In a recent post, we looked at how a frame helps your client get clear about the results of a coaching relationship. Read this post first if you missed it.
But what goes in the frame? Think about what you have on your walls. What do you put in a frame? In my house, we have a lot of wedding pictures, family photos, and art.
Coaching clients envision where a preferred destination then intentionally work toward that future. Stephen Covey would call it “beginning with the end in mind.” Masterful coaches call this “putting a frame around your future.”
But many leaders worry less about the destination and more about the here and now. Making a commitment to living and focusing on day-to-day decision making adds power to your actions. Think of it as living or working in a values-based way. Wherever those values take you is the destination toward which you’re heading.
Coaching clients gain essential clarity to design better actions. Your values drive your plans. Your energy goes into the here and now, and tees up your future. Your focus nails what’s most important to you, and you go wherever your values take you. As you move, a picture or snapshot of what your future will look like begins to develop.
This kind of coaching requires a different posture than using a frame. You’re not JUST looking forward. How can you factor in the starting point? A side-by-side comparison of where you are and where you’re going begins to frame out the route from Point A (starting point) to Point B (the vision in the frame.)
Deep understanding of values helps you choose meaningful actions. Adding action to actions cements client commitment and virtually guarantees progress on what’s most important.
Consider an old-school Polaroid photo. During the conversation, the image becomes clear. Coaches might even use powerful questions to shake the client’s perceptions (like the old process of moving a Polaroid around to accelerate the chemical reaction that develops the image). Coach and client 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 in this photo and previous mental photographs. A side-by-side comparison shows how you’re coaching is producing change–and growth over time!
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 most significant challenge in working with this model is permitting the leader 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 people through coaching. This method carries implications for coaching in a postmodern world, but that’s a topic for another post.
Where do you see snapshots improving your coaching?
Also published on Medium.