At TLO, I’ve developed a unique coaching approach that helps my clients and me develop between us a cutting edge thought partnership. There are three distinct steps to this approach, each of which is important in its own way. These three steps are; Introductory Conversations, Educational Workshops, and Self-Directed Learning Experiments.
Step 1: Introductory Conversations
I like to begin every coaching effort by inviting my clients into at least one “Introductory Conversation.” The purpose of this, or these, conversation(s) is threefold: They’re designed to introduce us to one another, assess what our learning journey together ought to look like, and orient us to the conceptual issues, ideas, and principles that look like they should be essential parts of our journey. Once we've satisfactorily addressed these three issues, we’re ready to move on. With each new client, the decision about whether to move on or not is theirs to make.
Step 2: Educational Workshops
This step addresses two tasks: It establishes the ultimate outcomes that our coaching relationship is set up to accomplish, and it defines the conceptual frameworks that need to be the orienting guideposts for all our experimental learning efforts. Each new coaching relationship is unique, but these Educational Workshop(s) are a common and essential part of every coaching effort. They serve to orient my partner and me to the ideas and principles that form the conceptual foundation grounding our work together.
Ultimately two "products" come out of this “orienting” step. First is a simple list of the issues, problems, and challenges that are of concern to you. This is what I call your Growth Edges Map. Second, is a To-Do List that outlines for both of us where, how, and how far you want to go. I call this list our Bridging Document.
Basically, this educational step is designed to orient both of us to the outcomes you’re after, the issues, challenges, and opportunities that are your benchmarks, and the knowledge, skills, and abilities, that you’ll need to accomplish the outcomes you've identified in Step 2. With each new client, the decision about whether they're prepared enough to move on to some real-life experiments is theirs to make.
Step 3: Self-Directed Learning Experiments
This step is where you turn toward designing and implementing a variety of real-world learning experiments. It's the step where we, in concrete and practical ways, design, assess, strategize, rehearse, and then implement an array of self-directed learning experiments. Experiments that are aimed at testing, in safe but also challenging ways, exactly how you have to change your thinking and your actions if you’re going to deal with your toughest issues.
During this experimental step, the prime question we’ll be asking is whether or not each of the experiments we've designed is both safe enough and risky enough to actually show you how to create new ways to think about yourself, the people around you, and the results your actions typically produce. Through these personal learning experiments, you will place yourself in safe but powerful situations that expressly ask you to improvise fresh ways to squeeze new, more viable patterns of behavior out of the problematic situations that, until now, have eluded, stymied, or frustrated you.
The Simplest of Summaries
Three steps for every coaching effort; Orientation, Education, and Experimentation. The three components that -- when tailored to fit the needs interests, and learning styles of a specific client -- make it possible to optimize the results we create.