Listen, don’t fix – a coaching demonstration

It’s our natural inclination as helpful humans to jump in and try to fix the problems people bring to us. But as this coaching demonstration with my amazing friend #DiversityDana shows, that often doesn’t end up helping as much as we’d like.
In this 5½ minutes coaching demonstration that we did in a live webinar, Dana brings a dilemma that has been plaguing her all year. She wants to get up an hour earlier than her kids to enjoy the quiet and stillness of the house, the most productive time of her day but 18 days into the year and it hasn’t happened once.
Using these 3 simple coaching techniques she gets to a realisation that maybe she needs to think about the time differently.

I went around the cycle 7 times in 5 1/2 minutes:
1. Ask – What’s on your mind
Listen
2. Summarise
Listen
3. Tell me more
Listen
4. Tell me more
Listen
5. Summarise
Listen
6. Tell me more
Listen
7. Summarise
Listen

Watch here to see it all unfold.

On review I notice I interrupted Dana, twice in fact, at 3:16 and 3:39? Luckily it didn’t phase her and in hindsight what I could have done is waited another beat to make sure she was really finished with her thinking before asking another question. I suspect I was feeling a bit of pressure from the live demo and my attention wasn’t 100% on her.
Did you notice her two big ‘aha’ moments at 4:50 and 5:30?
It’s after the demo at 6:56 when Dana describes what it was like being coached, she makes the point that she has talked about this numerous times but the advice she was getting wasn’t working for her and this was the first time she was able to talk it all the way through.
I asked people in the webinar what they noticed and this is what they said:
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  • I was dying to give her suggestions
  • Hardest thing is to let the person talk
  • Saying very little requires A LOT of restraint
  • It highlights the real strength of a solution come from within
  • I need to learn to let someone talk and not be the fixer
  • amazing how such a simple technique can be so empowering
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I’d love to know what you notice as you’re watching and please feel free to ask any questions, I respond to everyone.
Want tips to change the conversations you’re having with yourself and others in your inbox every Sunday?
A big heartfelt shout out to Dana James-Edwards for agreeing to do a live coaching demonstration in front of 42 people and also agreeing to me sharing it with all of you.
Dana is an Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) expert who helps companies build diverse brands and create inclusive cultures where team members want to stick around. She has worked across a wide range of industries and organisations – from startups to government agencies, leading consultancies and titans of industry. Dana has designed and developed EDI programmes and initiatives, designed and delivered learning, shaped policies and helped companies get to grips with their diversity reality by uncovering and providing solutions for the things getting in the way of creating a workforce reflective of the wider world we live in.
Check Dana out on Instagram #diversitydana and her website https://www.diversitydana.com/
This letter was inspired by a post from Sarah Jane Last from the The Work Psychologists who posted this amazing guide on how to support a colleague who is experiencing trauma and grief and work. Please share this far and wide.
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