#CIPDCoach14 – interaction & how to ask q’s w/ strangers

In recent months there have been lots of conversations coming out of CIPD events about the approach at conferences needing to change to bring some of the great learning environments into reality at these events – there’s a desire to move away from constant ‘sage on the stage’ sessions because they’re not the best learning environments.

In fairness the ‘sages’ we’ve seen so far today have been great but it’s even better that the CIPD have listened to what’s important to their members and they’ve created the chance for some action learning sets in the room. May this be the start of the continuous evolution of the world to be collaborative so we learn together and perform better!

We’re seeing someone on each table bring a challenge to the group that they’d value some help with – but not ‘advice’ help. This is about questions to help their thinking, to discover new routes through, to generate new ideas in themselves.

And quick stuff – only about 5 minutes for each round – the next person is on to talking about their challenge, ready for some questions.

Interesting that I’m hearing questions about the content, the safety zone of questions, and I’m hearing advice-giving.
Do you notice yourself doing this as coach?
How often do you stay comfortable with the ‘not knowing’ and asking questions to help the client’s thinking, rather than to satisfy your own need to know, control – and perhaps to satisfy your need to KNOW the perfect solution to their problem?
Do you really believe your client has the ability to generate their own ideas and fresh thinking?
How do you know that what you think or say is better than what they’re about to think or say?
What impact will you have on them if you tell them your idea first – even if the way you ‘say’ it is through clever questions that take them to the answer you wanted them to get to!

There’s a great exercise you can use in a group setting which can be incredibly powerful to enable someone’s thinking……
The ‘client’ gives an outline of their challenge
The ‘questioners’ can ask a couple of clarifying questions if needed
Going round the table, each questioner takes their turn and asks a question of the client with the intent of helping them find a way through (what is it you really want to achieve with this? what would be the worst that could happen…type stuff – and even get creative!)
The client doesn’t answer, they just write the questions down
You go round the table 2 or 3 times taking turns to ask a question
The client reflects on their questions and notes the 1 or 2 that have been the most helpful to their thinking
They can then take those away to consider further – or maybe to get some 1:1 coaching.

It enables the questioners to be challenging of the questioner without the social awkwardness of ‘is this going to be too challenging’ – even if they’ve only just met!

Great session to get people talking, sharing and learning though – brilliant Andy L & the events team – more of this please!


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