COACH: Lorna Poole, PCC
CLIENT: Sarah Creek
In this video Merci Miglino, MCC, “stops the clock” to share her observations on the coaching as it maps against the ICF competencies.These highlights are extremely valuable to anyone wanting to improve their coaching or apply for an ICF credential. If you are interested in becoming a coach, take the next step by filling out our Coach Development Plan.
Watch the full video below and read the transcript.
Download the ICF Coaching Competencies to follow along.
Video Timestamp – 5:57
A. Setting the Foundation
2. Establishing the Coaching Agreement
Video Timestamp – 10:20
C. Communicating Effectively
6. Powerful Questioning
Video Timestamp – 14:03
C. Communicating Effectively
3. Powerful Questioning
Video Timestamp – 20:26
D. Facilitating Learning and Results
9. Designing Actions
Video Timestamp – 22:24
D. Facilitating Learning and Results
8. Creating Awareness
In this transcript Merci identifies elements of Lorna's coaching that map across the ICF competencies. These highlights are extremely valuable to anyone wanting to improve their coaching or apply for an ICF credential.
Click here to get a copy of the annotated transcript
Lorna: Hi Sarah, welcome to this coaching space. Thank you very much for allowing me to coach you today. Tell me, what are you bringing to our session today?
Sarah: Well thanks for having me. Our family is in the process of making a decision in regards to adopting a dog in the New Year and we have some options in the form of various puppies and an adult dog. It is a big decision and it affects me the most because I work from home. I have been doing a lot of journaling to help me get to a place where I am going to be at peace and happy with the decision that we are making. In doing that, I have noticed something coming up for me that is actually getting me quite stuck and I am wanting to explore that with you today in our time together.
Lorna: Mm. So you are noticing something that is coming up for you and you want to look at that?
Lorna: So tell me a little bit more about what you are noticing.
Sarah: If I am quite honest I think it is something that I do in other situations so this is not pertaining only to this. I seem to want to be very open, very open-minded, open-hearted and open arms even in this new opportunity which in this case is a new dog as we lost ours in the fall - and I feel something niggling, pulling me back and holding me there. That actually irks me because it goes against what I want which is I want to get to the place where I am completely free and open to welcome another xxxx. Because I am a journaller I keep these journals and I was kind of curious to see if this was something I had been doing before and I found quite a bit of evidence on those pages of the journals that this is something I do, so it is a habit, it is a pattern and it is not working, but it is getting me stuck like I can’t seem to take that next step in my progress. So I am wanting to chat with you about that today.
Lorna: So what I am hearing here is that there is a sort of current issue but you are discovering that it is a bit of a recurrent issue as well, so there is this decision that you are making now but there is also this other stuff that’s going on. So tell me in our work together today how would we work together to be most useful. What would we achieve today that would be most useful?
Sarah: I think I am aware that this is a way of me coping, or part of my process so I know that bit. I don’t know that exploring why would necessarily help me. I think what I need is to be able to have that space to kind of share and get it out and also see where this takes me and move me. So in my big picture of by the end of January I need to decide what kind of dog we are getting. I am probably around a 4 and I am wanting to move, so by the end of our session I am wanting to have something to work with to help me move.
Lorna: Okay. And if you are able to achieve this movement in our session today, if you are able to use this sharing space to get some movement here what would that look like for you?
Sarah: I think right now I am feeling frustrated, I am feeling a bit bummed about this because this is what I do, so I don’t like it. I think it would help me have clarity, it would help me feel hopeful, it will also help me trust that what we do decide will be good and that I can make a good decision and in the big picture this is my bigger journey and that I have to learn to kind of go with this feeling of having this thing yank me backwards y’know.
Lorna: I know you said you didn’t really want to look at why and I appreciate that but if you are looking forward at what is keeping you from moving forward on your own, what comes up for you there?
