Last week we had a class on coaching. When Graeme asked us what "coaching" means to us, I personally thought it is about training and directing people. When Graeme highighted that it is NOT training and the list of other NOT's, I was quite surprised. What does that mean then? How can we help without advising and giving solutions?
During the game we were divided into pairs, where one person was coacher and another coachee. Honestly, I thought it would not be difficult to me perform a coacher role, however I was soooo mistaken!!! I forgot about all the rules and started to show the direction and give advices. Suddenly then I remmembered that I should have avoided all of those, and tried to follow the rules. But I couldn't.. One another difficult part for me was to formulate a question that will help the coachee. I've understood that asking questions in the right manner requires from you to deeply understand the issue and,surely, to be a good psychologist.
I have been thinking why I failed this role, and I realized that too often we fall into saying and talking instead of listening. Because that is much easier. We tend to think that we see the problem from another perspective and give solutions to those who, as we think, cannot find it themselves. This thinking is partially right, but as a leader, you should guide people, not try to influence or give straightforward advices. Because you don't know how person feel about the issue himself. May be for you, the suggested option is the most suitable, but what does the "coachee" feel? They can follow your advice, even though it is not their way of thinking, and achieve good results. This creates dependence, and sooner or later those people stop solving problems and seeking solutions themselves. It is not good neither for a leader nor for the follower.
I realized that my role as a leader is not about saying people how they can act and react. Instead, I should try to learn how to help and show the direction in such way that they will feel all is achieved by themselves only. And that is right, nobody can help a person but he himself. You can help only if your "coachee" wants to find the way out, but not just you as a leader solving his problems. Moreover, I think, if person feels that he overcomes the challenges himself, he will be more self-confident and motivated in the future.
I think, that the class made me think about not only my behaviour in my future workplace, but also about the way I communicate in daily life. I believe, Leadership module will make me rethink the way I behave and communicate with people many times during the upcoming week.