Adaptive Action Coaching: Coach as Teacher; Coach as Learner

Learner, teaches teacher. “Teach and learn in every interaction.”

Recently I finished up with two executive coaching clients that I’ve had for a year. Their organization was shifting their culture, and they needed their leaders to do the same. We started off with a good plan, and the coaching went pretty well. Both made great strides and see where they still have to grow. They are grounded in their values, identified and lived into who they want to be and hopefully shifted the culture by their example.

I should be satisfied, but when I look back at how I showed up, I wonder if I did all I could. Did I help them understand how their behavior and the culture they are in both shift  when they  look at patterns? Did I do it in a way that will help them consciously see their patterns and the patterns around them? Did I help them know to act in conscious choice grounded in both their values and in situational needs at the current time?

I’m still growing so much in finding the path between coaching and a “coaching-plus-teaching” approach. When I got my coaching certification, the skills taught were all about putting the client fully in the driver’s seat. I still believe that is true, but when you learn things, shouldn’t you also share them? So that has been my journey as I weave human systems dynamics into my coaching. My coaching is now about how I see the patterns in my clients, and how I can teach them to see patterns and take conscious actions in their own lives. This is the basis of using the Radical Inquiry, and HSD-based model and method that is the center of the HSD coaching approach.

I always find it helps to talk to others about how they weave HSD into their coaching practice. To learn about another’s experience, I followed up with Sara Swords, who was a participant in the Adaptive Action Coaching Lab I led last year.

Sara is a recent HSD Professional who started her HSD journey through the webinars and reading HSD materials. Then she signed on for the Adaptive Action Coaching Lab. Sara is an organizational development consultant and executive coach who works primarily in the humanitarian sector. (Yes, lots of complexity!)

I was intrigued to talk with Sara because her palette of coaching wisdom comes from her instincts of the wisdom of storytelling (enabling others to tell their stories) which was the focus for her thesis during her MSc in Organizational Consulting, her, her coaching accreditation from the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, and her learning in narrative coaching and neurolinguistic programming. Before her HSD training, she had rich knowledge in coaching! I was intrigued to find out how Adaptive Action Coaching has impacted her coaching. Here is a part of our conversation.

Lecia: With such a solid base of coaching already under your belt, why were you drawn to the Adaptive Action Coaching Lab?

Sara: I was receiving very difficult coaching assignments and I noticed that they were embedded in a whole eco-system. I needed a way to hold the whole system, both the individual and the organization, in my mind while coaching.

Lecia: How does HSD and Adaptive Action Coaching help you with that?

Sara: I found that the language of patterns, the models and methods and Adaptive Action (What? So what? Now what?) helped me really hold all the complexity of what was happening while helping the client move forward.

Lecia: You mentioned you had attended HSD free webinars and read some of the free open source materials, so why did you join the Adaptive Action Lab?

Sarah: First, I am so grateful for the generosity of the Institute for sharing so much openly to a wide audience. It immediately made it feel different to many other organizations. Having discovered the materials and the conversations I wanted to have a structured practice to integrate the information. I really enjoyed the joyful discussions with the wide variety of experienced participants (and lab leads), reviewing my coaching assignments and just being able to think ahead about how I was going to approach coaching situations with HSD. My curiosity escalated during the Lab!

Lecia: How has Adaptive Action Coaching helped your clients?

Sarah: What I have found is that Adaptive Action helps people articulate where they are at by giving them a structure. The Radical Inquiry process really helps people articulate what they want. It’s interesting how some people are so embedded in their situation that it is hard for them to articulate exactly what that is at first. I return to it several times over the course of the coaching journey. Radical Inquiry gives a powerful method to unearth the patterns someone wants to create. And the visuals of the models and methods give an added dimension that helps clients articulate and work through their issues. It gives them a way to coach themselves.

Lecia: What would you say to other coaches out there considering the Adaptive Action Lab?

Sara: Are you constantly finding yourself working at your edge and need support and help whilst there to enjoy more of what you do? Or are you ready to move your practice to your next edge? Do you want to help your client see and understand the complexity of their life versus trying to compartmentalize its various aspects? If so, Adaptive Action Coaching will challenge you, broaden and deepen your practice, and bring even more value to your clients. I learned a lot about coaching my existing clients and a lot about myself in that role.

Thanks to Sara, the learner, who taught the “teacher” to think more broadly about the eco-system my clients are living in. She challenged me to use the visual models as a part of my practice more. Living out the HSD simple rule, “teach and learn in every interaction,” is so easy with all the wisdom that shows up in the Labs. Thanks Sara for teaching me!

Ready to move to the edge of your coaching? If so, learn more about Adaptive Action Coaching: Build Patterns for Success.  For more information or to register for this online Adaptive Action Lab, follow this link.Do it  today to step into the edge of your coaching practice.

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