renewal.

This issue is especially true for internal coaches or externals with long term engagements. The research into brain neurobiology in recent years has revealed a physical part of the brain called Mirror Neurons. These are nerve cells which actively track the presence and actions of other people. A simple example can be found in any meeting where coffee or water is served. One person lifts his cup, and the action ripples around the room.

More importantly, humans become entrained into the patterns of action and of thinking within the organizations where they reside. As soon as a coach becomes unconscious of this entrainment, their usefulness is diminished. This occurs simply because we are human and humans adapt to their surroundings, even when they are harsh or undesirable.

Once again, coaching supervision provides an opportunity for the coach to step out of their surroundings and check in on their current response to the organizational environment.

And:

Resourcing the coach and dealing with unconscious processes are core aspects of coaching supervision. But let’s not forget, that sometimes coaching engagements are simply complex and benefit from time spent sorting out how best to proceed. This is often what brings coaches to supervision: “I’m stuck.” Good coaches know to get help. Good buyers of coaching know coaches and the ROI of their work benefit from regular supervision with a qualified supervisor.

How is coaching supervision provided?

  1. Individual supervision with one hour sessions in person or by phone. Research suggests that regular interactions at specified times produce the best results.
  2. Small group supervision outside the organization with coaches who are not in the same system. These sessions are provided to groups of 4 to 6 on a monthly basis over six or more months.
  3. Small group supervision within and organization. The convenience of this approach and the ability to notice cross organization patterns make this convenient. Extra care must be taken to assure complete confidentiality for all concerned and their clients.

——————————————————————————————

About the author:
Sam Magill is a Master Certified Coach in the International Coach Federation and has practiced since 1990. He studied coaching supervision with the Coaching Supervision Academy, United Kingdom, in 2009 and 2010. He is now Co-Director of CSA – USA and, with colleagues, has recently begun offering the first accredited supervision training in North America. Sam has presented workshops and spoken in the UK, France, Canada, Lithuania and Australia. His clients reside in countries around the world. He can be reached at sam@sammagill.com, at 425-787-0846 or through his website: www.sammagill.com.

Strengthen Your Team with Coaching

Business Team in a Line 600x407

Leadership teams are often confronted with changing membership, circumstances, and challenges that do not fit existing leadership patterns and practices. Coaching can assist the team in recognizing existing patterns, assessing their appropriateness for the new situation, and generating methods and relationships to move forward. As an outside agent, the coach can ask questions and encourage consideration of issues that are presently unheard or overlooked. Accountability for change can be developed jointly by the team and the coach.

What a team coaching engagement looks like:

  • A preliminary meeting, at no obligation, to identify the issues and see if we want to work together.
  • Interviews with team members to further define issues.
  • Coach reports findings to the whole team.
  • Depending on requirements, meet weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
  • Include check-back meetings to sustain change.
  • Alternatives include:
    • Leadership retreats for one or more days.
    • Coach participation in regular leadership meetings held in the course of work. (The coach’s job is to listen for the unasked questions that might make major shifts in thinking or progress.).
    • Intergroup conflict facilitation involving senior executives from two or more organizations.

If you are interested in my team building, group coaching and meeting facilitation, please click through to my Getting Started with Team/Group coaching page.

Getting Started with Coaching Supervision

Woman Older with Glasses Thinking 600x399

Are you curious about coaching supervision?  Wondering if it’s the right fit for you, and you for it?  Here is a quick set of guidelines to help the pondering process along:

Indicators you might be a good candidate for supervision:

  • You are a great coach and you hold yourself to high standards.
  • Your professional association requires coaching supervision after receiving your professional credentials.
  • You love learning about coaching and want to learn more.
  • Coaching isn’t as much fun as it used to be.
  • Contracting seems a bit harder.
  • You or your clients are not satisfied with results.
  • Your approaches are becoming routine or mechanical.
  • You have a challenging client.

If you are interested in giving coaching supervision a try, please contact Sam via email at sam@sammagill.com or by phoning 425-787-0846.

The Play at Rendezvous Hut

Cabin Lighted on Snowy Night 600x400

For your holiday reading pleasure, I present to you one of the poems I have written, entitled “The Play at Rendezvous Hut”. It reads a little like the holiday favorite, “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. Enjoy!

Je suis content.

The gas lantern hushes,
shhhhh, like an usher
waiting for the play to begin.

The stage is set with candle glow,
warm food settling in
now that we have eaten.

Outside
the dark cold world rests,
comforted in its snowy down.

Peace and quiet surround the hut as
all of nature waits for life to stir.

It is much more quiet out than in
where my chattery mind
keeps interrupting both the player
and those who witness
Winter’s quiet silent drama.

