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Top tags: #coaching #COVID19 #COVID  Leadership Coaching 

Getting more from coaching supervision by Jan Allon-Smith and Andrew Scott

Posted By Lisa Ventura, Association For Coaching, 10 July 2020

We have had a co-supervisory relationship for several years, and over that time, we think we have learned a few things that will be of value to others in getting the most from their coaching supervision.

Increasing accountability

We always found our supervisory sessions very valuable as learning conversations; but there is always the risk that one then gets overtaken by busyness, and reverts to habitual ways of working, so that the insights and good intentions generated though the supervisory conversations get lost and forgotten.  Therefore, we agreed that a useful follow-up to our supervisory conversations would be each to write up our notes, including our plans to implement any learning, and send those notes to the other, so that we could re-visit them at the start of our next meeting, and check that we had taken the actions to which we had committed ourselves.

Improving reflection

Building on that, we developed a practice of reading each other’s post-session notes and then adding our reflections to the other’s notes and returning them. This has proved a remarkably valuable addition to both of our reflective processes. Despite having written one’s own notes, or possibly because of that, one reads the others with a sense of surprise: Is that what you thought was going on!?  I thought it was… or sometimes: Yes! Or likewise: No, I saw it like this… or Oh, I hadn’t noticed that …  

This process has many benefits. The first, and perhaps slightly less obvious, one is this: knowing your supervisor is going to read and engage with your notes may prompt you to write them with more thoughtful or analytical reflection than otherwise.  Just knowing that someone may ask: What question or intervention contributed to that insight? Or Why did you decide not to intervene at that point?  prompts you to ask yourself such questions as you write your notes.

Secondly, of course, getting your notes back with comments on is invariably enriching of understanding. Thirdly, reading the other’s comments always adds more perspective and understanding. And finally, the appreciation implicit, and often explicit, in the process is very supportive of a high trust/high challenge supervisory relationship.

Sharing our preparation

A further improvement we have developed is to share our preparatory notes. We both recognised that we get more from the supervisory meetings when we are better prepared, so we developed a pro forma that we believed would help us prepare well. That includes:

·         a review of the previous session’s notes for themes etc,

·         a reflection on actions since the last meeting;

·         a précis of our coaching sessions and relationships since then focusing on our coaching practice;

·         identifying patterns, themes or particular issues of practice, clients or sessions for discussion;

·         deciding what to bring to supervision;

·         checking if there is anything we are avoiding discussing;

·         reviewing where we are up to in our supervisory journey. 

From developing a joint approach to preparation, it was a short step to agreeing to share that in advance; both as a way of supporting each other’s intentions to do this properly, and also to inform each other before the session of the issues we want to discuss.

And of course, reading each others’ notes means that sometimes one of us sees a theme that is worthy of exploration that the other has missed – a blind spot, an assumption, or so on. These topics help inform agenda-setting when we meet, with coaching practice always a priority for time and focus.

Experimenting with different approaches

As we both studied supervision in more depth, we agreed to vary our approach; and in particular to try out different models and techniques, and to share our sense of what worked and what didn’t as part of our mutual learning journey. So, we have experimented with Hawkins’ seven-eyed model, with the Thinking Environment approach to supervision, with the use of pictures and dice, exploring Philosophy, Purpose and Process, different perceptual positions, shifting stories, and so on.

This has been an excellent way of developing our understanding, as coaches: being subject to different supervisory approaches prompts different kinds of reflection and cultivates a richly resourced ‘internal supervisor.’ And of course, it also supports our learning and development as supervisors as well.  Being in an established supervision partnership provided an opportunity to play creatively as we explored different supervision approaches and developed our own practice frameworks.    

Broadening the agenda

One of the impacts of using these different approaches has been to broaden the agenda of our conversations. Not only do we discuss particular coaching sessions, or coaching clients, and patterns of practice; we have also started to pick up on broader themes that we wish to explore to develop ourselves as coaches. A recent example that arose from our consideration of various client situations was power; we both agreed to do some reading and thinking about this and had a rich and thought-provoking discussion about it, drawing on many sources and perspectives, and leading us to identify the next question that we need to explore.

