Reflection 7: Capturing Reflections – Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow!

Reflection (grey-yellow)


Helping coaching and mentoring clients recognise how far they have travelled is a vital part of the process.

Encouraging them to reflect on and record their journey from the outset provides both you and your client with the tangible evidence you need to demonstrate progress and celebrate success. It also enables your client to recognise the specific steps helping them achieve their ultimate goal – the acorns that will lead to that oak tree!

Why is helping coaching and mentoring clients recognise how far they have travelled important?

Whatever the rate or nature of progress it:

  • motivates – success breeds success
  • builds confidence and self esteem
  • demonstrates to the client that s/he has the ability to take control of their situation and effect change
  • reaffirms to the client that they are on a journey and provides them with an opportunity to check out they are still on the ‘right’ road
  • enables them to understand what they have done that has made the difference so they can build on their strengths and repeat it
  • helps them to reflect on anything they may want to do differently next time so that the learning is captured quickly and positively

And . . .

Why does this need to be done systematically?

Often it is difficult for a client to see how far and how fast they have come or to remember what has made the real difference. When was the last time, for example, that you wished you had recorded key points that mapped a journey? A journey, perhaps, which took you to the point where you wanted to complain about a product that had broken down consistently since you bought it? How good it would have been to have all the dates at your fingertips when you phoned the manufacturer! Or, when you wanted to remember the stages on a journey which you wished to repeat. Perhaps the order in which you had completed a jigsaw puzzle? How did you manage to get that annoying final blue bit incorporated last time?!

You will know as a coach and mentor

. . . that the most invaluable tool you have for capturing learning is reflection. The richness and depth it brings to your understanding of every session is immeasurable. You will also know from experience, if you are anything like me, if you don’t catch that learning at the time those neurons connect something else is always waiting in the sidelines to claim your attention. Similarly, a moment that seems so significant and so blindingly obvious – illuminating – to a client during a coaching or mentoring session is at risk of dissipating when they step back into their busy life.

Role modelling how they can capture that time of quiet reflection, through consciously noting and rehearsing the learning, is the most important gift you can give them. Helping them to pause and reflect, to consciously notice and hold on to that learning, gives you a wonderful platform for demonstrating to them how they can self coach. Self coach between your sessions and, most importantly, self coach long after your work with them has finished.

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