Reflection 2: Reflecting on Reflection

Reflection (dk purple-green)So . . . how has that reflecting on the use of reflection in coaching and mentoring been going?

Last week we explored the usefulness of reflection framing our coaching and mentoring sessions. This is regardless of the length of the session . . .  as it is as important for a session of 10 minutes as it is for a much longer session. In fact, you could argue that it is even more important when you have limited time to be impactful!

I don’t know whether your reflecting on the use of reflection in coaching and mentoring has changed your practice already. Perhaps encouraged you to schedule more time for reflection before your session or maybe to think about how it fits into how you review each session with your client?

Bringing learning into consciousness

. . . needs to be a conscious process if you are to make sense of it and repeat it at will. It won’t just happen by itself. On occasions, you will want to break it down into its component parts in a similar way to when you learn a new skill such as driving a car or a new sport.  You need to reflect on and practice each element of what you have learnt before it becomes a coherent whole which is internalised and automatic.

Getting into the regular habit of consciously thinking about reflection as part of your preparations for a coaching or mentoring session will pay dividends for both you and your client. It will also ensure that you don’t forget to give yourself that vital time to reflect on what you want to achieve before you come together. And, in so doing, securing an atmosphere conducive to learning right from the outset.

For both you and your client . . .

  • Reflecting before the session not only clears both your minds of anything that might get in the way of your time together it also helps to begin to clarify where the focus of attention might be. You may want to discuss with your client how they might prefer to schedule time in for this reflection. For example, some of my clients decide to do their reflection on their journey to and from our sessions by making the decision to come by train, others like to have 10 minutes before we begin the session to do some personal processing while others schedule time before we meet
  • Reflection during the sessions ensures that you are keeping on track or consciously moving on to another track as appropriate; gives you time to check out that you are actively listening to everything that is being communicated – not just what is being ‘said’; that you are batting out of the way any of your own ‘stuff’ and are gathering evidence that enables you to work most effectively with your client in the moment
  • Reflection after the session enables you both to capture and process further the immediate learning as well as primes the unconscious to keep working its magic – so that you can capture the learning that emerges over the next days and weeks

Reflection on, and of, learning is good practice regardless of the environment within which learning is taking place. However, in a coaching and mentoring context making learning a highly conscious process is central to moving forward from where you are now to where you want to be. Reflective observation of self, and the impact of what you are thinking and feeling on what you do, enables both you and your client to make conscious what is unconscious so it can be used positively and proactively.

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