Categories
Coaching

PURE Goals

Now that you are making sure your goals are stated in a SMART way, you should also check that they are PURE.

  • Positively Stated – Make an inspiring and forward looking statement of achievement. Switch or invert negative terminology and find a restatement based on growth or improvement. Drop out “not”, “won’t” and other limiting phrasings.
  • Understood – There’s a easily explained “why”, you know what the goal means and you have a plan to achieve it.
  • Relevant – It’s aligned to your current situation, or the situation you are moving towards. It will help you reach your End Goal and achieve your dreams.
  • Ethical – It aligns with your values. It’s not just positively stated but it’s also going to have a positive impact on the world. If you achieve this goal, then something will have gotten better for a range of people.

Sometimes, it’s hard to write SMART goals, but we get better at creating them and holding ourselves accountable by doing, reviewing and refining. It’s the same with PURE. Your first statement might not match the criteria and that’s totally fine. Look at what you’ve written, restate it and keep going.

If you want to grow and change in a positive way, then have ethical goals, relevant to your wider desires, that are well understood and that are positively stated will give you the best opportunity to have the impact you want to have on the world.

Categories
Coaching Leadership

Interference

What is interfering with you reaching the pinnacle of your performance? Where is the noise coming from? What’s the one thing you can do right now to cut some of it out?

Interference is the heat and light that blinds you, stopping you achieving your full potential. This fundamental idea was shared by Timothy Gallwey, writer of the Inner Game, a classic text of modern coaching practice.

It’s a simple concept, your Performance is equal to your Potential minus the Interference.

You can take steps to increase your potential over time, by learning, choosing to reflect and grow rather than just do.

You can also perform better by cutting down on the interference. It might be your own self-doubt, or the nay-saying of those around you. Maybe it’s distractions in the environment, where too many options pull you in different directions. Possibly you don’t know what the end goal is, it’s too fuzzy and uncertain to progress.

Stop now and take five minutes. Where’s the interference right now? What can you do to reduce it, dialling down the background noise?

If you know where the interference is coming from, you can block it out and achieve your full potential, turning in to true high performance.

Categories
Coaching

Wave a Magic Wand

The Magic Wand is a powerful technique that opens you up to the full range of possibilities. It clears everything out of the way that can slow you down or prevent your progress, and empowers you to take that first step.

When you wave your Magic Wand, you imagine what the fulfilment of your dreams will look like, the great outcomes of achieving your goals. You jump over anything on the path to get there, so you see and feel what success is like.

Once you’ve done that, then you can return to where you are now, recognise the steps you might take and the opportunities you have available. You can take all of these, smash down any barriers and start your journey.

To take the first step, sometimes you need to see where the finishing line is. Wave your wand to get started, and let that magic help you make the first move.

Categories
Coaching

What do you value?

When we look at our reality, stopping to think about where we are now, then understanding our core values is a key stepping stone towards making lasting positive change.

There is no point chasing goals that will leave us unfulfilled. There’s no reason for you to do something that will not make you happy in the long run.

Value mapping is a powerful exercise to help you understand what is truly important. Is it friendship, family or companionship. Do you seek comfort or relish a challenge. Is security important to you, and is that wealth or health. Do you seek recognition in your field, or to make quiet yet significant impact?

It’s easy to say all these things are important, so we must seek to prioritise. First take ten minutes to write out all the things that come to mind as an important value to you. If that’s hard, don’t worry. There are lots of lists online to start from, scan a couple and pick some terms that resonate.

The initial goal is to get everything onto paper. Look for concepts that resonate, and be brutally honest with yourself when you are choosing what matters to you. Go with an open mind, seek what is right rather than what you hope would look good to an external observer.

By now, you might have a lengthy list. That’s especially likely if you’ve not really done this exercise before. Many core values will have positive associations, so your short list can be quite long!

The next stage is to whittle it down. Aim for a top 5, and certainly no more than a top 10. This might be hard, particularly when cutting down to the final few. Trade off pairs, removing the one that speaks to you less. If you need to, build a bracket and cut out a swathe at a time.

This list of five values might be enough. It’ll give you a strong view of what’s important to you, what will drive your thinking and what will be a great success in the future.

If you are ready, you can also rank this final list, sorting the values to find out what is truly most important to you.

Now you know what matters, you are ready for the next step in your transformation. You can rework your goals to align with your values and look forwards to powerful and long lasting positive growth.