The usher keeps at me,
until, thought by city thought
I let the world slip away
content to be on this stage
where only the silence
speaks its lines.

If you like this poem, my entire collection is available on my website.

Happy Holidays!

 

All Great Teams Practice Off The Field or Stage – is yours in top condition?

Business Team in a Round

Leadership teams are often confronted with changing membership, circumstances, and challenges that do not fit existing leadership patterns and practices. Coaching can assist the team in recognizing existing patterns, assessing their appropriateness for the new situation, and generating methods and relationships to move forward. As an outside agent, the coach can ask questions and encourage consideration of issues that are presently unheard or overlooked. Accountability for change can be developed jointly by the team and the coach.

What a team coaching engagement looks like:

  • A preliminary meeting, at no obligation, to identify the issues and see if we want to work together.
  • Interviews with team members to further define issues.
  • Coach reports findings to the whole team.
  • Depending on requirements, meet weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
  • Include check-back meetings to sustain change.

Alternative coaching solutions for a group may include:

  • Leadership retreats for one or more days.
  • Coach participation in regular leadership meetings held in the course of work. (The coach’s job is to listen for the unasked questions that might make major shifts in thinking or progress.).
  • Intergroup conflict facilitation involving senior executives from two or more organizations.

If you are interested in learning how your team can benefit from coaching, please read my Getting Started with Team/Group Coaching guide.

Coming Home to Change, Part 3

Boats in Thailand Ocean 600x399

The final part of a 3-part series.  Read earlier posts of Part 1 and Part 2.

Following is an excerpt from Sam’s poem entitled “Homecoming” (Copyright 2007):

It is harder still to slowly grow into unknowing.
Having ventured forth before
You know there is a world waiting for you,
Waiting for you to see what only you can see,
Waiting for the conversation only you can have,
Waiting, with growing displeasure,
to teach you what only it can teach-
This time.

This time will not be the same as before
And so the going is hard.

We must go out again
Lest our homes become our tombs.
We must go out again
To be embraced
Upon returning home.

In spite of our reluctance to leave familiar surroundings, we know the future must be encountered in order to thrive. Every one of us who changes must, at some point, do the changing ourselves! Everyone of us who learns has to do the learning ourselves even if the rest of the world already knows the same things.

This voyage will not be the same as before. That is why change, especially when we choose it, is a liberating, exciting trip.

The strange thing is, that if we go out, “home” emerges again. What we come home to after each journey is our changed self, conscious of the goodness of the past as well as things we left behind and the opportunity to celebrate our new surroundings.

…………

Is there a “tomb” you need to leave?
Is it time to come home and celebrate after a long voyage?

Coming Home to Change, Part 2

Kid Boy Leaving Home 600x650

Part 2 of a 3-part series.  Read the first part here.

Following is an excerpt from Sam’s poem entitled “Homecoming” (Copyright 2007):

It’s hard to leave home
Even though you have done it a hundred times.
To step into the world is to step onto a road
That is not the same one you strode in before.
Everything and nothing has changed
And all the security of the last voyage
Comes undone with the uncertainty
Of the coming encounter.

It’s hard to leave home
Even though you have done it a hundred times.
The warmth and familiarity of your own hearth
Girds you from the rough fingers of the world
And the security of the front door makes it your castle.

We face a real dilemma when wanting to change! We know we must. We have changed before. We are most comfortable with things we already know.  And this time it will be different. The world has changed since we last left home! So, in spite of our years of experience, we are uncertain.

What do we do in this bind between being pulled forward and pulled back? One good approach comes from Appreciative Inquiry. In this well establish framework, we look for what we have learned and what we would like to take with us into the future. We examine our deep strengths that will be with us regardless of what we encounter. And we dream of what is possible. The dream is crucial and it must be compelling enough to draw our reluctant selves out the door and into the street.

I call my own practice “Walking Across the Street”. At the beginning of a year-long sabbatical, I realized I was becoming lonely in the absence of friends, work and familiar surroundings. One day I noticed a man talking with workers across the narrow street from our house. There had been a storm. So, with my heart in my throat, I walked across the street and asked, “How did your roof do in the storm?”

Just by that act of stepping into the unknown, I got out of my own way. Within minutes, I was introduced to a variety of people who became central to my sabbatical experience.

What security in your castle draws you back inside?
What are the “streets” you need to cross on your way to the future?
Who must you meet to create the new community of your work?

Stay tuned for next week, when we discuss Part 3 of this poem!

Coming Home to Change

Moving Into House 600x400

Following is an excerpt from Sam’s poem entitled “Homecoming” (Copyright 2007):

Tutankhamen wrapped in ancient cloth
Waits patiently inside his pyramid tomb
Thinking he will remain unchanged until his
Journey is complete.
But we know better-
After so many years of staying home
We know he will turn to dust
when he encounters the real world.

