Are you a joiner-upper? I’ve lately become more of a one, as I build the environment I want for my Coach Supervisor presence in the world. Am now a member of some excellent professional bodies (EMCC; AOCS; ICF NSW) and am realising what joys and professional benefits I’ve been missing out on all those years.
Last night I attended my first ICF NSW event in Sydney. Splendid PD opportunity! It was presented by the NSW President Dr Paul Lawrence. I’d been surprised to receive a phone call from Paul a couple of weeks prior – simply to welcome me as a new member and ensure I knew what is available. ICF NSW certainly takes service to members seriously.
Paul’s presentation, “A Narrative Approach to Developmental Coaching”, introduced us to to a narrative model for coaching people at various stages of adult development. Thankfully, he achieved an elegant balance by including some theory input, group discussion and opportunity for experimentation – which for my learning style is the ideal blend. More significantly ( and more surprisingly in this context), he offered a re-visit in a few week’s time – a follow-up workshop for reflection upon our ongoing experiments. I really like this approach – acknowledging and enabling adult learning principles by creating real opportunities for reflective practice.
The lesson I took from this is that whatever the development setting, it is possible to cover all the bases required for real learning to occur. How many times have you been to a “talk” at these types of gatherings where the very experienced and competent speaker presents the very interesting topic, then we all disappear into the night with even more questions. I call these the “teaser” experiences – brief exposure to perhaps a profoundly significant body of thinking. Maybe we make the effort to check out the references the speaker mentioned – usually the next-day busyness overtakes and the questions we walked out with fall to the bottom of the “I’ll get to that later” chasm.
Reflection is the key to real adult learning. In this case, we are being invited to take some ideas away to experiment with, then reconvene to reflect on our experiences in a collaborative setting. And isn’t that what coaching is all about? You as coach, facilitating your clients’ reflections upon their activities, sifting through their ways of doing and being, then finding their point of lift and formulating new experiments – which will also be reflected upon. Not all clients are familiar with this approach to learning, so may need some assistance with developing the reflective habit. A simple framework of reflective questions can be useful.
And my supervision questions for you – what have you noticed about your own reflective practices? How are you engaging in reflective practice? How are supporting your clients in their reflective practice? What, if any, are your resistances around reflective practice?