A Coaching Power Tool created by Rosangela Rezende Pedrosa
(Executive & Career Coaching, BRAZIL)
Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort in your life and in relationship with others makes all the difference. Marilyn Atkinson
Creating my power tool – a strong learning process: the side collateral effects!
According Jennifer Rogers, the coaching conversation is a process where coaches help their clients to become fully aligned and purposeful with their inner human being. Developing these powerful conversations demands from ourselves, as coaches, the capacity to observer our own patterns, specially the habitual structures of our minds that are consciously or unconsciously in our way of living our highest truth and values.
Doing my reflections about my own patterns, I identified some challenges that coincide with some client’s ones: the pattern of talking to much, explaining a lot of details and frequently feeling lost among a mass of thoughts or inner voices that contribute to loose the main ideas.
When I first met the expression “Getting to the Crux” from Jenny Rogers’s book I decided to work on it and to create my own power tool exploring some paths to deal with a mind which is lost in so many thoughts and details.
It is so usual to find clients behaving this way that I think it could be useful to master our skill of listening in order to help the client to identify the main focus of an issue when we have a pattern of talking to much, explaining a lot of details and frequently feeling lost among a mass of thoughts or inner voices.
Facing these experiences on my coaching practice leads me to reflect deeper about this issue and to build a tool that could help myself and clients to go straight to the core of an issue – the crux!
What amazes me is that the process of reflecting, studying theories and transforming them in a power tool seems to be not only important because of the tool itself but also because it results in a strong and useful learning process. I mean, this process can help professionals either to enhance their own capabilities and also to use it as a tool with the clients.
Getting the Crux
Before exploring this tool, it is important to consider some concepts which are central to this work. They are engrained in the words “Crux” and “ Focus”.
So, let’s take a look on the definitions founded in two resources: the Dictionary and the Thesaurus.
What does “Crux” mean?
From the “ Dictionary” crux is the decisive or most important point at issue; a particular point of difficulty.
From the Thesaurus it means nub, heart, essence, central point, main point, core, center, nucleus, kernel; informal bottom line.
What does “Focus” mean?
Focus – from the Dictionary: the center of interest or activity: an act of concentrating interest or activity on something; in Linguistics it is the part of a sentence given prominence, usually for emphasis or contrast; the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition; another term for focal point.
From the Thesaurus: center, focal point, central point, center of attention, hub, pivot, nucleus, heart, cornerstone, linchpin, cynosure; emphasis, accent, priority, attention, concentration; subject, theme, concern, subject matter, topic, issue, thesis, point, thread; substance, essence, gist, matter.
Why is this tool considered relevant to the coaching practice?
Since the coaching is a process where coaches help the clients to be aware of their inner essence, it is well known that finding the focus is a crucial issue during the coaching session.
In order to help a client to find the focus, it is expected at the begining of the session to start with a question similar to this:
what would be the most valuable use of your time here?
There is no doubt that clients in general begin to talk immediately after being questioned, but also it is very common they usually spent some time, detailing the scene, reporting past events, dialogues, feelings and so on. Many clients struggle trying to define the focus they want to get from the session or even to find direct answers to others powerful questions along the process.
Reinforcing, what was said, the essence of coaching is helping clients to be aware and to take responsibility for their choices as a result from the awareness they just found. Simple but not easy! As Marilyn Atkinson wrote “in today’s world, where we have such capacity and opportunity for greatness and at the same time have the power and technologies to destroy others and ourselves, transformational conversations take on even more importance”. She also points out the challenge of this, presenting a poem from Robert S. de Ropp who said “…contemporary man, hypnotized by the glitter of his own gadgets, has little contact with his inner world, concerns himself with outer, not inner space.”
If an effective coaching conversation should help the client gets to the heart of what matters it is crucial to be a focused and concentrated conversation, designed to support the coachee in clarifying the situation, the possible choices and more over to make changes.
The coaching relationship also demands confidentiality and trust, which is built over time as client and coach learn that each one can be counted on. As a consequence, clients can learn and experience that this relationship delivers results.
it is mandatory in a coaching relationshipe to have a clear communication skill based on an active listening which sometimes leads us as a coach to face some challenges that demands a direct and not very comfortable approach with the client.
One of this situation is related to the fact that sometimes we perceive that our client is spending so much time in details, talking in circles or around a not very clear issue suggesting that they are loosing their way to the crux!
If we have a clear perception and no doubts that the client is wasting a precious time with so many details, looking at the past or even complaining about something happened to him or her we must deal with this in a direct way, but showing respect and using not judgmental words. Our role is to help the client to stop, listen to him or herself and be in contact with what matters above all that has been said.
So, if our perception drives us to the need of helping the client getting the crux, we need to learn how to do it adequately, aligned with the ICF competences and the its Ethical Code and more over with the inner state of the client.
This is the main objective of this Power Tools:
Helping clients to get the essence of what is going on in order to go forward and to achieve the outcomes aligned with their real “who” even if at the first time seems to be an interruption, an uncomfortable approach or a challenge. The point is if we have built a safe space and respectful relationship, trust can and should be told.