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Once a coaching question is asked, you can’t go back…

I remember when I was training as a coach that I held a belief that for every coaching situation there would be one intervention that was “perfect” for the matter in hand. And yet there were so many questions that I could ask or not ask – and so many avenues to explore once a conversation started – which one should I choose?

I was also very aware that once a question was asked I couldn’t go back, I couldn’t “un-say” it! I would always have influenced what happens next. In those early days I found this almost paralysing …. What if I say the “wrong” thing?

Many years later, I’ve become much more comfortable with the fact that no matter how experienced I become as a coach there will always be more “happening” in a session than it’s possible to deal with at the time.  I’m now much more fascinated with considering what I do or don’t see. What was it that informed my choices ? And what was it that prompted me go in one direction or another?  Whilst some of those choices will be conscious, at other times the choices I make could be the result of my unconscious or because of the dynamics in my client relationship. No wonder my head spins sometimes!

In truth it wasn’t until I trained as a supervisor myself that I became aware of something called the seven-eyed model, and once I got over the challenge of remembering what each of the 7 eyes were …. I found I loved it!

In my experience the structure provided by the 7-eyed model helps me un-pick what might have been happening in the session both at conscious and unconscious levels.  Quite simply, each eye offers a different perspective from which to explore what might be happening.  Sometimes I use it to review my work independently, sometimes it is still all rather confusing and I need to talk it through with another professional coach or my coach supervisor.

With practice I have become more aware of the choices I make “in the moment” when working with a client. However, the sheer complexity of the coaching relationship means that I have yet to feel that I am making the “perfect” intervention that I dreamed of finding in when I was training!

In this series of blogs I wanted to bring the 7-eyed model to life. Below you’ll find my own “pictogram” of the model – as to be frank I couldn’t understand the original! In the subsequent blogs I’ll offer you my understanding of how each of the “eyes” work in practice.  Trust me, it’s really not as scary as it may first appear.

Seven eyed model

         Diagram taken from Hawkins & Smith (2006) and adapted by Michelle Lucas

Is there a particular ‘eye’ that you find most valuable to reflect on and why? I’d love to hear your comments!

Posted by Greenfields Consultancy / Posted on 01 Jun
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