I want to finish this last Wednesday of 2010 with the final installment on creating a self development plan for personal success and peak personal performance with additional.
Here is the link to Part I.
First, I’d like to acknowledge ICA for their help and inspiration with this topic. Next, I’d like to make a request of you to take sometime alone and seriously contemplate what you want in 2011.
Follow the guidelines in referenced in this post(s) and design your personal self development plan for 2011 so that you can achieve your personal success!
Coaching and Transfer
One of the reasons that coaching has become so popular in workplaces and businesses is its capacity to provide tangible results, or what is known in adult learning theory as “transfer”; the ability to apply in one context something learnt in another. Mental Strength Coaching has a high level of learning transfer for a number of reasons.
1) It’s Ongoing. Mental Strength Coaching continues over a period of time so learning can be supported, monitored and measured over the time it takes to apply it. I sometimes use “spaced practice” of new skills with my clients. For example, if a client wants to practice having difficult conversations with their supervisor, they could go to a seminar called “Dealing with Difficult People” which would give them the theory of how to have difficult conversations. They may or may not then be able to act on this information. Alternatively they can practice with me many times over a period of time until they have thoroughly embedded the skill.
Coaching also allows my client to leverage more value out of formal and informal learning experiences that occur outside the coaching encounters by providing the opportunity to reflect on these with a skilled listener.
2) It’s Experiential. Coaching draws on the field of experiential education, in particular, Kolb’s theory of adult learning (Kolb, 1984). My clients learn by having an experience, then reflecting on that experience with me, coming up with new insights or ideas, and then going out into the world to apply these new insights. Upon applying new insights, they then have new experiences to learn from. In this way, learning goes on and on in a powerful cycle.
3) It’s Supported. There are some remarkable human beings who self manage their own learning, in the manner outlined by Kolb. Dig into the biography of Mozart or Michelangelo and you will find an extraordinary capacity for self-reflection, goal setting and ongoing development. Coaching provides the support that is needed at each of the steps of a learning cycle, holding us accountable for our own learning and development.
4) It’s Measured. Coaching is data driven. This data might not come in the form of charts or statistics, (although I use evaluation instruments at times). It may come in the form of the observations that I makes about my client’s response to questions. However formal or informal this data gathering is, it is part of the coach’s role to measure the client’s development.
Mental Strength Coaching and Kirkpatrick’s Model
So what does Kirkpatrick’s model have to do with mental strength coaching?
It is important with any learning activity, to include an element of evaluation. We heard earlier about how coaching has a high level of “transfer”. Evaluating the extent to which transfer occurred through a period of coaching is often very powerful for my client and very useful for other stakeholders such as corporate employers. More than this though, a skilled coach can assist the client to evaluate their learning at all four of Kirkpatrick’s levels. This can be done in a very formal way using an evaluation instrument, or it can be done more informally, as part of the coaching dialogue.
Reaction – It is important at the beginning of my coaching relationship that I establish what it is my client hopes to gain from an agreed period of coaching. As the period progresses, I regularly check to see whether those expectations are being met. I do this by listening and asking questions of my client. Some examples of questions that I ask are:
- You stated early on that you wanted to get X out of our coaching sessions. How can I structure our next session to make sure that happens?
- What did you learn from today’s session? How does that fit with the things you said you wanted to learn as part of the coaching experience?
These types of questions all help the coach and client evaluate the clients learning at the “reaction” level. They help the coach to build rapport with the client and to make sure that the client’s initial motivation is being sustained through the coaching experience.
Learning – My coaching process usually includes an analysis of the client’s strengths and areas that my client wishes to grow in. My client and I then attempt to use the client’s strengths as a platform to build on. This development of skills and abilities can then be measured against the initial skills outline, as my client builds on their strengths. I emphatically support this process by acknowledging skill development against this list.
Over time, I encourage and support my client to measure and acknowledge their own learning. This can be done formally with a skills assessment instrument, or more informally through a free-flowing dialogue. I will offer feedback when I notice a change in attitude in my client and acknowledge when I see that my client has developed a new skill. An example of this type of feedback would be: “I remember when you first came. You said you wanted to know how to manage a performance review. The way you are describing it to me now, shows that you have a strong understanding of how to do this.”
Behavior – Through questioning and discussion, I am able to uncover not only what my client has learnt in a particular period, but how this learning has altered their behavior and personal performance. Coaching is action oriented. While many learning activities do not require action, coaching does. I and other coaches need to ‘enthuse’ our client into action and then acknowledge them for their achievements.
I often acknowledge the behavior changes that I perceive within the coaching environment. For example, “You speak with such clarity about your goals. Well done.” I also acknowledge behavior changes that are demonstrated outside the coaching environment, in my client’s day to day life.
Results – Finally, as part of the mental strength coaching experience, my clients will develop goals for themselves; tangible examples of what their learning and development will look and feel like. Part of my responsibility is to support my client to be accountable for these goals and to celebrate milestones along the way. Coaching is outcome oriented. It is part of my role to support and acknowledge these outcomes- learning that results in positive life changes. It is the ultimate goal of coaching!!
Learning Through Coaching
One of the most important aspects for me in being a coach is living a coaching lifestyle. For me, a good coach “walks the talk” by sharing the passion for learning their clients. Part of the coaches learning journey is to learn how to be a better coach. This includes seeking, accepting and acting on feedback from clients, and making learning goals. I’m able to support my clients on their learning journey, not because I have a theoretical understanding of lifelong learning, but because I am on a learning journey of my own!
Kirkpatrick, D.L. (1994). Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.
Kolb, D. 1984, Experiential Learning. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
My e-book, “Develop the Mental Strength of a Warrior” can assist you tremendously in discovering and developing your own self development plan. If you’d like to explore this further with personal attention, request your Introductory Consultation.
Let me know your thoughts about this in the comments below.
- Mental Strength Tip #21 – Creating vs. Competing for Personal Success (warriormindcoach.com)
- Mental Strength Tip #10 – Segmenting Emotions (warriormindcoach.com)
- Mental Strength Tip #20 – Absolute Confidence for Personal Success (warriormindcoach.com)
- Mental Strength Tip #19 – Curiosity and Personal Success (warriormindcoach.com)
- Mental Strength and a Self Development Plan – Part I (warriormindcoach.com)
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