Likewise, our exploration of Hewson and Carroll’s work on reflective supervision has led us to think further about the concept of a coach’s practice framework, and how supervision can help a coach to make that more explicit, and then to modify and improve it in the light of reflective practice.

Conclusions

We have found that by continuing to review our supervisory relationship with both creativity and critical reflection, we have made it even richer and more resourcing; and also continually refreshed. It requires more effort and commitment at every stage, but the rewards have amply repaid that.

Jan Allon-Smith and Andrew Scott are both experienced and qualified coaches, members of the Association for Coaching and the Association of Coaching Supervisors, and founder members of the Coaching Supervision Partnership.

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Generation Y and beyond by Karen Walters

Posted By Lisa Ventura, Association For Coaching, 10 July 2020

Theme: ‘Next Generation as Leader as Coach’

2020 will be known as the year of the COVID19 pandemic. It has been a bittersweet pill to swallow but we have all learned something about ourselves especially with regards to our tenacity and increased sense of community. However, where would we be without the technology that allowed us to stay in contact with family and friends. This technology also provided the opportunity to continue to work from home. The agility of businesses and leaders has been tested and those able to react quickly to change have amazed us with their resilience, creativity and adaptability.

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to attend a series of webinars hosted by the Association for Coaching (AC) and delivered by Hetty Einzig titled ‘The Future of Coaching’ and I immediately went out and bought her book.[i] Hetty states that ’if the workplace continues to promote a culture that encourages a competitive win-lose model, with ……..high levels of exploitation…….increasing numbers of millennials will opt for the risks of entrepreneurship.’

Millennials are also referred to as Generation Y and represent the population born between 1980 and 2000. They are the digital generation who have greatly influenced the way we live and work and are deemed to be the key influence of the rapidly changing world we currently find ourselves in. There are around 17 million millennials currently in the UK and therefore as a group, they are worthy of our attention. Before we can make predictions about future generations, we must gather clues from this group first.

Hetty’s own research identified that millennials have expectations associated with information technology that are redefining how we work. ‘Technology and …social media run in their blood.’ They want instant leadership and ‘demand more transparency’ and accountability than previous generations. Social entrepreneurship is growing as a result of this group and establishing a solid global platform is achievable through the advanced technology they have developed. In summary Hetty states that whilst ‘their lack of deference can ruffle feathers….this may be just what is needed right now to grapple with our global challenges……Impatience, coupled with…..technology…..makes them a formidable disruptive force.’

I have witnessed the increase in management trainee apprenticeship schemes. offering postgraduates the opportunity to be fast tracked into management positions. I have witnessed the inception of the digital age and the move towards flatter organisational structures. I have witnessed businesses moving towards greater social responsibility, as their customers are driving this change.

In my role as a coach, I have witnessed high levels of stress and, in the worst cases, burnout from millennials. The causes can be categorised under:

·         unrealistic expectations of themselves and others;

·         poor work life balance

·         workload demands and

·         lack of appropriate leadership management training.

We are living in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world and COVID19 is a prime example. We need leaders who have the skills, resilience, creativity and mindset to be able to navigate turbulent seas, squalls and doldrums. Leaders who have the foresight to change course before the storm hits to bring the business and their employees safely through.

The world of business and the role of the leader is changing and whilst we are spoilt for choice in the number of models available to us (each with their own unique viewpoint) there is a greater expectation for successful leaders to display certain emotional intelligence (EI) characteristics to be truly inspiring. Daniel Goleman spearheaded this topic in 1995 and it is also linked to evolutionary survival and adaptation (Darwinism).

What is so special about EI and why do I think it is important for current and future leaders to possess these characteristics? Leaders who have high levels of EI are resilient and more self-aware. They cope with daily pressures and are quick to recover as they can manage and control emotions. They are intuitively able to understand how others feel and develop effective relationships. They have social responsibility. They set and achieve goals that represent a holistic viewpoint. They seek first to understand before being understood and are typically positive, optimistic and lead by example. They are committed to maximise potential of themselves as well as others. However, they are assertive and decisive decision makers when needed as well as confident and inspiring to be around.[ii]

How do you increase a Leader’s EI? There are a number of models that can be used to measure a leader’s EI which are valuable in Leadership Coaching. The interpretation of the results should be available prior to the coaching session. The coach can work with the client to develop a SWOT analysis from which a development plan can be created. It is important to note that these models are to promote greater self-awareness and is not a map to a particular destination.

