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Once upon a time...

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“I have a Question”!

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What is that...

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COACHING! Discover...

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Once upon a time…

Posted by insideout & beyond
Andrew was ten and his most prized possession was his football – he ate with it, slept with it and he polished it weekly… instead of his shoes. He knew all about football – but on some other things like where babies came from, he had no idea. One afternoon he was playing in the street and he lost his precious football. He looked everywhere. He thought that someone had stolen it. Eventually, he spotted a woman who seemed to be hiding it under her jacket. So he marched up and asked her, “What do you think you are doing with my football stuck up your shirt?” It turned out that she did not have his football… But that afternoon he learned where babies came from; and what a woman looks like when she is nine months pregnant. Later that day he also found his ball. What fascinated him most of all was, why until that day he never noticed a pregnant woman… and why, from then onward, he seemed to be surrounded by them.

Moral of the story:
We reach points in our life when we are ready for new information. Until then something can be staring in our face but we don’t see it. And by now, you are probably thinking about what has been staring in my face that I need to learn about. Whatever that may be, if you are thinking about it, you are ready to learn!




"I have a Question"!

Posted by insideout & beyond
“The questions are meant to provoke thought, create emotional uproar and inspire the student to find the answer. For the answers benefit the student, no one else” [Talent Sutra, by Devdutt Patnaik] Devdutt Patnaik, in his book ‘Talent-Sutra’, classifies students in five categories as the Pandavas: “

  1. Yudhishtir: As kin, expects others to know the answers
  2. Bhim: A man of strength; prefers to do than think.
  3. Arjun: As an archer sees questions as arrows shot at him and deflectsthem by counter questions; not interested in answers.
  4. Nakul: The handsome one, not capable of thought.
  5. Sahadev: He is the wise one who never speaks but is constantly thinking
  6. and analyzing. When asked a question, he is provoked into thought and comes up with intelligent answer.
A teacher who wants to invoke Narayan (wisdom) in his students follows the Sahadev-method of teaching: He asks questions and does not give answers. The teacher is not obliged to know the answer.” [Talent Sutra, by Devdutt Patnaik]

These laws of invoking wisdom have still not changed. They rather have been found. And we are lucky to have been living in times when organizations have started acknowledging and valuing this science called “Coaching”. Coaching is the new form of the age old art of asking questions to find solutions. Questions are an empowering tool to be used in coaching the employees. We all have solutions to our problems; we all have!answers to our questions. As a coach, we only need to maneuver coachee’s thoughts by asking questions, which help them take a deep dive into their limiting beliefs, thoughts, values andrules. The shift needs to happen atthe coach’s end: from solutioning mindset towards exploring mindset. And we help the coachees explore by giving them questions to think about; not necessarily answer.




What is that immediate change you think you can make to make this a better place?

Posted by insideout & beyond
I met an old friend a couple of months ago and very obviously we ended up speaking about work (smile). Assorted complaints flowed while we sipped on our once hot, piping coffee. Every minute detail she highlighted just made that imaginary light bulb in my head glow a bit brighter. I still remember how spontaneously I said, “Hey do you remember that book?” And of course she said, “Which one?”, looking all puzzled. Before my brain processed her question, “Fifth Discipline?”, I heard, as she uttered these words in a low tone. And there we went…

“People don’t respect each other there, man! They are so hierarchy driven. They are…. They are… They sometimes… They do…” and on and on and on she went. I narrated a short, true story to her.

“An elderly gentleman loved his walks and jogs with his wife. He had a huge obsession for sports shoes. His wife and he would go on a walk or a jog every morning and evening while they spoke their way away. He one day received a package that he tore open like a child who opened his birthday present. In the box lay a pair of running shoes that he had ordered online. His eyes gleaming with joy, he wore them on hastily and set out for his regular walk with his wife. They were less than five minutes into the walk and his lace came undone. He did exactly what anyone else would have - he tied it back up and continued to walk. Now to his disappointment the lace kept untying itself mystically several times through the evening. This continued over the next couple of days till he was beyond distraught with the manufacturer of the expensive, sporty looking shoes. By now, his wife would continue to walk while he did up his lace every time it came undone. Our old man and his loving wife were losing out on their happy talk time!

