Raise Your Coaching Game by Using Post-Coaching Rituals
In the first year of my coaching practice, I began to observe an interesting phenomenon with those with whom I worked. Whatever issue I found myself struggling with—confidence, time management, holding difficult conversations—coincidentally showed up in coaching conversations as issues my clients were facing. It can be argued that these are common themes. The themes themselves were not the fascinating piece. It was the timing of the alignment of topics. Within days, or even sometimes on the same day, that I was working through an issue, it would appear in a coaching conversation I led. During the conversation, a question I would ask my client would linger in my head as a question that could help me work through my own situation.
At first, I began scribbling the questions on the margins of my note page in order to capture it for follow up. In my quest to stay present for my client, however, I found it difficult to capture notes for my own learning. I began scheduling time immediately after each coaching conversation to capture and reflect on some of those questions that emerged. On the days where the was no serendipitous alignment of topics, I used the time to ponder how I could more effectively and intentionally use this scheduled post-coaching time.
In that curiosity, I found myself returning to my first foray into coaching, where my continued learning and development was constantly top of mind. Many of us can recall the first phase of our coaching: going through a training program, scheduling as much practice as possible, working with mentors—all with the daily focus of identifying our strengths and growth areas. I began to wonder, What could it look like to integrate those practices as part my own ongoing development? The result: a loose process that blends this learner practice and the tools I use as a mentor coach; a practice I refer to as my Post-Coaching Ritual.
I use the term “loose process” because for me, similar to my coaching conversations, it is not a static, linear process. At the same time, my ritual consistently integrates the same elements.
- Client focus. Whether it is sending follow up notes, scheduling the next meeting or sharing some relevant resources, I use this time to make a list of items (and frequently follow up on) those things in service to my client.
- Personal reflection. This is the space I dedicate to exploring the thoughts and emotions that surfaced for during the conversation. This has led to the most informative, and often most surprising personal insights, driven by the following questions:
- What subjects triggered an emotional reaction?
- What two client-focused questions warrant further personal reflection?
- What part of the conversation most challenged my ability to stay present?
- What one to two things did I learn from my client conversation?
- Personal Development. Here I focus on my strengths and growth opportunities as a coach. This space has deepened my appreciation for the impact being a mentor coach has had on my development. Again, the work here is driven by questions.
- What one thing worked well in the conversation?
- Where did the conversation feel difficult? In reflection, what one thing could have made it flow more easily?
- What crucial thing will I start doing as a coach? Stop doing as a coach?
- What underutilized skill/competency, if added, would have made a substantial impact on my client?
- Action Planning. This is where reflection turns into tangible action in service to my personal and professional development. My action planning is focused on identifying:
- Next steps based on the reflection
- What supports I need to follow through (including working with my own coach or refreshing or obtaining a skill or competency)
- What obstacles may get in the way
- What will look different if I were successful in my action plan
My ritual has made me more intentional with my personal development. Unless I am able to step outside my comfort zone, challenge my assumptions, maintain a learner’s mindset and push myself to raise my game, how can I ask the same of my clients?
Copyright 2019 Fiamma Coaching and Consulting and Rosa Edinga