I am pleased to witness a greater awareness and appreciation of emotional intelligence as a core strength in leadership. I believe that as we move towards greater automation and increased application of AI, remote workers, working flexible hours that fit with their own life patterns will become the norm and our next generation of leaders will benefit from coaching to deal with the staff management issues this presents. COVID19 has accelerated the process and provided organisations with a glimpse of the new world of work. Now is the time to invest in Leadership Coaching programs. The Association for Coaching Conference 2020 is a good place to start making connections that will transform your business and provide a framework for developing the next generation of leaders.

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-walters-ab5a5388


[i] ‘The Future of Coaching Vision, Leadership and Responsibility in a Transforming World’ written by Hetty Einzig and published by Routledge

[ii] Chapter 4 of Leadership Coaching Working with Leaders to develop elite performance (2nd Edition) edited by Jonathan Passmore, Association for Coaching publication (Kogan Page)

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Coaching with Compassion, learning from a coaching great by Alex Morgan

Posted By Lisa Ventura, Association For Coaching, 10 July 2020

This week I met Richard Boyatzis via Zoom, it was needless to say a total honour and a pleasure. Professor Boyatzis is Distinguished University Professor of Case Western Reserve University, and has been researching in the fields of organisational behaviour, psychology and coaching for over 40 years. Richard will be speaking at the Coaching in the Workplace conference this Friday.

Coaching Career Journey:

When I meet an expert in any field, I’m always fascinated by their career journey. One seminal moment in Richard’s journey was serendipitous.  Looking for a potential career change from aerospace science, Richard somewhat sceptically decided to take an MIT university class with David Kolb in Organisational Psychology. The decision to take the course was simply on the back of the course description saying ‘no tests’ (Richard describes himself as ‘test-phobic’.)  It turned out to be the start of a fruitful collaboration with Kolb in the late 1960s, applying research on motivation via management training, leading to the inclusion of 1:1 feedback and coaching in their programmes. Since then Prof. Boyatzis has made significant contributions to research in the area of the science of coaching, including 39 behavioural studies, 3 FMRI studies, and supervising 30+ dissertations.

Allowing the client to dream

Professor Boyatzis’s research shows us that the best place to start a coaching relationship is to allow the client to dream. That’s not to say goal setting isn’t important, but that should come later. Research shows that creating the opportunity for the coaching client to enter a dream-like exploration regarding what they would love to do, the person they would love to be and imagining a situation where everything in life was perfect, is the most effective way to create Intentional Change.  Research shows that the “push” type of helping i.e. giving advice and offering tips and solutions closes the coachee down by arousing the Negative Emotional Attractor, (NEA),  resulting in emotions such as guilt and shame. Prof. Boyatzis calls this type of helping behaviour “the helping bully”, a deliberately strong term, which reminds us that true helping interventions require the “pulling” type coaching behaviours, arousing the Positive Emotional Attractor, leading to emotions such as joy, elation and hope.   Professor Boyatzis argues that arousing the PEA is essential when helping a coaching client create a motivating personal vision, and this is the core of his Intentional Change Theory.  This process allows a coaching client to connect to a deep sense of purpose and results in real, sustainable change.

Coaching with Compassion required more than ever in our COVID and Post-COVID world

Prof. Boyatzis believes compassion is the key ingredient in a coaching or leadership.  He and colleagues have shown that coaching with compassion results in more openness in the client, and helps them learn and change. This is described as the resonant relationship , a relationship which involves kindness, mindfulness, empathy and hope.  This, he believes, is the antidote to our current state of fear due to the pandemic, financial worries and social unrest. In order to be the best coach in these circumstance,  Prof. Boyatziz recommends paying attention to your own (the coach’s) personal renewal during the day. Renewal practices include mindfulness, meditation, yoga and prayer which lead to positive mental renewal, reducing stress.  In turn the coach can encourage these practices in their coachees, and combined with a compassionate coaching approach will result in a positive, enabling experience for the client.

