The Midlands Coaching Conference was put together by two coaches who shared a vision of creating an event full of workshops that are designed to ‘help you learn new approaches, develop as a coach and grow your coaching business in 2020 and beyond’.
However, the event was so much more than that. There was a real sense of togetherness, of learning from each other, sharing what works, and what doesn’t. Attendees may have arrived as strangers, but they left as fellow coaches, sharing a passion for helping others make sense of the world around them.
Why were we part of the day? Because people rarely work in isolation. Understanding your strengths - using them effectively when working with others - and understanding the impact they have on others, is crucial. This is what we are passionate about. We help individuals, teams, and organisations around the world to work more effectively together.
We are also very curious. Our workshop was the first part of our input on the day. The second was to find out more about the behavioural make-up of ‘coaches’.
We all know that coaching is a process. One that allows an individual to reflect and gain awareness of who they are, what is important to them, their strengths, challenges, the options open to them and what action to take in order to make the changes they want in their work or life.
As a coach, you are there to help the coachee take responsibility for identifying their own goals, assessing their own strengths and areas for development and visualising their own solutions for moving forwards.
This is achieved by providing a safe, creative and non-judgemental space, asking thought-provoking questions and listening to help the coachee explore, reflect and make decisions.
With this in mind, what would a typical coach look like we wondered? Is there such a thing as a typical coach?
- Listening skills indicate the Belbin Team Roles of either a Co-ordinator or Teamworker
- Thought-provoking questions point towards both the Plant and Monitor Evaluator Roles
- Creation of a safe, creative and non-judgemental space? A Teamworker, Plant, Co-ordinator and Monitor Evaluator environment springs to mind.
- But coaching is also a process, helping the coachee along a path of their choosing. The Implementer Role is the one with strengths here.
We can go a bit further however, as each conference attendee was offered the opportunity to complete the Belbin Self-Perception Inventory, and get feedback from others, prior to the day. Everyone was then asked to add their names to our Team Role Circle – they could add themselves to as many segments as they thought appropriate – we are very unlikely to have just one Team Role strength. Most of us can play two or three Belbin Team Roles well.
So, what did the resulting Team Role Circle look like?
As expected, there were plenty of Social Roles present – Teamworker, Co-ordinator and Resource Investigator. The Thinking Roles (Plant, Monitor Evaluator and Specialist) were there too, but not quite as plentiful. There was a lack of Action Roles (Shaper, Completer Finisher and Implementer).
And at first glance, this seems about right – is there a place for challenging, driving and competitive behaviour? Do we want to start looking at detail, precision and accuracy? Do we need practical solutions to problems?
And the high Resource Investigator? Not necessarily useful whilst coaching (unless you are needed to have a fabulous little black book of useful people) but essential when meeting others, networking, sharing ideas and marketing are concerned!
So a collection of Coaches could be termed a Collaboration, a Conduit, a Conductor, an Orchestration? Perhaps a Shoulder, an Ear, an Outstretched Hand? Alternatives could be a Guide, a Facilitation, a Suggester. What would you suggest?
One word of caution. The effectiveness of the coach will also depend on the behavioural strength and weaknesses of the coachee. What happens if both have similar Team Role profiles? Who will provide the structure, the energy and the goal-setting? What happens if the coachee has strengths in all the action roles?
The Coach needs to understand not only their own behavioural strengths and weakness, but also those of their coachee. They will be required to be flexible and to keep the objectives of the coachee in clear focus. This is where the language of Belbin becomes invaluable.
We produced a Belbin Team Report based on all the data. If they were a working group, would they finish anything?!
Photos taken by the wonderful www.charlieflounders.com