March 7th, we had an excellent workshop on coaching. People who were there; Angela van Son (trainer), Michael Bolton, Adrian Canlon, Ruud Cox, Zeger van Hese, Philip Hoeben, Jeanne Hofmans, Joris Meerts, Ray Oei, Jean-Paul Varwijk, Jeroen Rosink, Huib Schoots and Simon Peter Schrijver.
After eating pizza, the programme started with the question: What is coaching? What I put in my notes is that coaching is about finding answers. The coach supports the coachee by listening, asking questions and providing feedback. But it is key that the coachee finds the answers within him or herself.
After this introductional discussion we started with the first exercise. The assignment was to form teams of two people where one person is asking questions to find out what the destination of the next holiday of his or her partner is. Two minutes long, first only closed questions and in the next two minutes only open questions. The lesson learned from this exercise is that with open questions you make a coachee think of an answer while with closed questions the coachee can pick an answer from a discrete set of possible answers without too much thinking e.g. yes or no. To put it in an oversimplified way, from a coaching perspective, open questions are good and closed questions are bad.
The seconds exercise was about advice. Two persons are having a conversation. One person is asking for advice but the other person is not allowed to give advice. This exercise took 7 minutes per conversation. The result was hillarious. Some people were literally begging for advice others were using other tricks. From a coaching perspective this exercise showed that it is very tempting to give advice where the coachee has to find answers within him or herself. A lesson learned from this exercise is that giving advice is not bad, but it shouldn’t be the default.
The last topic on the agenda was about the layers of communication or the UI (onion) model. This model contains four layers which play a role in communication between two people; content, procedure, interaction and emotion, The reason why this model is called onion model is because it is normally visually represented as an onion. The content is normally most present in a conversation but there are deeper layers. All layers were discussed with examples but I didn’t make enough notes to add some examples to this post.
And that was the end of an excellent workshop. Angela van Son and Michael Bolton, thank you very much for being our guest this evening.
Angela van Son recommends the folllowing books about coaching (they’re all in Dutch):