I’m just here for a refresher

At the start of each coaching workshop I ask the participants ‘what is it you’d like to achieve from today or get out of today, so that this has been a great use of your time?’

My aim is to encourage the participants to really think about what they want to get out of the day and to take responsibility for starting to achieve that.  It often kind of shocks the participants into thinking, rather than being passive.

In a recent course I noticed a bit of theme as participants started to say ‘oh I’m just here for a refresher’.  So my questions back were aimed having them be a bit more specific so that I understood their background by asking:

  • So what is it that you want to particularly refresh?
  • What have you done in the past?

To which the answers typically came, I just want to refresh my coaching skills because I’ve done a lot of courses like this before.

So I asked ‘what kind of models did you learn?’ and ‘how long ago?’

And the answers were, ‘things like this (point to the workbook)’ and ‘two or three years ago’.

So I congratulated the participants on coming back for a refresher and reinforced the importance of refreshing our skills continuously.  And then I set them to do a coaching exercise practicing the GROW Model.  It then became apparent that they needed more than a refresher, because they weren’t coaching at all!

They were jumping in to fix the problem and make suggestions; cutting each other off, talking over the top of each other and not even asking the basic GROW Model questions.  They thought they knew the answer to the problems and couldn’t understand not asking ‘why’ questions and leading questions starting with ‘don’t you think you should…’

So I worked hard with this group, not to give them a refresher but more to hold them accountable to actually implement what they had learned from this day and other days. I think it is too easy to say ‘you’ve done a lot of courses’ but what I am more interested in is ‘what have  you implemented?’

Companies are spending the money to grow the skills of their people, there’s no doubt about that. I think what’s also needed is for those people to take responsibility for taking what they have learned back into the workplace and actually implementing, rather than falling back on old habits.

It’s too easy for people to say ‘oh the company didn’t do any followup’ and my question is simple, ‘well what followup did you do?’

I think that we are all given opportunities for growth and development but it’s what we do with that learning that counts.

I’m reminded of a quote that we put at the end of all our workbooks from Jim Rohn and it sums up how I feel…and what type of person I want to be…

“Give a lecture to a thousand people.  One walks out and says “I’m going to change my life.”  Another one walks out with a yawn and says “I’ve heard it all before.”  Why is that?  Why wouldn’t both be affected the same way?  Another mystery of life.”

Enjoy your coaching!