Sarah: I think a big piece, and it is probably because of what we are dealing with, which as you know is a living thing, is that I cared about my dog very, very much and we had her for 10 years. I think it is that comparison that I find myself doing like well this new little one won’t behave like the other one and I won’t love her as much as I loved my one and that kind of thing. And those feelings are, well I wouldn’t say yucky but they are not peaceful, they are not helping me be calm, which is what I want in my big picture.
Lorna: And what impact is that feeling that you are having creating for you on this decision you need to make?
Sarah: That’s a good question, what impact, um, it is getting me stuck, it is getting me to second-guess myself actually. I have also found myself squirrelling around looking for more options - thinking that the three good options that I have, that are very solid, that fit what we have decided upon as a family - so it is not like I don’t have options. I have three really good choices in these animals. So I find myself stewing and I am also squirreling looking for other ideas and other options and I am wasting my time I guess and I am wasting my energy but it’s also..
Merci: I am sorry to interrupt our client but she was going to pick up and she knew the job when she took it up (laughs). So I want to point out to the people viewing this demonstration a couple of things. First, Lorna’s ability to set the agreement for the session. We call it contracting or establishing a coaching agreement. It’s a sign of a purposeful conversation. What is it that this conversation is about? What is the objective that the client wants and through a couple of questions, what would be most useful? What do you want to achieve? What would that look like and what is keeping you from that? It is all about getting to an agreement as to how we move forward. So that’s a coaching competency that is essential and it has more emphasis than most. So you guys can pick up where you left off.
Lorna: Thank you Merci.
Lorna: So, Sarah as we start working towards this need for space to kind of clear your thinking and to be more comfortable and to move from, I think you said a 4, to move higher, as I presume we are moving towards a higher number (laughs), what is it that comes to mind that you think needs to be looked at right now?
Sarah: I think it’s this thing, whatever you want to call it, that is causing me to affect my open mind. I am constantly comparing very valuable options to what I had and therefore placing very unrealistic expectations, I guess if I am honest, on this new scenario. You can’t compare apples and oranges but subconsciously somewhere in there I am doing it and it is preventing me from moving on. I am finding myself at you know, we have these family discussions and I will always come with the ‘what if this..’, ‘what if that..’ you know so that doesn’t work.
Lorna: So you are telling me this is a subconscious thing but your discussion of it seems very conscious. You seem very aware. What do you think of that observation?
Sarah: I guess you are right. I guess it is easier for me to say oh its subconscious its way down there so yes if I am honest I think it is a bit of a defence mechanism if I am really honest and thinking about it now. I want to get this new pet and I miss my dog and I am stuck there you know. I guess it isn’t subconscious otherwise I wouldn’t be able to tell you so well about it. Thank you for pointing that out (laughs).
Lorna: Well you did say it is a defence mechanism and I am wondering there what you are defending.
Sarah: Now you are going to get to me. Um, I love what I had, you know it is kind of like when you have one child and you love it so incredibly much and you decide to have another one, it’s not to replace the other one (dabbing at eyes, sorry I cry so easily) but it is a bit of a feeling there of betrayal maybe. Yeah, that’s what I am defending, that I loved my dog and I want to be able to love another one the same but I don’t want this new one to take her place. That’s totally what it is. (tearful).
Merci: Okay stop the client. We can give our client composure if she wishes. I cry easily too so, we all get used to this. I have to point out that the reason Sarah got to an emotional state is because Lorna kept a nice big, open, trusting space and that is a core competency. The other thing I want to point out because coaches always seem to ask me this question ‘how do you share an observation’ and Lorna you did it beautifully with ‘you seem to me very aware, very conscious’ observing that ‘what do you think’, not stating it like it is a fact but handing it over to her and you know that was such an interesting thing because that is what moved her from thinking in her head to feeling in her heart, so I wanted to point that out.
Lorna: I appreciate your openness to this conversation Sarah because it has obviously struck a chord with you.
Sarah: Laughs in agreement.
Lorna: So to pick up is a little challenging after the break but if I recall you are talking about not wanting this new dog to replace the wonderful pet you lost last fall I believe.