He decided to write to the company that made the shoes complaining of the quality of the lace that had been used. Just before he sent that correspondence, something occurred to him. He quickly looked up the internet and you won’t believe what he was looking for. The key words he keyed in were, “how to tie a shoe lace” To his surprise, there were 2 different ways to tie a shoe lace of which one method ensured that they don’t come off. His eyes lit up while his heart sank.

He did not send that email. He instead changed the way he tied his lace and continued to enjoy his little walks.

Peter Senge, in his book Fifth Discipline explains how organizations suffer from “learning disorders.” He calls one of the ‘syndromes’ as “The Enemy Is Out There Syndrome.” Several times we blame our environment, the system, our peers and bosses and finally our existence! If we only took a moment to understand how we contribute to the many issues we complain about, our decisions will vary drastically.

Going back to my friend, she went back and changed small things in the way she spoke and treated people around her. She called back the other day to say that while little has changed in her office, she feels much better. She mentioned two reasons – People now treat her differently. And most importantly, she made changes to herself making her the bigger person. With a big smile on my face I asked myself, “What is that immediate change you think you can make to make this a better place?”

Moral of the story:
Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge and the short story that was forwarded on a social media platform. (The short story in this article is my interpretation of the original that was forwarded)




COACHING! Discover your AAHA! Moments

Posted by insideout & beyond
Do you remember the “Eureka” story ofthe great scientist Archimedes? About 2200 years ago, Archimedes stepped into his bath and exclaimed “Eureka!” It means “I found it.” At that moment Archimedes discovered a solution to a problem he had been pondering upon from a long time. It was a moment of sudden discovery. The Eureka effect;It was a moment of deep insight. It’s an epiphany; the ‘AAHA!’ moment. Consider Archimedes’ bath tub as your mind; the water as all the thoughts, beliefs, values, fears, emotions and everything else that is filled inside your mind. Coaching is a process which facilitates the “dip” that you take to explore that water, and brings your “AAHA” moment to you; gets you your Eureka! A coach helps you take the dip; helps you take a look inside yourself and takes you through the process of self-discovery of all the solutions which we believe is available with us already.

This process of ‘holy-dip’ and the discovering your AAHA! Moments is called ‘Coaching Conversations’ The popular “GROW” model of coaching is one of the best ways to structure our coaching conversations Let’s see how GROW helps us in discovering the AAHA!

GROW: - Goal; the Aim I read this quote from J.P. Morgan, “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are” At the ‘Aim’ step you help your coachee to identify where is it that they want to be? What is the goal they want to achieve? At this step, we finalizethe goal which coachee wants to work upon. As a coach it is your responsibility to help the coachee think thoroughly and decide the goal which is important for them.

GROW: - Reality; the Audit Audit: - We are calling it ‘Audit’ because, here we help the coachee assess where he stands as at this moment; it’s like a self-audit. We help him dive into his beliefs, values, needs, and review what steps has the coachee already taken with regards to achieving his said goal. We may also challenge the coachee at this stage by questioning what got them to this stage; what has worked for them, what are their strengths and what’s been in the way of them and their goal.

GROW: - Options; the Hashing out
Hash-Out: -What happens when your desk, wardrobe, house, gets cluttered with so many things? Some are wanted; some are unwanted. Some are useful; some are totally useless. What do we do? We hash-out what we want; what will serve our needs, what is useful for us; and we do-away with the un-resourceful items. Similarly, as a coach, your responsibility is to help the coachee to hash-out the all the clutter in his mind. The key is,empowering questioning and listening. You will help the coachee to shift from an un-resourcefulstate to a more resourceful state; from problem-focus towards solution focus; solutions, which the coachee feels work best for them. You can help them reflect upon what all they can explore that they haven’t, yet; options, which are in-sync with coachee’s values and beliefs.

GROW: -Way forward; the Action

Act: -After the coachee has thoroughly valuated all of his available options, you need to help them to form an action plan. This action plan has to come from coachee; and you help them by asking about when would they like to start working on this plan? What are the next steps they would like to take? Don’t forget to check their commitment levels and when you’ll follow-upon the progress. As ICF defines it, coaching is all about partnering with your clients/ coachee in a thought provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential; you can facilitate self-discovery by using this AAHA! –The GROW model of coaching, and help your coachee fulfill their personal and professional goals. Punam Bhardwaj-Organization Development