Saturday, June 21, 2014

A mediator of thinking

The goal of the cognitive coaching workshop that I participated in last week in London was to help us grow in our capacity as mediators of thinking.  This is one of the important differences between this type of coaching and the type advocated by the recent MOOC I participated in, which was more instructional coaching.  Cognitive coaching firmly believes that the solution already exists in the person being coached - and that the coaching can bring this solution out by encouraging the coachee to deeper thinking.  Instructional coaching, it seems, is much more about coaching someone how to do something.

Cognitive coaching aims to develop capacity.  There is a great analogy here:  when a container is full it cannot hold more, but building capacity is about increasing the size of the container.  People's beliefs, values, capacities and behaviors are always congruent with their sense of identify, so if coaching can provoke a change in the sense of identity, it can also lead to a change in capacity and behavior.  A coach can pose questions in such as way as to help the coachee self-assess, analyze a problem and develop his or her own problem solving strategies, and in this way a coach can strive to enhance behavior by impacting the quality of the thinking process.

Photo Credit: ЕленАндреа via Compfight cc

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