Ask the Certifiers: Clarify by Natalie Tucker Miller, MMC
Q: I’m having a debate with my triad buddies. If the coach “misses or ignores what is most important”, as stated in Mastery #6, Clarify, is it possible to still coach effectively? I say yes, because there is always some truth to whatever the client brings to the session. My colleague says, no way, you’re just going down rabbit holes if you don’t get to the heart of the session.
I love this kind of debate! It’s not unlike some of the discussions the certifiers might have when faced with this very issue in a scoring session.
The short answer is: you’re both right. With the risk of sounding trite with “it depends,” it really does.
Now, first let me make it very clear that if there is not evidence of having discovered the importance of something for the client whereby a noticeable and transformative shift occurs, there are several factors to consider. There is not a cut-and-dried answer to such a complex relationship as coach and client.
First, let’s use the language of the Masteries to determine some things:
Is the coach making assumptions without verifying what they heard?
Are there symptoms that are addressed without discovering what is driving the symptoms?
Does the coach appear to be minimizing or avoiding a topic?
These are examples of behaviors that are not likely to be effective for gaining clarity, and an outcome of “going down rabbit holes” is certainly a possibility. It may well be difficult to have an overall productive session, as we have seen in Mastery #3 (Engaged Listening) Infographic how the masteries work together.
Now, let’s consider a second instance. What if the coach misses something important — not because of avoiding or solving or ignoring, but because there is an excavation process taking place? As the coach identifies patterns of thought or action, she gauges the reactions of the client and remains respectful to the client’s process. There may be something the client is hinting at, but is reluctant to fully share. Still, the effects of clarity are there. The client feels understood, his energy is increased and there is more possibility for further exploration.
We’ll assume that in neither of these examples the client has the proverbial “ah-ha!” However, in the first instance, the coach’s behaviors that show up under “Clarifying” could be indicative of similar skill in other masteries, making it difficult to have a satisfying session. In the second instance, there is more possibility of the client gaining clarity of thought, or clarity of their relationship to the situation, which could result in a fulfilling session.
So please, continue to have these debates, and see if you, too, can find evidence for both sides, citing the effects, measure, behaviors, etc., within the Masteries E-Book. (free for members, $27 for non-members).
Natalie Tucker Miller, MMC, is the Lead Certifier and a certifying examiner at the IAC, as well as Past-President. Natalie is founder of Ageless-Sages.com Publishing (www.ageless-sages.com), and creator of the literary genre, Picture Books for Elders™.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.