Looking at Snapshots for Coaching Effectiveness


June 1, 2011

The most common approach to coaching is envision where you want to end up and intentionally work your way toward that future.  Stephen Covey would call it "beginning with the end in mind."  At CoachNet, we describe this approach as "putting a frame around your future."

But there is another option.  Many leaders are not as concerned about the destination as the here and now.   Making a commitment to living (or working or tackling a project) a certain way, and focusing on the day-to-day decision making according to that commitment is powerful way of moving forward.  This might be described as living/working in a values-based way.  Each day you live by those values, and wherever those values take you is the destination toward which you're heading.  

snapshotsCoaching in this mindset requires a different posture than using a frame.  Consider a snapshot, especially one of these old school polaroid photos.  At the beginning of each coaching conversation, a photo develops.  Coach and leader work together to get a sense of what life looks like at this moment in this place--a snapshot of the current reality.  Then the conversation shifts to comparing the changes that show up between this photo and previous snapshots.  A side-by-side comparison over time gives a very clear picture of how you're coaching is producing change--and growth!

Some key coaching questions for the snapshot approach:

   * What are the core values to which you're most committed?
   * How do those come to life in your daily behavior?
   * What can you do today to live those out?
   * Who else might live that way?  How can they help you?
   * What now/next?

The biggest challenge in working with this model is to give permission to both leader and coach to pre-determine your destination.    Think about this as learning to be comfortable being driven by values.  Wherever living out your values takes you, that's your vision.   Not the way we most often operate...but potentially a great way to grow disciples through coaching, and this method could have plenty of implications for coaching in a postmodern world, but that's a topic for another post.

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