The Infection of Possibilities

So, in this current pandemic environment, coaches can, as Professor Boyzatis would put it, create an “infection of possibilities” by creating positive emotional contagion through acts of kindness and empathy.  As coaches we are best placed to lead this type of contagion and can start with our clients, who in turn can create resonant, compassionate relationships with their colleagues and families. The first step is to engage in renewal practices for ourselves to ensure we are resilient, positive and hopeful.

See Richard Boyatzis this week

Coaches and leaders will get the opportunity to hear Prof. Boyatzis speak this week at the Association for Coaching’s online conference Coaching in the Workplace. The talk entitled The Science of Effective Coaching will draw on decades of research into emotional intelligence, competencies and coaching, as well as hormonal and neuroimaging studies, showing the audience examples of what effective coaching feels like and what neural processes foster or inhibit it. The audience will have the privileged opportunity to engage with Prof. Boyatzis in a Q&A session, an opportunity not to be missed for coaches who are serious about understanding the science behind their profession.

Blog writer: Alex Morgan, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader, Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Coaching, Leicester Castle Business School

https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexjmorgan/?originalSubdomain=uk

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Coaching: Opportunities and challenges in the business and education workplace by Rebecca Raybould

Posted By Lisa Ventura, Association For Coaching, 10 July 2020

I am looking forward to the Coaching at Work conference as an opportunity to pause and reflect more deeply on the opportunities and challenges facing those leading a coaching approach in organisations. As my work is mainly in the education sector I see the conference as a chance to immerse myself in the experiences of those from other backgrounds. In the way that travelling abroad helps us understand more about our own country, I expect that my virtual travel to the conference will throw into sharp relief the current reality for those using coaching in education. Through exploring the experiences in other sectors I aim to bring a critical eye to underlying assumptions about coaching in schools and leave the conference with ideas about how practice could be developed.  In preparation for my ‘journey’ I have reflected on some of the opportunities and challenges that I currently notice in my work as a coach and leader of coaching training.

Opportunities

The value of coaching is increasingly being recognised in the business and education sector. The changes resulting from Covid-19 are seen by many leaders as creating an opportunity to strengthen coaching in their organisation. The recognition of the importance of attending to the well -being of colleagues along with the understanding that work practices will need to change to respond to the ‘new’ world create a powerful rationale for strengthening the use of coaching. This has resulted in leaders in education and business setting up opportunities for their staff to participate in coaching sessions during the last few months to help them adapt to the changes. In addition leaders are considering how they can build coaching into the organisation’s professional development so that it becomes part of the ‘way that we do things around here’.  This recognition of value, and commitment to embedding coaching offers powerful opportunities for the colleagues involved and their stakeholders be they customers or students.

Challenges

Of course, there are always challenges to be considered and I notice that a couple of themes are emerging for those leading coaching during this period. These relate to clarifying who the coaching is for and deciding how the impact of the coaching is judged. Less high on the agenda of leaders is the challenge of nurturing and challenging their coaches. However, this is something that I believe warrants attention.

Who is the coaching for?

In business, coaching figures such as Hawkins and Smith (20) and  Blakey and Day (2012) have highlighted the importance of coaching attending not just to the needs and goals of the coachee but also the stakeholders of their organisation. Similarly, in education the evidence about effective professional development has highlighted the importance of student needs acting as the starting point for the setting of teacher and leader professional goals (Cordingley et al. 2015). Covid -19 has not only reaffirmed the importance of attending to the well-being of workers in every sector but has contributed to an increased awareness of the importance of attending to the needs of the earth (AC et al. 2020). Of course these needs do not completely sit in tension with each other but a key challenge for leaders is developing practices in the organisation that enable the needs of the coachees, the direct stakeholders ( be they customers or students) and the planet to be balanced.

How do we judge the impact?

The recognition of the complexity of evaluating coaching in a way that moves beyond coachee immediate reactions features in the literature in both business and education.  The importance of a multi layered approach that considers impacts on coachee and stakeholders over the short and long terms is increasingly understood. The importance of evaluation being used to support improvement of the coaching (a formative function) rather than being a summative judgement is also an increasingly emerging theme in the education world. However, whilst there is growing understanding, there is still a long way to go in consistently embedding practical and manageable strategies. So a key challenge for leaders is in setting up practical ways to embed and balance the collection of evidence of the impacts on coachees, stakeholders and the planet, and balance the formative and summative functions.

