If you are as old as I am, you may remember the old typewriters. I can remember sitting with my grandparents playing on this heavy cast iron mechanical thing that magically put letters onto a piece of paper. As time developed, multiple coloured ribbons offered different coloured print and electric typewriters removed the need for a workout every time you wanted to write. They seem a distant memory from today's technology but I still remember them fondly. The idiosyncrasies of the carriage return, the ink ribbon and the travel of the letters towards the paper all led to the experiences.
What then, has this to do with co coaching? Our professional development is a bit like the development of the typewriter. When we started on our coaching journey, we were clunky. We became aware of our in adequacies in practice and like the ribbon on the typewriter, we delivered a 'letter' but perhaps not as sharp as a more experienced coach - or so we thought. Time moved us forward and we saw the release of word processing and the luxurious quality of the laser printer. Just as in coaching, over time we found that our techniques improved, we found that we became more adventurous adding different scenarios and graphics into our portfolio that makes our client’s journey even richer.
Co coaching gives us permission to check our print and practice. It allows us the luxury of testing a new method and to receive immediate feedback from a fellow author (coach). It allows us to move from 1 fingered typing to 2 and onwards to complete touch typing. Even when you could be considered an expert, a new learning can be taken from the feedback given, and let's face it, any feedback is a learning opportunity.
For the purist, co coaching is typically an observed intervention between coaches. Just as in 'real life' interventions, it is unlikely that the coach is aware of the topic and so needs to engage with all skill to draw out what is really going on. At the end of the session, the observer and the Coachee feedback on what works and what may have worked better. Nuances of body language, verbal signals, and reactions to methods tried can be explored.
It is both a celebration and a learning point for us all in our journey to become even better at what we do.