Lorna. So what else is going on there do you think? What else is coming up for you around that?
Sarah: Well during the break I was able to stop crying for a minute and also I think that it is almost like I am projecting that I am expecting this new situation to be not as good or well. I will never find again what we had and you know that’s a bit false I guess but it is very real and so it is a bit difficult for me to process that one but that is coming up as we are sharing here this is coming to my mind.
Lorna: Ok. Can I just invite you to sit on the other side of the fence for the moment and imagine it being better. What would it look like if it were actually better as opposed to not as good?
Sarah: I think that is part of my issue in that I can’t fathom that it would be as good or even better than what we had. It was an absolutely perfect scenario and now you are kinda getting me thinking oh, it is possible not only to be as good but maybe that this one would bring something new and that would make it better, and I wouldn’t want to miss out on that. To your question if I am on the other side I wouldn’t want to miss out on that because I am closed or because I am hanging on for my dear life for what we had with Tessa the dog. So actually yeah I don’t want to be robbed of that. Like I wouldn’t of wanted not to be Brendan’s Mum because I didn’t know how I would love him after I had him right. Yeah, actually that makes sense.
Merci: So this is a good place to stop here with a couple of key competencies and these fall under powerful questions. To use the exact language of the ‘competency coaches’ questions help the client explore beyond his or her current thinking to new and or expanded ways of thinking about her situation. We just saw that beautifully unfold with ‘what if it was better versus not as good.’ I also want to point out that this would be under I guess coaching presence, the coach is just being really curious you know and acknowledging and noting who this person is, paying attention to Sarah as a person versus the issue or the situation. It really isn’t necessarily about getting a dog, we don’t want to go down that path. It is about how is Sarah is in this decision-making situation. So, carry on.
Lorna: So just as Merci popped in there Sarah I was just noting the change in energy. From when you were talking about what you were going to be missing to now your statement that you ‘wouldn’t want to miss out’. What is that bringing up for you?
Sarah: Well its bringing up much more of a sense of hope I guess and peace. My heart was racing earlier, I was quite flushed and upset and that pull backwards that I was talking about, you know it hurts. But now I am feeling like okay, this could work. I am thinking my wheels are kind of going and I am thinking oh okay, so you know I don’t feel as stressed inside and I am feeling that if these three opportunities have come up to me its because deep down I know that they are good. I can take another look right so it gives me that desire to explore those ideas and not feel like I am cheating on my other dog if that makes any sense.
Lorna: Yeah. Well we have got a few more minutes to go here and at the beginning you said you wanted to explore this and you said you wanted some space to think about your decision and move from a 4. How are you feeling about that right at the moment?
Sarah: I am feeling much better, I am kinda like huh (a sigh of release), like I just feel like a weight off my shoulders. I think it was bottled up inside quite a bit and sometimes journaling helps because it is on paper and not in my heart and yet I could still feel it in me. So I was at a 4 I said, so I am probably closer to, well over the hump of the 6, going okay I could see how I could entertain this idea in a way that is authentic to me and in a way that agrees with me so I am feeling much better about this, thank you.
Lorna: So what do you want to do with this realisation and this movement now.
Sarah: Well I never looked at it like that, I appreciate it when Merci made the comment that is really isn’t about getting the dog and I think a lot of the conversations I have had with people, friends or family, the focus has been on you must choose one of those y’know. It is very centred around this new thing and I kind of felt shoved aside and I think that this has helped me deal with me I guess. You know self-care here. I think it was a big piece for me and I am thinking that your question about looking from the other side is one I need to explore in my thinking, on my walks, like what could that look like. The good ‘what ifs’ whereas I had been focusing on the dreadful comparisons.
Lorna: So how are you going to take this now, this realisation that you can change this focus, what is something you can do with that right now to support you?