How do we nurture and challenge our coaches?

In the enthusiasm to strengthen coaching within an organisation the ongoing professional development of the coaches can easily slip off the radar. Coaches may be reticent about seeking support as they see themselves in the role of the enabler At this time when others are in life threatening situations coaches may also underplay their own needs. Yet we know that coaching those who are experiencing challenging situations whilst also navigating the realities of even the released lockdown (such as carrying out home-schooling) places its own demands on the coach. The value of supervision in nurturing and challenging coaches is increasingly recognised but uptake is still low (Hawkins et al. 2019). A key factor can be the resourcing demands. Whilst some leaders are building supervision into their provision, I believe a key challenge is embedding practices which balance the needs of the coaches, coachees and stakeholders and planet in a sustainable way.

As I virtually travel to the conference and participate in the sessions I will be endeavouring to listen out for these and other themes, so that I can return with a fresh perspective on practical ways to respond to the opportunities and challenges of developing coaching in the educational workplace.

By Rebecca Raybould

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebecca-raybould-23101a62/?originalSubdomain=uk

References

AC, APAC, APECS,EMCC and ICF (2020) Agreed Joint Statement on Climate Change. Available at https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.associationforcoaching.com/resource/resmgr/email_images/global_new/AGREED_JOINT_STATEMENT_on_CC.pdf

Blakey, J. and Day, Ian (2012) Challenging Coaching: Going Beyond Traditional Coaching to Face the FACTS  Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Cordingley, P., Higgins, S., Greany, T., Buckler, N., Coles-Jordan, D., Crisp, B., Saunders, L., Coe, R. (2015) Developing Great Teaching: Lessons from the international reviews into effective professional development. Teacher Development Trust. 2015. Available at http://www.curee.co.uk/node/3187

Hawkins, P and Smith, N ( 2006)  Coaching, Mentoring and Organizational Consultancy McGraw-Hill Education. UK.

Hawkins, P, Turner, E & Passmore, J (2019) The Manifesto for Supervision. Henley-on-Thames: Association for Coaching, and Henley Business School. ISBN: 978-1-912473-24-3  Available at  ( https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.associationforcoaching.com/resource/resmgr/home/manifesto_for_supervision_20.pdf

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Want to be a better leader? Start here: Gina Lodge, CEO, The Academy of Executive Coaching (AoEC)

Posted By Lisa Ventura, Association For Coaching, 17 June 2020

We have all speculatively talked about what the fourth industrial revolution will mean for the future workplace, but covid-19 is presenting itself now as a major wake-up call when it comes to the ways we live and work.

 

We are seeing a perfect storm. The pandemic has accelerated our dependency on technology and at the same time, shown that some leaders are missing the crucial capabilities needed when tested by the unexpected. Gaps and disconnects have surfaced, businesses have endured massive disruption and it has clearly underlined how outdated some leadership styles are for the needs of today’s organisations.

 

In recognition of our own fragility we have seen employers rally to support their people, communities come together to look after the vulnerable and the country unite to thank our frontline workers. We have also rushed to check that our family, friends, and colleagues are safe and well. 

 

Indifference and formality have been replaced with kindness, concern and altruïsm. The ‘always on’ culture has been swapped for making time for ourselves and others.

 

In making sense of this new normal, we have had to seek out ways to cope, help, and to survive. And we have done that incredibly well by using our intrinsic human skills of collaboration, empathy, communication, and problem solving.

 

For me, this opens up a valuable opportunity to re-evaluate our leadership models so that we can improve our ways of leading and managing now and in the future. By championing these human qualities in the business setting and embracing the learnings coronavirus has presented, we can build better businesses that are not only doing right by their people, but that are more able to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to economic and productivity outcomes.

 

Shifting to enablement

 

Uncertainty is uncomfortable and it has left some leaders outside of their comfort zone. Not only have we all had to move along at the same pace as change, but we have had to try and adapt to the new surroundings which means the need to learn new skills.