Categories
Coaching

Coaching Tools – Model T

Miles Downey shares the simple ‘Model T’ tool in Effective Modern Coaching. It’s a really great way to get past the initial thoughts of a coachee, and to really dig into the issue that’s most important to them right now.

It’s a model to enable us to move further up the coaching spectrum, following interest rather than giving advice or guidance. It’s especially useful for novice coaches, who may find it easy to latch onto the first suggestion from a coachee, rather than spending time to explore other options.

If you find yourself jumping on the first suggestion offered by a coachee, starting to move into problem solving too soon or falling into mentoring modes, then pause and use this model to move back to a coaching posture.

The model has two stages, first we Expand, which forms the cross bar of a capital T. Here the questioning is aiming to put more options onto the table, empowering the coachee to share anything that may be of interest:

  • Tell me what else you notice?
  • What else?
  • One more thing?

Then we Focus, diving into the most important topic, the downstroke of the T. The questions are driving this focus, selecting the most relevant area for the coachee:

  • What’s most interesting?
  • What stands out?
  • What’s most important to you right now?

Use this simple model to help set the topic of a session, to expand on goals or options, or anywhere else you need to spend more time understanding the coachee’s thinking.

 

Categories
Coaching

Watch out for Why

When we’re coaching, we should find that the majority of our questions are Open, designed to trigger more conversation and to give the coachee the balance of time to share their meaning.

That means that we will prefer to use questions starting with words like What, When or How as these will tend to be answered with more than just a simple Yes or No response.

Why is also an Open question, but it comes with a warning label. If used incorrectly, it can sound as if the coach is accusing the coachee of something, or suggesting that their answers are not ideal.

“Why did you chose that option?” can be taken as an attack on the coachee, with an implicit assumption that the coach disapproves, or feels another choice would have been better. If this happens, then it can close down the coachee, and the coaching outcomes will be less successful.

We can mitigate this impact with careful use of tone and rapport, softening our approach to show a desire to understand rather than to judge. We can also choose to rephrase our questions, flipping a Why to a less strong term “What was your process when selecting that option?”.

If we want to shock the coachee into greater awareness or to cause some deeper reflection, then we can use a strong form of a Why question to trigger this thinking, but this should be approached with care.

So, with all this said, Why is a powerful tool in the toolbox of a coach. We shouldn’t be afraid to use it, but we should be considerate of the risks it may bring to the conversation and how it can alter the flow of a relationship with a coachee.

Categories
Coaching

Coaching Tools – Scaling

Scaling is a simple technique that you can bring to your coaching to unlock the coachee’s thinking about where they are now, versus where they want to be. Given the nature of the tool, it’s hard to pin down its initial origin, but it has strong history in various Solution Focused and Progress Focused approaches.

We open by asking the coachee “On a scale of 0 to 10, where do you currently rate yourself?”. The question should be tailored to their current goals or the topic of conversation. If the coachee wants to improve their public speaking skills, then the questions could be “On a scale of 0 to 10, how would you rate your ability to speak in public?”.

This question opens the conversation, with the aim of building a shared understanding.

We might next ask “On this same scale, where would you like to get to?”. It’s also useful to consider the extremes, “What does a 10 look like to you?”, “How about 0?”. This starts to give us a picture of the coachee’s thinking about this skill or area.

With the coachee’s scoring, it is important the coach doesn’t question the chosen score. Suggesting that the coachee should change their score, or rethink it, is likely to close the conversation, rather than open it. Far more useful is to question why a score was given “What is your thinking behind this 5?”.

Scaling can help us track goals, and also set steps towards achieving them. Starting at 2 and trying to jump to 9 may not be achievable, but the coachee can probably find some steps to take to move up in smaller increments, and you can shape this conversation as a coach, “What would it take to move to 4?”.

By revisiting the question over several sessions, we can build our understanding of how the coachee is approaching their goal, and show progress towards it. That can be a very powerful motivator in stepping up to the next level.

For some coachees, asking the questions may not be concrete enough. We can choose to sketch out the line along with the question, and mark the scores as we go. The physical representation can be very helpful in shaping the discussion, marking the paper can provide additional focus on the area.

As with all techniques, this may not work for you, or your specific coachee. It’s great to try it out, but if it’s not useful move on.

For those coachees that find benefit, I’ve tended to find it’s extremely powerful. Given the simplicity of deploying it, I’d very much advise every coach to consider it as part of their toolbox.