Last Friday I ran a workshop on the ManyStory Approach to coaching, as outlined in Shifting Stories, for members of Cumbria Coaching Network. As ever, it was fascinating to work with peers, using the ManyStory approach outlined in the book.
Participants were particularly interested in the way I ran the practice session, in which they worked in pairs as a coach and a coachee, seeking to change an unhelpful story. I gave them a very clear structure: 15 minutes on each of the three phases of the programme, and specific questions and outcomes for each phase.
That worked extremely well. In fact the coachees reported that knowing this structure in advance had really helped them to be coached better. They found that they restricted their recounting of the unhelpful story to make sure they didn't over-run the 15 minutes allowed; and indeed noticed that they were already 'taking a stand on it' as they told it. ('Just listen to yourself!' one reported herself as thinking as she recounted it).
Which made me think about my own practice. When I am taking people through this process, I don't normally spell it out in this level of detail. But perhaps I should. Nancy Kline (qv) is a great advocate of being careful not to infantilise people. That includes not making a mystique of our practice, but being very transparent.
I recognise that the people I was working with on Friday are skilled and experienced coaches, so may not be typical of my clients. But I think I will try the experiment anyway - so watch this space!