 

If they are not already doing so, then leaders need to switch from micromanaging to enabling. Leaders talk of the importance of empowering their employees, but making sure they have the capability, confidence and resources to get their jobs done is their biggest responsibility here.

 

Additionally, while health and looking after our employees’ wellbeing has been a top priority for employers, we are now seeing a far profounder need for leaders to demonstrate reassurance and direction. Deep worries about the future of business and job security are mounting and workers are looking to senior executives for signals of hope and cues on what comes next.

 

A new standard of leadership

 

Through the coronavirus pandemic we can see that the command and control leadership model does not belong in this era. Organisations that work with this kind of hierarchy are weakened because they are not investing in the skill set most needed to operate in volatile, changeable environments.

 

We need to reconstruct our very idea of leadership and focus on qualities and attributes that allow us to harness change, maximise opportunities and succeed in turning challenges into possibilities.

 

Change can be an agent of good and leaders who are prepared to welcome and work with it, will have the upper hand when it comes to making uncertainty work to their advantage.

 

Leaders need curiosity so they can lean into change. They must be brave so they can take calculated risks and lead their people with authority and they also need to know they are safe in their role and in making the choices and decisions they do when it can impact far and wide.

 

In coaching, psychological safety is a necessity. The very essence of any form of coaching is anchored in feeling secure and the success of all coaching interventions depends entirely on the level of trust and openness created between the coach and coachee(s). Without that connection and belief, the coachee is automatically disadvantaged because they are not in the space to achieve change.

 

The same applies in the workplace when it comes down to how well leaders, managers, teams, or individual contributors perform. If they have no real sense of belonging, connection, psychological safety or trust, the potential fallout comes in the form of resistance, disengagement, underperformance, and lower productivity.

 

Wherever you sit on the organisational chart, psychological safety on all sides has to be a major factor in the behaviours you exhibit and be central to the actions you take to back up your words.

 

In the Coaching in the Workplace conference you will have the opportunity to hear about the power of safety and how developmental techniques such as coaching and mindfulness are used to transform the capabilities so essential to leading.

 

As you will learn from Mark McMordie’s presentation, there is a more powerful approach to leading that will play to the best of your strengths, enable you to leverage all of your human skills, deepen your confidence and resilience in the face of change and empower and inspire your people.

 

Take it and make yourself and those under your leadership, the very best you can be.


Gina Lodge is the CEO of the Academy of Executive Coaching. She has over 20 years’ experience in management and is an accredited executive coach. LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/gina-lodge-6a053a13/

Tags:  Leadership Coaching 

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A Whole-Person Approach to Mental Health:Coaching in a Time of COVID by Andrew Scott

Posted By Lisa Ventura, Association For Coaching, 17 June 2020

A whole-person approach to mental health: Coaching in a time of COVID

The stresses of the current crisis – both for coaches and for their clients – mean that we need to be more mindful than ever of mental health. The combined effects of the fear of illness, of possible bereavement, of social isolation, and of severe uncertainty about the future will have a significant effect on many people.

Put your own mask on first…

When you fly in a passenger plane, the safety brief always includes the instruction to put your own oxygen mask on first, before helping others. Both parts of that instruction are important. You need to attend to yourself first, so that you do not become an additional problem in the situation. And you should attend to others, as well, both from reasons of humanity, and also because it is actually good for our own well-being to help others.

So as coaches, we need to ensure that we are keeping ourselves well, and in particular that we are open with our supervisor about how we are doing, and attentive to any feedback that she or he may have for us about our fitness to coach at a particular time.

Stress, Distress and Post Traumatic Stress

As we consider those whom we are coaching, we need to be aware of the different degrees of stress and distress that we may encounter. It is natural that clients will be experiencing a degree of stress, and possibly of distress, in these times; and a coaching conversation can be a valuable way of addressing either or both of those responses.  However, if a client is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), then some coaching interventions may do more harm than good, and we as coaches must recognise the boundaries of our competence, and refer such clients on for the appropriate counselling or therapeutic support.

