Monday 16 November 2009

The Role of Profiles in Coaching...'Your postcode is NOT your home address'

As a Coach you're 'expected ' to have access to profiling tools as part of your diagnostic work. If you don't know what these are they're simply tools to help people understand themselves better. We each have a preferred way of working and a style. (DiSC, Insights, Myres-Briggs etc)
Have you ever noticed some people just get their heads down and are TASK and DOING people? Others are PEOPLE and RELATIONSHIP types. Others again are STEADY and AMIABLE and yet another group are ANALYTICAL and DETAIL oriented. Which 'type' are you?! There are typically 4 styles and we're all a mix of the 4 but some traits are more pronounced and developed than others. There are no good and bad types only DIFFERENCES! If you learn to accept that you'll save yourself a LOT of grief!

The benefit of knowing our 'type' is it helps us understand our own strengths and soft spots. Once we know this we can do something about it! It can also demystify the 'world of others'. Perhaps they're not quite the tyrants we labelled them. In fact in most cases they're just busy being themselves. There's a great saying in Coaching; "Everyone's behaviour makes sense to them". Another way of looking at this is to accept that they're doing the best they can right now. Perhaps it could improve, but most people are not busy being difficult. They're like you, they're busy being misunderstood! It's one of our deepest needs to feel understood. Next time you come across behaviour you don't understand try saying to yourself..."How very interesting, I wonder what they MEANT by that"? This is a great question and has saved me from jumping to many a wrong conclusion.
Abraham Lincoln once said, where possible, we should grant people the benefit of the doubt. I'm inclined to agree with him. Let me give you a painful personal example!

I asked our then 15 year old daughter to check the DART timetable to see when she wanted to be dropped off at the local station. I went out and when I came back she was on the computer. I ASSUMED she was doing something else. I let her know how unimpressed I was. She explained, the DART timetable I gave her was out of date and she went on line to get the correct information. We're Stephen Covey fans (7 Habits of Highly Effective People). She quoted Habit 5..."Seek first to understand dad"... Plonker Dad!!

When we look to understand the behaviour of others and grant them the benefit of the doubt I find their INTENTIONS are usually honourable. They may make poor decisions and mistakes but work would be less miserable if how we TREATED people at work was more respectful. Many times we fail our people and their mistakes are actually our mistakes (gaps in training or coaching). Relationships would be more ADULT to ADULT. Making mistakes is part of improving. My own line is "it's ok to make mistakes, it''s not ok NOT to learn"

Profiles help by increasing SELF-AWARENESS and EMPATHY. This is the entry point to increasing your own Emotional Intelligence (called E.I.). If you do undertake such a profile do so in context. See it as your postcode, rather than your home address!! Take what's useful and use that to improve. Then use what you're learned to get on with the rest of your day!

What's your feedback on this topic or on any profiles you have completed?

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