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Coach Someone- Me?

March 7th, 2010

When I first became a supervisor I wondered if I could do the work. I wondered how could I influence the behavior of another human being. That’s when I started studying the role of a coach in working with others.

As a parent of four athletically involved children, I volunteered as their team coach. I knew what it meant to be a sports coach, but how did that role apply to being a supervisor? And as a trained counselor, I knew how to facilitate a dialogue with groups. So how could I combine the two roles into becoming an effective coach of adults in the workplace?

That’s when I discovered the facilitative coaching approach as described by Dale Schware and Anne Davidson in their well written book; Facilitative Coaching: A Toolkit for Expanding Your Repertoire and Achieving Lasting Results. This coaching approach differs from most others in three ways: 1. it is built on three foundational theories; Mutual Learnings, Life Learning Model, and Drama Triangle, 2. the coach models openness and transparency in every human interaction, and 3. a variety of working modalities are used with the employee in order to engage the whole person.

Why is this approach necessary? Because people are complicated and learning is a complex process. A formula doesn’t work. Many times what seems simple and straightforward to bring about behavior change becomes blocked by a variety of barriers. Barriers like personal values, assumptions, world view, and old or outdated learnings. Getting individuals to change the way they do things may require a variety of tools and interactions with the coach.

When I began to understand the facilitatve coaching approach I realized how it mirrored so many of my personal experiences as a youth sports coach, as a supervisor, and even as a parent. This approach is based on being fully human and being in a human relationship. It requires time and personal commitment to provide the tools and experiences needed to bring about change. It recognizes that change is not just a matter of following certain steps, but that how those steps are facilitated by the coach are just as important. The more I learn about this coaching approach, the more I realize I can coach another human being.

In the next few postings I’ll share some of the guiding principles, concepts, tools, and techniques used in the facilitative coaching approach.

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