Many people say they want to change, but the fact is, truly transformational change is hard. Even our brains resist change, opting instead for homeostasis. Medically speaking, when tissue and organs are transplanted, the immune system must be blocked from rejecting the new tissue.

Then there’s the stance against someone else’s idea about change for us! I remember one moment in particular – A manager said to me, “If all this is such a good idea, why hasn’t someone thought of it before?” Change we want is hard enough; change imposed is even harder. At a recent conference (Coaching in Leadership and Healthcare 2013), researcher and professor, Richard M. Ryan, Ph.D. spoke about Self Determination Theory. He explained that people who work for controlling bosses feel worse about themselves and when people feel worse about themselves (consciously or not) their performance, persistence and creativity go down. It’s much like an immune reaction.

Leaders and coaches who help build real motivation, real commitment, real supportive relationships and  real visions that take into account self-motivation factors help generate good results. The research is done. Let’s not debate about controlling bosses or organizations anymore.

Next week, we’ll look at the rest of this poem – and the inside of change.

Organizational Change Management

Office Building Looking Up Towards Sky 600px wide

Organizations, like any other structures, can become outdated in vision, culture, processes, or structure. When an organization no longer fits its surroundings and stakeholder needs, its very existence is at risk.

Change Takes Planning and Support

A series of meetings can be designed and facilitated to inaugurate and generate intentional change. The work may involve a few people or an entire organization system. It is also essential to plan and support implementation of change to sustain the new benefits.

Write it Down

If you are looking for this kind of support, you probably already know something needs to change or that something seems to be missing. Write down what you know and who is affected by or could help with this issue. Then write a few thoughts about the implications of NOT addressing the issue. If there are no implications, there may not be enough “energy” to change anything.

The Process

The basic parts of a change process are:

  • Data gathering
  • Purpose identification
  • Change process design
  • Execution
  • Review
  • Support

Change Takes Time

Complex, large system projects can take two or more years. Smaller changes can take a few months. One approach is to contract for initial data gathering and purpose identification before entering a contract for the change process itself. Budgets are typically based on a daily rate and can also be based on the overall project. This kind of work can be expensive, but as one client told me recently, the benefits are still evidence ten years later.

If you are considering hiring me to assist with a major organizational change, please begin by visiting my webpage on Getting Started with Organizational Change.

Executive and Leadership Coaching

Business Man in front of Business Group 789x607

It’s not the good old days anymore.

Business and organizational challenges come at you fast and furious. You may feel overwhelmed or ineffective. If you are committed to being an extraordinary leader, you may need guidance to a new awareness and understanding of your situation.  This newfound consciousness results in thoughtful, well-reasoned actions. You are likely to find a place of calm wisdom you had forgotten you have.

Great performers of music and sports always have coaches, because they are committed to learning and know they cannot accurately see themselves in action.

As your coach, I lead you to increase awareness. We do that together by critically reflecting on:

Your role: What is it REALLY, regardless of title and job description?

Your history in current and previous roles: What has worked, what has been a challenge?

Your surroundings: What’s going on around you, why it is changing?

Other players: Who is around you? What is your relationship? What do you think of their work?
The future: What do you see? What do you want? How will you get there?

Balance: What will it take for you to be sound in body, mind, and spirit so you can do your best?

Once we have the lay of the land, I guide you to take responsibility.

Action: What should you focus on, what are you sufficiently committed to that might not be popular, but may be necessary? What is easy, now that you see it?

Review: We build a plan for staying on top of your work and results and fine tune activities as the future emerges.

Distinctions: What is truly your responsibility? What really belongs to others? How can you generate enough clarity and commitment so they do their jobs?

NOTE: I am not the coach for you if you are seeking quick answers from someone who thinks he or she knows your job better than you do. There may be some quick wins working that way, but it’s you who has to do the heavy lifting. I’ll be at your side, but I won’t do your work for you.

What an individual coaching engagement looks like:

  • A preliminary meeting to identify coaching objectives and see if we want to work together.
  • In-person coaching sessions that last one to two hours (generally).
  • Sessions booked as far in advance and as far into the future as possible.
  • Six-month agreement at the beginning—always with the possibility of rethinking or terminating the agreement.
  • Periodic review of progress and satisfaction with the coaching relationship.
  • Payment in two parts—half at the beginning, half at the end.
  • Missed appointments are considered held and charged unless rescheduled within 24 hours.
  • Other options we invent together.

If you are interested in Executive or Leadership Coaching, I invite you to click through to my Getting Started with Executive or Leadership Coaching page.