A simple idea to help when coaching someone who’s got you fired up…

Credit where credit is due and the following was stimulated when reading Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit).  The book made me think about the times when someone does something (often by doing nothing!) unexpected and your reaction is anger or frustration.

It terms of how you approach this situation one option (remembering this could also be your issue!) is to think about the difference between the immediate why and a deeper what. Let me explain…

When an unexpected reaction or behaviour gets you fired up it can be very tempting to dive in with a why question – why did you do that?  While this can helpful – “I was stressed, they wound me up, I thought I was helping”, it may mean you get them focused on improvements in areas – destressing techniques, not letting others adversely impact their performance, developing more clarity on what helps the most – that don’t address the real issue.

If you think this could be the case then it’s useful to find ways to understand the deeper what – what’s this really about?

The deeper what (which could be subconscious) could be anything…

  • “I don’t feel valued here and my over-the-top arguing for my idea and dragging out the meeting was the overriding motivator to do anything I could to be recognised as adding value to this project”.
  • “I had a previous boss who loved nothing more than to highlight my mistakes so my delay on this, which I know held you up, is me trying to be absolutely sure I’ve got this right and not wanting to reconnect to what it felt like to get something wrong”.

It may not always be appropriate to push for a deeper what and the immediate why might be all you need to discuss.  But if supporting consistent top performance is your goal as a coach then I don’t think you can afford not to have a follow up, what’s this really about?, conversation as an option.

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