Sarah: Well first of all I am sensing that because I heard myself say it that I squirrel and look for other options. So, first of all I need to focus on these three that are in front of me and kind of objectively or open-heartedly look at those three options and what that means. That might mean the pros and cons or that might mean what is my gut saying, past that picture you see on your screen you know. I refuse to meet these dogs until I have made closer to a decision so that’s not in me. Journaling helps me, going for a walk and processing all of this helps me as well and maybe me being honest now that we are talking about it with my close family and friends about the fact that this has really bugged me. This has been hard for me me, not about the thing but what this has done to me. I think I was a bit unwilling to go there but now you have given me courage to think that that’s okay and I can do this.
Lorna: Ah that is so beautiful. Is there anything that we can do together in the minute or so that we have left?
Sarah: I think I feel quite good, I think I feel what I wanted was to get to a place where I am calm and peaceful and I have an open mind and I don’t feel yanked backwards. I don’t feel that at all right now. I feel pulled forward if anything so I think I am good for now, thank you very much.
Lorna: Thank you so much Sarah for being such a wonderful open client for our session today. Thank you.
Sarah: Thank you.
Merci: Okay yes thank you very much. So I noticed a few competencies there at the end Lorna, the ones like designing actions for example.
Lorna: You know the designing actions is kind of challenging I think for some people because we get this idea that they need to do something very specific. Like it has got to be something. But you know action is movement forward and sometimes I think it is just movement forward in our thinking. You know it is a small step and not necessarily now I gotta go and get the dog, that’s not what we are talking about. We are talking about the take-away, the next thing that we can build on. Is that hitting what you mean?
Merci: Yes, I thought that unfolded rather nicely because as you said, we are questioning ‘what do you want to do with this feeling’, you know what do you want to do and she responds that she wants to reflect on it, journal and think about it some more and then you said ‘what do you want to do with the realisation that there is another perspective here and she said ‘maybe I will stop exploring a hundred different options and focus on the three that are in front of me’. That’s an action. Focusing with intent is an action. And, I go back to, what did she say she wanted from the session – some clarity, calmness I think she used, some peace and I think actually thanks to the visuals here we could really see and feel that.
Lorna: Yeah, a real change.
Merci: Anything else you want to point out Lorna?
Lorna: Well I think you made the point earlier Merci that it wasn’t about getting a dog, this isn’t about getting a dog and the coaching hasn’t been about getting the dog, you know my focus was on Sarah and her thinking and what she is saying and my questioning comes from her. I don’t hear her saying I want to make a decision and I want to get clear and am immediate set of questions pops into my head, that doesn’t happen it is all just sitting with the client and responding in that powerful questioning format to what she is offering.
Merci: Right, to be curious and I like the analogy that coaching is like a game of catch. The client throws the ball to us, we don’t just put the ball down and go to the script, we pick up what the client has said, by reflection, by acknowledgement or by picking up on a particular word they are using. Everybody has their strong language you know, Sarah definitely did that and painted a picture for us ‘stagnating, stuck’ and it was really very clear and you picked up on that and then eased in so I am going to use that analogy to teach, to show viewers here, our coaches and those thinking about coaching what it can look like. Well let me thank you both and have a great rest of your session because I am sure you are going pick this up again in the future.
Lorna: Thank you Sarah and thanks Merci.
Sarah: Thanks Lorna.
About Lorna Poole
Lorna Poole was engaged in adult training and education since the start of her nursing career more than 30 years ago, Lorna has always been passionate about the ability all of us have to learn, change, and grow throughout our lives.
Working with a Life Coach to gain control over her obesity introduced Lorna to this awesome profession in 2004. The tremendous personal transformation she experienced as she learned to make intentional choices from a place of clarity and mindfulness was so powerful that she knew she had to find a way to support others to experience it. This eventually led to ICA where she earned her CPC designation in 2011. Lorna is passionate about assisting people to create a vision of their life purpose; to become present in their own lives and to make thoughtful choices to support their very best selves.
Today Lorna juggles a life coaching practice with a fulltime commitment to fledgling small business owners. Watching her clients soar into places they had previously only dreamed of going has been a great source of joy in her life.