Some of the warning signs of PTSD are hyper-arousal (hypervigilance, for example), hypo-arousal (dissociation or severe loss of energy), as well as distressing recollections (flashbacks etc), the systematic avoidance of people, situations or places that remind of the trauma, and negative cognitions and disturbances in mood (changes in belief systems, which may be accompanied by anger, guilt, or shame). On encountering these, unless we are trained in trauma therapy, we should concentrate on the client’s safety in the here-and-now, and then consider what kind of referral or support is appropriate.  For the rest of this post, I will assume that PTSD is not indicated.

A healthy mind…

There is an old Latin phrase: mens sana in corpore sano which means ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body.’ It is widely used as a motto by educational institutions and the like to emphasise the importance of both mental and physical health, and the inter-relationship between the two.

However, that is not without its problems. One is the risk that it perpetuates a dichotomy between the mind and the body that is neither accurate nor helpful; and another is that it omits other important aspects that contribute to our well-being.

A more holistic approach

The more we understand about mental health, the more we realise how interdependent it is, not only with physical, but also with emotional well-being.

Further, when one considers both the extraordinary work of Viktor Frankl, on the one hand, and the growing body of evidence about the positive health benefits of meditation, on the other, it seems appropriate to add a fourth, less tangible, arena to consider: the existential or spiritual aspects of well-being.

So many practitioners now work with a model that looks like this: 

In some ways the separation into four is unhelpful as it suggests (at least visually) a disintegrative model. But the arrows are designed to remind us that each aspect affects each of the others.

Some reflective questions

Building on this understanding, I have developed a set of questions to support my own reflection about my well-being, and which I often share with coaching clients. When sharing it, I always preface it with an explanation, as I do not want the questions to become another source of stress (that would be a sad irony indeed): This is designed as a prompt for thought - not as an additional stressor…  So use it to help identify both the areas you are attending to well, and any that you think would benefit from more attention - and plan accordingly. Don’t worry if you answer some questions ‘No’ - that is entirely normal.  Simply ask yourself, honestly, what your answers suggest to you, and what you choose to do as a result.

Physical
Do I get enough sleep?
Do I eat a balanced diet at appropriate times during the day?
Do I drink sufficient water?
Do I exercise regularly?
Do I have any maladaptive strategies in times of stress? (eg Working all night; eating junk food; using caffeine or other drugs as a stimulant; cutting down on exercise to save time, etc)

Mental
Do I engage in deliberate learning on a regular basis? 
Do I have good problem-solving strategies?
Do I have good mental coping strategies?
Do I cultivate an optimistic outlook?
Do I have any maladaptive strategies in times of stress? (eg Catastrophising; negative self-talk; avoidance; over-indulging in distractions etc)

Social/Emotional
Do I spend regular time with those most important to me?
Do I attend to, and manage, my emotional responses to events?
Do I have a good support network?
Do I have any maladaptive strategies in times of stress? (eg Withdrawing from others; placing too high a value on self-reliance, etc)

Spiritual/Existential
Do I make time for meditation regularly?
Do I take the discipline and practice of the religion or philosophy I adhere to seriously?
Do I make time to commune with nature or the arts?
Do I have any maladaptive strategies in times of stress? (eg Denying that this is an important domain to invest time in; indulging in despair, etc) 

Andrew Scott is a coach and coaching supervisor, and a member both of AC and AOCS, who lives and works (and walks and sails…) in the Lake District.

Tags:  #coaching #COVID19 #COVID 

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AC Blog Guidelines

Posted By Association for Coaching, 27 June 2017

AC Blog Guidelines

Our purpose is to inspire and champion coaching excellence, to advance the coaching profession, and make a sustainable difference to individuals, organizations, and in turn, society. The AC Community  blog is where current and future members of our community can find and share insights, advice and news.


What kind of blogs are the AC looking for?

We require original contributions not already published anywhere else, to show AC as a leader of discussions rather than replicating what is already out there.

Blog posts need to be short (maximum around 500 words), written in the first person, and contain something useful and / or inspiring for the reader.

Blog posts may pave the way for a more-in-depth article, fact sheet, event or conference presentation, please let us know if would be interested in writing further for the AC on your blog topic.


