Sunday, October 30, 2011

The (not true or right, but useful) model of coaching

Dianne is away and so I volunteered to take notes. Of course, as always, these are my impressions. I have done my best to represent our time together as best I could. Please feel free to add comments to enhance all of our understanding.

"Checkin" had a bit of a theme to it today. Many talked about the tension between the way things are and the way we aspire them to be. Roger talked about this tension and the ways we cope with this. He mentioned a client of his who oscillates back and forth between exhilaration in the possibilities of the aspirational state and the depression and heartache of the reality of the current condition. He suggested this oscillation is amplified by our clinging to the aspirational state (and I suppose clinging to the current state also). He suggested it isn't really about holding on to either, but it is about the quality of our being in relation to the oscillation cycle. Do we say "It's good -therefore I'm good, It's bad - therefore I'm bad," or do we just notice the movement in our attention and observe it like we observe a "cool breeze"?

Roger then introduced what he initially thought was a simple model that is neither "right" nor "true." You can see the model in the picture here. Roger thought we could go through this in 15 minutes and then practice it for 90 minutes. What occurred was just the opposite. We discussed it for 90 minutes and practiced for 15 minute. Maybe we are all a bit dense.

As a side note…..Roger did say he only ever talks about one thing…..I do not know what this "thing" is……

I will attempt to explain the model (Maybe Roger can add or subtract as he likes) by discussing each step below.

Complaint. Our homework was to think of a complaint. Roger suggested it might be good to exaggerate and dramatize the complaint so you can really see the shape of it.

Roger asserted there are three types of complaints:

1) ones for entertainment and socializing

2) ones that create our identification as a complainer where people expect us to complain. This could lead to "role lock."

3) a complaint that is about something we deeply care about or are committed to.

One of us offered a complaint as a case study: Parents at his child's basketball games are yelling and clapping when their child's team does well and cheering when the other team does something poorly. He believes the parents should cheer for all the kids when they do something good. The parents also complain to the referees and are generally very competitive.

Narrative. This is where you as a coach will ask the other to tell a story about his complaint. The coach should listen and recreate as accurately as possible, asking to be corrected. Look for trends and patterns in the story or with other developmental conversations you have had. Pay attention to how you (the coach) are reacting to the story. Watch for how you might be hooked and decide, in everything, whether you will engage in that part of the story or by-pass it. This requires divided attention: Attention to other and attention to yourself.

Asserted Necessity. Here you will, as a coach, inquire about the assumptions, paying attention to what they see as "right" or "wrong." You may want to inquire about the consequences of the other's model. Try to find the thing they think "ought" to be a certain way and why? What is the value assumptions around this? Use lightness and humor if possible.

Displaced Commitment. (to tell the truth, reading my notes I am not sure I have this correct.) Look for the other's causal relationship to the complaint. Where is there judgement about what is right and wrong? Where is there a distinction of an other different from self. For instance in the complaint about the basketball parents, Roger noted that this complainer was enacting some of the same behavior: He wasn't saying to parents when they clapped "I am so glad to be here with you, I love the way you are clapping for the kids." He was silently disapproving of their behavior.

Range (inquiry). As we move to the right hand side of the model, we are looking for the absence of an other, and inquiring about our own way of being in a situation. Range is this movement. The exploration of "range" in the basketball parent example goes something like: "If the parents where clapping for all the kids when something good happened and just making room for mistakes, what would that make possible?" The answer was "then the kids would be happy, have fun, be joyful." the next question is "if the kids were happy and joyful, what would that make happen?' This line of questioning continues until the person answering moves laterally or retreats to talk about what wouldn't be present. This is where you can start asking about his/her context of service or mandate.

Context of Service or Mandate. We talked about this at a previous workshop so I don't think I will go into this a lot. The main thing is as a coach you want to really feel this persons context of service. Do not put your own in there. Really try to understand this.

The next two steps "Generative Forms" and "Process" should be skipped initially and the Indicators or results should be discussed.

Indicators. In this step you will ask the person to answer the question: how will you know the aspired state has been achieved. In our example: that the kids are having fun. Be careful here that you don't describe this in the negative.

The negative is actually not possible - by definition - but to create a negation, we actually have to fully create in our mind the idea of the thing we don't want. Then because we have it in our minds, the best we can do is to have less of the bad thing, we can not get rid of it.

It is better to describe an aspirational state as something positive existing that wouldn't have before. In our example we might say that the kids are smiling and laughing and the parents are too.

Generative Forms. Here we really look at describing the state if the mandate was held. How would that feel?

Process. This is where we ask the question, if we were living in a way that is consistent with our mandate, what would I be doing? how would I behave?

When discussing Generative Forms and Process we need to consider the ecology. Imagine it worked out as you want, what are the consequences, intended and unintended? If this happened how would you sustain it? If this happened what other coping strategies might you use? If this happened what might you want to conserve from the current situation?

A couple other things about the model. The right hand side is Intuitive. When we are in the left hand side we are living in duality, where there is an other, an object and subject. I think there are other things about the model, like the bottom of the page is grounded in the immediate and the top is something like the aspirations, but I am not sure on this.

When in a coaching situation, the coach holds the responsibility for the time so the other doesn't have to. Also this process should be bounded. Roger often sets up indicators and then checks back in a week or two so this doesn't go on indefinitely.

Homework: Divided Attention. From the time you notice you are awake in the morning until some predetermined moment (like when you brush you teeth, or cross a threshold) every time you breathe in say "I" and when you breathe out say "am".

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Liz, thank you for so richly capturing the time. Your recreation is very helpful to me.

    About the "displaced commitment". ..I found this an intriguing idea. What Roger said was that when you get to the "right/wrong" judgment, you've arrived as a kind of diplaced commitment. It is displaced from their real context of service. So, for example, say I am serving PEACE in the world. My judgment may be "they are doing it wrong" which has nothing to do with "PEACE" and therefore is diplaced from my commitment.

    The practice of inquiry in coaching, returns the real commitment (or "context of service" ) to the person and enables them to be creative, to rediscover their purpose and aspirations around it. But the contracted state of focusing on the right/wrong is preventing this from happening. (I'm speaking from my own experience as an expert judge of what other people are doing wrong. :) )

    Anyway, that is how I heard it.

    Thank you so much for these notes.