One of the most important services that a coach provides for a coachee is challenge.
We all use softeners; those stories that we tell ourselves to soften, adjust or redefine a situation. One softener is to make a favourable comparison with another person: I know that I was late with that paper but she was three days later than me Another softener is to make a favourable comparison with another point in time, and that could be the past or the future: I didn't perform well then but I know that I can do better next time or I didn't do it this time but I've done it before. Softeners get built into our comfortable self-stories, our narratives about why we do what we do.
The challenge of a coach is unique because it is forward looking and constructive. In everyday conversations we are accustomed to retrospective challenge in the form of accusatory questions like Why did you do that?! In a coaching conversation the challenge is a positive one because it points the coachee towards the creation of a better self.
Here are some examples of coaching challenge:
Reflect on the situation that you really want. How is that decision going to move you towards it?
If you are looking back on this situation with no regrets about your conduct in ten years time, how would you want to have acted?
I believe that you are more resourceful than you currently know. What else could you do to deal with this?
How could you get there in one year instead of three?
Let's say you decide to walk away from it instead. What are the implications of that?
You said earlier that trust was an important value for you. How are you showing that in your planned action?
What part did you play in the situation?Sensitive and appropriate challenge is built into our coaching questions. Benefit from a free coaching session at Trust Me Coaching