A Coaching Power Tool Created by Daniela Croitoru
(Executive Coach, ROMANIA)
As humans, we are fundamentally wired to play as teams, but in the absence of real, authentic trusting relationships, we create faux teamwork. Many times, we notice within teams following behaviors:
- blaming/criticism – includes critical thoughts of self (I should) and others (you should)
- defensiveness is feeling that we alone are right, we are close to other perspectives
- stonewalling can look like silent treatment, avoiding another, inauthentic politeness, unwillingness to be honest and forthcoming
Blame is the number one toxic behavior inside of organizations. When the teams live and work in a blame-gaming environment is the nearly complete absence of proactivity the conversation.
Where there is blame, there is no learning. Where there is blame, open minds close, inquiry tends to cease, and the desire to understand the whole system diminishes. When people work in an atmosphere of blame, they naturally cover up their errors and hide their real concerns. And when energy goes into finger-pointing, scapegoating, and denying responsibility, productivity suffers because the organization lacks information about the real state of affairs
Definition of Blame
Feel or declare that (someone or something) is responsible for a fault or wrong.
John is a very oriented results person with many technical skills and showed up at a meeting where there is no agenda, no clear goals, and no actionable conversation. Because he needs a goal, he was sitting through the meeting and fuming inside expected to something to worthless. He disengaged from the conversation and not participated because no one put a goal out there. He blamed the meeting organizer for not having a meeting agenda.
After a while, he got out of the smartphone and checked out his emails creating a barrier between him and colleagues. He shoots off a text to another colleague in the meeting and says: “can you believe this? This is insanity “He gets back: ”meetings are such a wasting time” and felt a sense of connection that they both felt the same frustration.
It is obvious that the meeting was not an efficient one.
What if John and his colleague would have been curious about the situation and would have given up on blaming the meeting organizer?
Definition of curiosity
- Desire to know; a: inquisitive interest in others’ concerns: NOSINESS
- Inquisitiveness; the tendency to ask to learn about things by asking questions, investigating, or exploring.
Curiosity is essential, not only to learn but to understand human behaviour. In the end, it’s relationship that counts. – Eccentric Shailesh
Curiosity is the willingness to step back when things are not working and to consider that we might be trying to solve a problem we do not fully understand. Curiosity, on the other hand, is the desire to inquire more deeply into why something is happening, and the willingness to acknowledge that espoused solutions might not always be right.
What if John would have been curious and been ready to build on others’ ideas? What would have been the result of the meeting if instead of criticism, he had raised the hand and in a respectful, nonjudgmental way, he would have said: “I’m noticing that we have no clarity about what we are trying to accomplish. What is important for us today? How could I help?”
This behavior is an open, the curious one, and concerned with other needs and contribution.
Curiosity is the process of asking questions, genuine questions, that are not leading to an ask for something in return. Brian Grazer
To achieve synergy within teams so that increase performance both at the team level and individually, within the coaching process, as a coach, we can support the clients in understanding the benefits of curiosity behavior and apply it.
We can help clients to play with curiosity at three levels: context, self-awareness and other awareness.
Analyzing the context
It is necessary to be conscious of the degree to which we are applying our abilities, skills, strengths within a context or situation. As a situation change, we may need to consider these questions:
- What is the situation asking for?
- What is the goal here?
- What is important now?
We are conscious of the way our needs tug and pull at us. On the one hand, we want to contribute, on the other hand, we may feel need to sit back, take things in and wait for others’ contributions.
Self-awareness allows us to see how our strengths help us to contribute, considering these questions:
- What can I contribute here?
- What do I need to be at my best here/now?
It is not enough to discover what is happening with the situation or with you in response to the situation – it looks to understand how others are experiencing the situation as well.
As well, it is necessary to consider what contributions and needs they have and what you could offer to serve the situational needs and goals.
- What do others have to contribute?
- What do others need?
We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. Walt Disney
In order to step forward through the transforming process from blame to curiosity, we help the client to discover:
- the desired results
- What is the goal?
- What is important here?
- possible barriers
- What is getting in your way?
- What do you need?
- lessons from past success
- Tell me a time when you have ever faced with a similar situation
- What did you do than to create success?
- What will you do differently?
- What action will you take?
- How will you measure success?
- As a coach, what do you notice when you are more curious about the client process, his emotions?
- What do you notice as a coach when the client is more aware of the situation need, self and other need? How is changing the client energy?
- What are the results in terms of increasing performance (individual or team level)
- What are some other questions you could ask your client to shift their perspective from
Shift Up!: Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living – DeAnna Murphy
www.CoachCampus.com – Enhancing strengths