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Coaching Skills Exercise


I am currently writing a short course about coaching skills and am trying to find an exercise to illustrate difficulties of giving instructions; something along the lines of the one where a speaker describes shapes on a sheet of paper to a group.
Any ideas?
Thanks x10
Paul Walsh

2 Responses

    Hi –

    Last year I ran a coaching skills workshop for those involved in IT training, and used the following with great results:

    sit 2 people back to back
    give each person a lego board and 2 identical sets of lego pieces
    assign one person to be the describer and one to be the person doing
    ask the describer to place the lego on the board in any shape/pattern/layout
    they then have to describe the layout so that the other person can replicate the layout exactly

    The trick to this is to give a range of different colours and sizes of lego pieces. Some people put the pieces on randomly, others make a distinct pattern. Most forget to tell people whether to start with the rectangular board in landscape or portrait. Suprisingly, I’ve only found one person to use the pieces to build upwards. I’ve not yet had anyone solve this puzzle, and those doing the describing task report how hard it is to do such a seemingly simple task.

    Whole exercise takes about 15 minutes and you can do it in multiple sets. give me a call on 0161 244 6962 if you’d like any more info.

    Good luck!

  2. Domino’s & coats
    Two ideas: the first is similar to the one below, except instead of using Lego you can use domino’s. Get one person to set up a chain of domino’s in a pattern and then get them to describe that sequence to the other person. Its easy for the domino’s to be laid in different patterns but still work as a series, illustrating opportunites for ‘misunderstandings’ given in instructions.

    Another good exercise illustrates the danger of assumptions about peoples background knowledge and vocab.
    Lay a coat on a table . Select a ‘volunteer’ and inform them you don’t know what to do with it. Their task is to train you in the coats use as soon as possible. They can not touch you or the coat. The ‘trainee’ should distort the situation as much as possible, grabbing pcoket when told to grab collar, puting arm in sleeve in reverse direction etc. You can make this difficult by having ‘trainer’ turn his/ her back to deprive of feedback. Can then ask other participants for assistance. Good solution is to SHOW trainee how to use it, bringing in effective coaching principles.


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