Blog Content Criteria

We are looking for content which is of interest to the professional coach, or those that buy coaching services. For instance, the following examples (which are by no means exhaustive):

  • ‘How-to’ posts: We are looking for detailed posts on our featured categories (see below) that clearly outline how to do something; coaching templates, checklists and any step-by-step approaches that work well. Examples include: How to coach the reluctant leader; Ways to encourage mindfulness in your clients; How to find the right supervisor for you.
  • Real life examples of coaching client dilemmas and how they were resolved
  • Personal stories, examples, models, for instance related to coaching supervision and accreditation
  • Interesting angles on coaching and coach related information related to topical and newsworthy items. Examples include: When the client inadvertently reveals shady financial deals – your options and ethical perspectives (indirectly linked to Gary Barlow & tax avoidance story); Jobs for the boys? Gender-specific coaching
  • ‘Leadership’ posts: posts on current coaching trends and techniques. Examples include: Coaching Leaders on Strategy; Authenticity in Leaders; Coaching leaders through change
  • Other content to include: Reviews on literature related to coaching, posts on upcoming events and conferences, recommended links and resources, research: what’s new and what does it inform us about coaching, case studies, etc.


Blog Categories

All AC blogs should be posted under the relevant category. The categories currently available are:

  • Leadership
  • Research
  • Presence
  • Best Practice
  • Resources
  • Innovation

If you would like to propose a different category that is not currently available, and you believe is current and of interest to coaches, please contact enquiries@associationforcoaching.com

The Association for Coaching reserves the right to remove any post or comment from the site.


Formatting and style of the blog

We encourage writers to use subheadings, bulleted lists, and bold fonts to highlight key information. Use of photos, videos and other visual content is also encouraged. Please ensure your blog has:

  • A catchy title (see below for more suggestions on titles and effective blog openers)
  • At least one image – please adhere to the copyright laws when supplying images.
  • Main text of preferably between 300 and 500 words
  • Links to featured websites, if relevant
  • Please note that above all, blogs need to be informative and content rich, and not used as an overt advertisement for any coaching service or product



Suggestions for new/inexperienced bloggers

Top Ten Style Tips

Writing a blog is different to writing an article, press release or academic paper. The key difference is the tone in which it’s written. It’s much more about your personal thoughts, point of view and insights. It’s about helping the reader to see a different point of view that enhances their learning and deepens their insights into a subject. A blog style is similar to the voice you would use when writing a personal diary. As it’s written in the first person, you express your personality giving the reader a taste of who you are as if they were getting to know you.

Here are a few other tips for writing your blog:

  1. Remember a blog is similar to having a conversation. Try to write the way you would speak as though you were having a chat with a friend.
  2. Find your focus. Who are you talking to? Who’s your audience? What is it you want to share with them?
  3. When writing your content what is going to be useful and unique that your audience will want to hear? What need are you meeting that they will learn from?
  4. Be succinct with your points making it easier for the reader to follow your thoughts and what you are trying to put across.
  5. Keep your language simple and avoid block paragraphs. Long blocks of words are hard for people to digest (research suggests that reading from a screen is more tiring and about 25% slower than reading from paper).
  6. Try using short sentences and paragraphs, bullet points or subheads to illustrate key points making it easier for people to absorb.
  7. Don’t be fazed by a blank piece of paper. Jot your thoughts down and then restructure, as you want.
  8. Be yourself. Once you’ve written your blog read it back out loud to yourself. Does it flow or does it feel stilted? If you were talking to a friend rather than writing are there any changes you would make?
  9. Have a look at other blogs on-line both in your own field and in others. Are there any ideas or tips you can pick up for your own blog?
  10. Lastly enjoy the process, as blogs are a wonderful way to interact with others in a more informal and personal way!


Ideas for blog titles and openers

Start you blog with:

  • A question that will arouse curiosity
  • Raise a common problem or issue that coaches care about
  • Numbers: 5 ways to .... 3 steps to.... Top 10 reasons....
  • Use attention getting language to surprise
  • Entice with a exciting benefit
  • Promise something valuable / important
  • An unusual fact or quote

Read other blogs on the AC blog to get ideas and see what works well. Also, here are some other blog sites to explore:

For example, see:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/the-blog/

http://blog.gotomeeting.co.uk/

We look forward to reading your posts!

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