Reflection 5: Reflection – gaining a 360º view

Reflection (rust-pale blue)


Reflection is a great tool for gaining a 360º view in coaching and in mentoring.

Giving yourself personal space to make sure that you focus consciously on what you are thinking and on what you are feeling is central to effective coaching. It is equally important for your client.

Like every coach or mentor you will have your own preferred ways of seeing and responding to new information or experiences, in the same way that each of your clients will have their own world view. Unless you build in to your practice a way of managing this reality you risk leaving yourself open to having only a partial view of what is going on for your client.

At best, this means you will have a limited perspective of what is being shared verbally and non-verbally about what is happening for your client. At worst you may find yourself taking your client along a route that feels right to you rather than supporting them to direct their own journey.

This is where reflection fits in

. . . as reflection is a great tool for gaining a 360º view in coaching and in mentoring.Illustration

We have looked previously at how important building in time to reflect before, during and after a session is to ensure you are managing what is going on for you as well as working the most effectively with each of your clients. Also, how reflection can be helpful in terms of potentially reducing rather than increasing your workload. We are taking this a step further by focusing on how we can capture easily what is going on in our unconscious as well as in our conscious mind which, in turn, supports you to gain a more holistic view of what is in front of you.

The information that comes in to us through our senses, which tends to be the information that lodges in our unconscious first, is usually the information which is the most intuitive. The most intuitive information is that which it is easy and effortless for you to collect because it links into your preferred psychological preference for taking in information. If you have responded to a Myers Briggs Type Indicator you will know immediately what I mean. All participants on our Coaching and Mentoring Development Programmes have an opportunity to complete MBTI as having an in depth understanding of self underpins your ability as a coach or mentor to better understand your clients.

Once you have this information how can you ensure that you are paying attention to the whole and not just to a part?

The way I find the most effective, and which we use as the basis for reflection on all our Programmes, is to ask 2 questions which tap into your conscious as well as unconscious mind. These make use of another of your psychological preferences – the preference for ‘thinking’ or ‘feeling’. The preference that frames your decision making.

They are very straight forward questions and give you a real potential for gaining that 360º view if you apply them before, during and after your coaching or mentoring sessions.

The questions?

• What am I thinking?
• What am I feeling?

Try them next time you have a coaching or mentoring session.

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