Agile Coaching Exchange – Kim Morgan

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This week I attended Agile Coaching Exchange meet up in London. The guest speaker for the evening was Kim Morgan of Barefoot Coaching who is co-author of “The Coach’s Casebook: Mastering The Twelve Traits That Trap Us”

Principles of Coaching

Kim introduced us to some of the Key Principles of Coaching:

  • Listening to ignite the human mind
  • Presupposing success
  • Leveraging Motivation
  • Understanding Transformation
  • Use of emotion and creativity
  • Coach as instrument of change

Dynamics of Personal Change

Kim explained that transformational change is almost always linked to strong emotion.

A typical journey towards transformation includes:
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Kim also introduced to us the thoughts of Jack Mezirow who is widely acknowledged as the founder of transformative learning. Two situations that give rise to transformative learning are:

  • A disorientating dilemma
  • A state of puzzlement

In contrast we also looked at Peter Jarvis work which explores Non-Transformative situations which are everyday things that require no learning:

“Non-learning is our response to everyday experience. As long as experience conforms to our mental models, no learning is required.”

We also looked at common motivators for individuals. We either move towards pleasure or away from pain.

Coaching Cards

The first practical exercise of the evening introduced us to Coaching Cards. We used the Barefoot Coaching Picture Cards

Each person was asked:

  1. “Think about a time in your life where you experienced a significant change.”
  2. Select a picture card that represents that change
  3. In pairs, share the experience and why you chose that picture

Feedback following exercise:

  • Pictures acted as a bridge to get thoughts out into the real world
  • Our minds make a mental connection to the picture
    • This demonstrates “Physcological Projection” which was conceptualised by Freud.
  • Picture cards could be used for Sprint Retrospectives “Pick a picture card that you feel  represents this sprint.”

Listening

Next Kim introduced us to deep and bold listening citing much of Nancy Kline’s work in Time to Think

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She talked about listening as a belief not a behaviour. Interestingly there is scientific proof that genuine listening from another person generates the feeling of being in Love. Listening is a skill that many of us struggle with. How often are people interrupted in your workplace?
An interesting example  presented was from Doctors surgery. GPs thought they listen for 3 minutes when a patient first arrives into their surgery. In reality it was 20 seconds. This essentially led to longer consultation time and patients feeling like they weren’t understood. If the GP listened for longer they would have shorter consultations and patients reported better experiences.

To demonstrate the importance of listening we did another practical exercise.

In pairs do the following:

  1. One person assume the role of Listener
  2. One person assume the role of Thinker
  3. Listener asks “What do you want to think about today?”
  4. The thinker than has 5 minutes of uninterrupted thinking time. The listener cannot respond in anyway.

Feedback following exercise:

  • Thinker talks like the other person wasn’t there
  • Silence is good! Don’t fill the space with talking
    • PAUSE is very effective!!!
    • Think WAIT:
      • Why
      • Am
      • I
      • Talking
  • Helps to understand without interjecting. Our understanding of the other person isn’t so shallow if we listen for longer
  • When listening Body language important – Use it to express interest but avoid leading the session through body language

Want to explore coaching further?

I’d highly recommend getting “The Coach’s Casebook: Mastering The Twelve Traits That Trap Us” It is full of lots of real examples and exercises.

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