In the Executive Coaching practiced at MSEC, two skill sets are key. Coaches train rigorously on the art of asking questions that open up possibility and understanding for the coaching client. Coaches use such inquiry to help them discover how their client sees the world. Inquiry is also used to help clients discover that they have their own solutions and ideas to issues if they are guided to uncover them. Often when there is a problem or barrier, people are simply given one possible solution by a boss, supervisor, mentor, or colleague as if it is the only solution. MSEC’s coaching philosophy and process assumes that the individual has the ability to generate ideas to solve their own issues, and we work with them, asking open questions, to help them discover those ideas.
There are coaching philosophies that use only inquiry in their approach. MSEC coaches who are certified in the Integral Coaching approach believe that their roles also include presenting strong distinctions for their clients. A distinction illuminates the specific way that a client is looking at a situation, a person, or a problem, and helps them look at it in another way. We all have a set structure of interpretation. It is the coach’s role to understand their clients’ interpretation of an issue and give them another way to look at it, thus opening up more possibilities for improvement and growth.
In the Coaching: Partnering for Performance class, we teach these skills and give participants practice in using them. We look at questions from the closed/open perspective, and we practice a more advanced inquiry skill of using appropriate tunnel questions. Each tunnel question directs the conversation to the outcome the coach feels will be most beneficial to the client. If one tunnel question does not produce the desired result or learning, the coach explores a different tunnel using another line of questioning. Participants discover that sometimes the most simple question is the most powerful to use in their coaching sessions. They practice using the right type of question at the right time in order to invite deeper response and awareness.
The Coaching: Partnering for Performance class defines how coaching can be used in a supervisory role, differentiating it from a traditional supervisory approach. While we are noticing many more leaders using a coaching approach, each person must intentionally determine if that approach is appropriate to their organizational culture, their own style and point of view, and the needs of each employee. The class gives participants an opportunity to explore both approaches and determine the best fit for their situations. If you have questions on this, give us a call at 800.884.1328.