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The Outcome: Getting Creative


JC gets inventive and finds that Dee opens up to his more pressing questions.

“I like to read” Dee said. She shifted in her seat a little, and her expression showed a small element of surprise as if she hadn’t planned to give away that piece of personal information.

“Yes that is relaxing, I must admit I like reading myself,” I said to soften the blow of her admission.

“What sort of books do you prefer Dee?” I asked, “I’m a bit of a glutton for books about the human psyche myself,” I said with a sort of ‘what else would you expect’ expression.

“I like a lot of different sorts of books,” she said, going back to her defensive answering.

“Do you have a favourite author?” I asked.

“Not really,” she said.

“Are you one of those people like me?” I said smiling and dropping my voice to whisper as if admitting something, I wouldn’t tell everyone. “Who often has about three books on the go at one time?”

“Yes I am” she said and smiled a little, as if caught with her hand in a cookie jar that nobody minded her having her hand in really.

“Tell me Dee, are they usually different sorts of books as well?” I asked, again my body language and tone were as if we were co-conspirators in this pattern of behaviour. “I know mine are, because I can then pick up the one that best suits my mood at the time, I shared with her smiling.

“Guilty,” she stated. This was the first almost humorous response Dee had given, and her smile was much softer.

“Do you get to read most nights Dee, I know I try to, I miss it if I don’t manage to I have to admit”.

“I generally read for at least an hour,” she said, “It’s a bit of a ritual, so I tend or arrange things around that if I can,” she offered.

“That is a challenge, as I know myself,” I smiled.

“Do you mind me asking if you have a family Dee?” Dee’s body language changed as I was asking the question, we were stepping into less comfortable areas I could see that, but it was time to swing the pendulum a little.

“Two teenage children,” she said, offering no more than that.

“Same here,” I said, “Although maybe a little older than yours, Daniel is 20 and he lives with his mum, and Rebecca is 21 and she lives with her boyfriend,” I said. “How old are yours?” I asked.

“Sixteen and 18”, she said, “Two girls, Simone and Jessica”.

“Lovely names” I said smiling, “I’m sure they keep you busy.” I said offering her the facial expression that only parents are both permitted to, and understand how to show and understand.

“They have their moments,” she smiled, giving me the parent’s response in expression.

“I’m sure they do,” I smiled, “But just like Beccy and Dan, I’m sure they give you much to be proud of too.” I offered, showing my proud parent expression.

“So back to time management,” I said, without giving Dee time to answer the last personal element, so that she did not need to go any further into uncomfortable territory. “How do you organise yourself and your daughters, home, bills, etc so that you can get that hour of ‘you’ time each day for reading?”

Dee looked at me as she took in the question, and smiled a broad smile. “That’s very clever,” she said, and let out a little laugh to herself. Not an annoyed laugh; just a kind of ‘didn’t see that coming’ laugh, “I like that, so this is coaching?” she said.

I returned the smile warmly. “Yes, this is coaching,” I said.

“You see as coaches, we recognise that most people know much more about things that they wish to improve or change in their life than they realise. In fact, the very skills and techniques that they need to employ in one area of their life, they are already using in another area but haven’t seen the pattern or correlation between the two. I as a coach, have the privilege of sharing time with people and learning about who they are and helping them to see the patterns that they can use to drive change where they want it.” I let Dee take that all on-board and consider it.

“This isn’t at all what I thought it was going to be” she said, “But I don’t mean that in a bad way,” she quickly added and smiled.

“Good and thank you,” she said.

“What about this as a suggestion Dee? What if I were to ask you for the next session, to sit down and identify what it is you do and how you are thinking when you plan your home life and its challenges so that you successfully achieve an hour’s reading time as often as you do. Then at the next session we can look at what things in there we could adapt and transfer to your remit at work to achieve a gain in the outcomes that you are focused on. Would you be ok with that?”

“Yes I would,” she said. I could see that she was already thinking about the process with some relish.

“Fantastic, so let’s make that the goal for the next session, then we will pick it up from there,”. I suggested.

We discussed and arranged the most suitable time and date for the next session, completed the pleasantries and Dee left the session a lot more enthusiastic about the process that she was in then when she came in, which was my goal.

I headed back to the office by the cappuccino jail that I was fast becoming a willing prisoner of and made my notes about the session with Dee.

Key points:

  • Be inventive in your approach to a coachee’s defensive mechanisms.

  • Your key role is to engage the coachee in the coaching itself, before trying to engage the coachee in addressing the key factors for change.


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