The idea of coaching is not new. Football players from 8 years old to NFL pros all have a coaches. Not that the players need to know how to play the game, rather, to be guided to a win.
With that idea in mind I picked up the book, The Coaching Habit by Michael Stanier. What prompted this interest is Catechist Coaching that is being developed in our diocese. What is happening is Catechists (aka religion teachers, PSR, CCD etc) are offered coaching. This is not to tell a person in the classroom what they are doing wrong, rather, guide that person, at their request, to solve their own problems.
I was exposed to a taste of the training coaches go through and was immediately intrigued. The short bit I received was about Positive intent language vs negative. For example, rather than ask "Did you do your homework?", negative intent, ask, "What homework do you have left?", positive intent.
In the positive intent I am conveying that my child has done or is doing their homework. I am telling my kid "you got this". See a list of positive and negative intent language below plus a downloadable PDF at the end of this post. It is remarkable how much different conversations go with my kids by incorporating this simple change of language into my routine. It makes a difference.
The Coaching Habit capitalizes on my rudimentary skills and expands it. Not only does the book incorporate positive intent language, it helps readers learn a better system to help people solve problems.
How often have we jumped into a conversation ready to solve a friends', kids', spouses' problems and they don't take our sage and knowledgeable advice? I am a master at solving my work troubles IF ONLY SHE'D LISTEN right? The steps, if applied, help people like me avoid this mistake of giving out unsolicited advice and causes me to set on my hands, listen, and ask questions.
The author identifies 7 simple questions to be used.
|1.||The Kick Start Question “What’s on your mind?”|
|2.||A.W.E. Question “And what else?”|
|3.||Focus Question “What’s the real challenge here for you?”|
|4.||Foundation Question “What do you want?”|
|5.||Lazy Question “How can I help?” or “What do you want from me?”|
|6.||Strategic Question “If you say yes to this, what must you say no to?”|
|7.||Learning Question “What was most useful or most valuable here for you?”|
The challenge here is to improve the way we communicate by taking one or two of the questions above and incorporating them into our daily vocabulary. Are these questions appropriate in every conversation? No. However, work, home, and ministry often have us filling the air with unwanted words, advice not followed and feeling defeated. This is where learning to be better at asking questions and listening more than talking will improve our relationships and achieve better results.
I have deliberately left much discussion out. The Principle is simple: listen, then ask. Rinse wash repeat. I do encourage readers to pick up the book. It is a worthwhile read.
Below is a list of positive intent language that started this journey.
|Assuming Negative Intent||Assuming Positive Intent|
|These say "I don't believe...||These say, "I believe you have already thought about it, done it, or are planning to"|
|Did you... Do you...||What...|
|Is... Are you...||Where...|
|Can you.... Could you...||Which...|
|Will you... Would you...||How...|
|Have you thought about...||As you...|
|You NEED to...||Knowing that...|
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