CorrectTech Community Corrections Blog

The Foundation of Coaching:  Respecting Autonomy

Posted by Evan C. Crist, Psy.D. on 9/13/18 9:44 PM

The first three questions of The Coaching Habit:  Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever that are discussed Kickstarting a Coaching Session, Coaching with the AWE Question, and The Coaching Habit of Creating Focus, work together to create focus and define what the client sees as the central problem.  As we have discussed earlier, it is tempting to believe that your work is primarily done once the problem is solved.  The Advice Monster will see a clear definition of the problem as an opportunity to solve it, look brilliant and move on to the next problem.  No patience, process or angst required.  Most of us went into this field due to our passion to help others.  Somehow along the way, we learned that helping others means attempting to solve problems for them.  Well intentioned but well off the mark.  “What is the real challenge here for you?” isn’t the beginning of the end, it is the end of the beginning.  The first half of the coaching process is defining the problem.  The second half is identifying the solution.  That process begins with a simple (but not easy) question?

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Topics: The Coaching Habit, Michael Bungay Stanier, Evan C. Crist, coaching community corrections clients

The Coaching Habit of Creating Focus

Posted by Evan C. Crist, Psy.D. on 8/14/18 1:44 PM

After cutting through the fog of small talk and vague concerns with the Kickstart Question and a series of And What Else? questions, you have narrowed the focus. Perfect. Time to fix it, right? Wrong. It is time to slow down your urge to believe your brain that you know the problem and have the solution. Narrowing the focus is different than specifically defining the problem. You are getting closer but aren’t there yet.

The third question in Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More and Change the Way You Lead Forever is the Focus Question. “What’s the real challenge here for you?” We’ve addressed the danger of the Advice Monster in a previous blog and it is most likely to attempt to take over the discussion here. Your frontal lobe is now convinced it fully understands the issue and the advice monster is eager to do its bidding. The Advice Monster impulsively disagrees with a basic tenet of therapeutic intervention; It is our job to expose the client’s values and desires, not to impose our values and desires. Unsolicited advice is an attempt to impose our values on a client. You are in good company. We all have that urge. Instead, let’s find out what the real challenge is for them at this moment.

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Topics: client development, The Coaching Habit, Evan C. Crist, coaching community corrections clients, client needs and values, the awe question

Coaching with the AWE Question

Posted by Evan C. Crist, Psy.D. on 7/18/18 2:28 PM

“And what else?” is perhaps the most important question in the The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More and Change the Way You Lead Forever. While technically the second question presented, it should be the most oft repeated question by far. According to the author, Michael Bungay Stanier, the AWE question works like magic, and he declares it to be the “The Best Coaching Question in the World.” He explains, “With seemingly no effort, it creates more – more wisdom, more insights, more self-awareness, more possibilities – out of thin air.”

It is a challenge to develop the habit of asking this question because your Advice Monster will discover the problem and the solution to the problem very quickly. The human brain does not like ambiguity and pushes us to find clarity, the quicker the better. Like most unhelpful habits, awareness that you have an Advice Monster is a critical first step. The recovery process is simple but not easy. Whenever you feel the urge to offer advice, insert “And what else?” in its place. (I purchased an ugly cartoon monster for all of my staff and we all have it on our desk as a reminder that the Advice Monster is alive, well and eager to take over as soon as you let your guard down.)

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Topics: Listening Skills, The Coaching Habit, coaching community corrections clients, reaching clients emotions

Kickstarting a Coaching Session

Posted by Evan C. Crist, Psy.D. on 7/7/18 1:08 AM

The first question in The Coaching Habit:  Say Less, Ask More and Change the Way You Lead is known as The Kickstart Question: “What’s on your mind?” I think it is a near perfect way to start a therapeutic session with any client. Most managers now know that coaching is valuable and proven, but many do not attempt coaching because they do not know how to start. Opening statements such as, “How’s it going?”, “I just wanted to check with you on how the new position is going.”, or, my personal favorite, “Is there anything I can do for you?” are a bit like passing someone in the hallway and greeting them with, “How are you?” Each of the above openings begs for a brief response that “all is well.” The answer is reflective and social norms generally suggest that answering the question with real life concerns is inappropriate. People will quickly learn to stop asking that question if you really answer. Hopefully, therapy and/or case management is different but old habits die hard.

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Topics: Community Corrections Professional, Listening Skills, The Coaching Habit, Community Corrections Client Services, Developing a practice model, Evan C. Crist, Switch by the Heath Brothers, what's on your heart, coaching community corrections clients, reaching clients emotions

Put a Coaching Habit at the Heart of your Practice Model

Posted by Evan C. Crist, Psy.D. on 6/29/18 9:18 AM

When considering where to start formulating a practice model, I happened upon The Coaching Habit:  Say Less, Ask More and Change the Way You Lead Forever. I love the title. It is so packed full of important concepts; coaching, habits, listening, asking, changing you, leadership and the future. Wow, if that’s the title, imagine all of the ideas covered in this brilliantly simple book by Michael Bungay Stanier. While in the past I’ve questioned the actual importance of coaching vs. the rise of the rhetoric and number of coaching books, after reading this book I am a believer. If you read one book about coaching, make it this one.

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Topics: Motivational Interviewing, client development, Listening Skills, The Coaching Habit, Michael Bungay Stanier, Community Corrections Client Services

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