6. Stimulating self-reflection
Self-reflection means that someone holds up a mirror to himself or herself in order to reflect on how he or she has handled certain matters. The degree of self-reflection determines the extent to which someone can learn from their own experiences to do better in the future. As a coach, you appeal to the self-reflective capacity of the coachee as much as possible. As a coach, you can stimulate self-reflection in the coachee in various ways:
Learning to look at things from different perspectives
a. Reflection from the first person: Ask the coachee to assess from himself how he thinks he reacted and/or dealt with something.
b. Reflection from the second person: Ask the coachee to put himself in the shoes of the second person who was present in the situation and ask the coachee to assess the reaction and/or manner of action from this position.
c. Reflection from the third person: Ask the coachee to imagine that he, as an outsider, sees another person reacting and acting as he has done himself and have the coachee assess what he thinks of this way of reacting/acting.
Working with metaphors
Working with metaphors during a coaching conversation can give the coachee new insights and food for thought to better deal with challenges, questions and problems. Metaphors are comparisons between the unknown or abstract and something more specific and easier to understand. By comparing, for example, the coachee's challenge with a quote from a famous person, a story, a fact or a personal anecdote, you can encourage self-reflection in a powerful way.
- Someone who is afraid to make mistakes.
If you don't try, you won't learn: we have all learned new skills by trial and error.
- Someone who is in the doldrums and doesn't know how to get out.
After rain comes sunshine, and fortunately we all know that what goes up must also come down and vice versa!
- Someone who does not like change.
If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got- Albert Einstein.
- Someone who has difficulty making a decision.
You cannot connect dots by looking forward, you can only connect them by looking back. So you have to trust that the dots will be connected in the future. You have to trust in something - your gut feeling, fate, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.- Steve Jobs.
- Someone who leads a team with little motivation.
If you want to build a ship, don't call men together to collect wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to long for the vast endless sea.- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Learn more about metaphors by watching the following film: http://www.ted.com/talks/james_geary_metaphorically_speaking.html
Find/create three different metaphors (anecdotes, quotes, stories, etc.) that would be useful during your coaching conversations.
The film director (do this exercise with a friend, family member or colleague):
1. Ask the coachee to recall a situation in which he was not happy with the result or the way
where he achieved the result.
2. Give the following instructions to the coachee:
Close your eyes. Picture a large television screen. On the screen you see yourself. Observe yourself as you really are: observe your facial expressions, posture, clothing, the way you breathe, look and perhaps even speak. Now you see yourself in the situation of your choice. As a television viewer, you can see what happens from beginning to end. Notice what you do, say, radiate.
3. Have the coachee open his eyes and blink ten times.
4. Give the following instructions:
Close your eyes. This time, you are a film-maker. The actor you saw earlier on the television screen stands before you on the film set. The actor is called (name the coachee) and is so good at acting that he can perform any role or instruction perfectly. You are very successful and talented. You are known for your creativity. You let the actor play your chosen situation in different ways until it is perfect for you. Keep refining until you are really satisfied; remember it is your film and you have all the time in the world to work on it.
5. Have the coachee open his eyes and blink ten times.
6. Ask the coachee how the last scene went and whether he is satisfied with it.
7. Give the following instructions:
Close your eyes. This time, you are the actor. You are asked to replay the last scene. Carry out the instructions and experience how this way of acting is and feels.
8. Have the coachee open his eyes and blink ten times.
9. Ask the coachee what it was like to deal with the situation in the way described and whether he is satisfied with it. If the coachee is not so satisfied with the result, find out together why and go through steps 4 to 9 again.
10. Give the following instructions:
Close your eyes and relive the situation as you have designed it from beginning to end.
11. Have the coachee open his eyes and blink ten times. Ask in which future situation(s) this new set of skills may be useful.
12. Give the following instructions:
Close your eyes, picture the future situation with your new set of skills and explain what is happening.
13. Close the exercise by asking the coachee what he has learned from the exercise.