WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT COACHING? – Meta Reflections 2013 #15

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I returned to my home in Colorado this past week and in returning lots of calls to people, I had the opportunity to talk to lots of people about both the Meta-Coaching System and the Neuro-Semantic Conference in Malaysia this year which we have designated a “Coaching Conference” with 18 workshops … all of them related to the field of Coaching.  One person seemed to be genuinely surprised that we are devoting the Second International Conference of Neuro-Semantics to Coaching, and asked why.  “What’s the big deal about Coaching?”

At the same time, my daughter Jessica returned home so that we could catch up … and when I showed her the colorful brochure on the Conference, she also seemed surprised that we were devoting the whole thing to coaching.

“Why?” she asked.

“The reason why is because what we call coaching is really about being a professional communicator which begins with really, really listening, and then enabling people to sense that we care about what they said and think, and then asking the kind of probing, penetrating, and incisive questions that can get to the heart of things quickly and powerfully.  It also means listening and calibrating so precisely that you can mirror back their own responses so that people can actually hear and listen to themselves.”

Of course, in saying that, I was really summarizing the seven core coaching skills that we train and benchmark in the Meta-Coaching System.  With several of the people I talked to, I seemed to have an interested audience, so I continued.

“And when you can do that, then with your communications you can manage, lead, interview, consult, and do many other things that are of high value in companies and organizations.  And of course, you can coach, and you also have the foundational skills for counseling and psychotherapy. These are the essential skills that supervisor and managers and even senior managers need.  They are the skills for selling, skills that anyone leading an organization needs in selling ideas and proposals.  So that’s why.”

In one of the discussions, after I said all of this, the person asked, “Well, what about conflict?  And when I inquired a little further about what he meant, he said, “What about dealing with groups in conflict or even just with one person who is hard to get along with or lead, who is always complaining and bad-mouthing others?”

“Well, yes.  That’s where the mirroring skills really become powerful for constructive confrontation. First you calibrate to the person by receiving what they are saying, how they are saying it, and all of the non-verbal expressions that they use, then after some framing, you mirror it back so that the person can see and hear themselves- they can see and hear themselves as in a mirror, the mirror of your eyes.”

“And that works?  They don’t get madder because of that?”

“Would you like me to mirror that back to you? [“Yes, okay.”] And you are in a good enough state of mind and emotion to receive it? [“Yeah, sure.”] Then what I just heard you say in a questioning tone of voice that sounded like this, ‘And that works?’ And as you said it, your nose scrunched up like this (repeating what I saw) and your eyes went up like this (mirroring back what I saw) as you said, ‘And that works?’  (Pause) …  Okay, so how was that?”

That was pretty good I guess.  But, of course, I wasn’t upset in the first place.

“Yes, I sensed that.  And that is also why I asked the framing questions to make sure that you truly wanted the feedback and that you were ready for it.”

“Oh, that’s what you mean by framing!”

“Yes, as a communication process, framing enables the person or persons you speak to to have a way of interpreting what you’re saying so that it serves and enhances the interaction.  It gives them, in technical terms, an interpretative schema so that they will be much less likely to mis-interpret what you offer.  And it’s one of the powerful tools that coach or any professional communicator uses.  If what you have to say could be mis-interpreted, if it could ‘push a button’ and get someone upset or if it could be used against you later, framing helps to prevent that.”

“So that’s the big deal about coaching!  It’s really just communication skills- it’s just a way to make yourself more clear and precise so that there’s less mis-understandings and confusion?  Is that right?”

“Well, yes, although I wouldn’t use the word just as you did.  It is so much more than ‘just communication skills,’ it is some of the highest and most advanced skills on this planet, the ability to create mental clarity and precision, to align people to a common vision, to excite and inspire people to step up to the possibilities of their potentials, and to take the quality of their experiences and their very lives to the peak of human possibilities … so it is so much more than just communication skills.

“Okay!  When you put it like that – sign me up.  When is that conference or when is the next Meta-Coach training?”



L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.

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