Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Coaches’ help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives. Coaching is not only about increasing or improving performance, it is also about shifting the way we see and interpret the world so you see new actions to take.
Coaches’ are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has.
Professional Coaching is a partnership between a qualified coach and an individual or team that supports the achievement of extraordinary results, based on goals set by the individual or team. Through the process of coaching, individuals focus on the skills and actions needed, to successfully produce results.
The individual or team chooses the focus of conversation, while the coach listens and contributes observations and asks compelling questions, which can assist in generating possibilities, and identifying actions. Through the coaching process, the clarity that is needed to support the most effective actions is achieved. Coaching accelerates the individual or team’s progress by providing greater focus and awareness of possibilities leading to choices that are more effective. Coaching concentrates on where individuals are now and what they are willing to do to get where they want to be in the future.
The Ontological Coaching Model
Ontology is the study of being. In applying this definition to coaching, you could say that Ontological Coaching is a method that observes how you are “being” in your life. How we apply this model to your work and personal life is very simple. We use the Observer-Action-Results model. Before we explore the OAR model, we must begin to understand why we observe things in our particular way.
Historical discourse refers to our personal history and experiences. Included in our historical discourse is our family of origin, our religious background, our age, sex, ethnicity, political views and experiences. All of these things have an impact on how we view the world.
A 45-year-old African American woman from Detroit will see the world very differently than a 45-year-old Caucasian woman from London. -The Prairie Home Companion is a perfect example of the historical discourse in Minnesota. If you grew up on a farm and I grew up in the city, chances are that our world-view would be very different.
Knowing our unique historical discourse allows us to recognize the distinct differences in others. When we take into consideration that everyone has their own historical discourse influencing the way they see the world, we are more apt to be open and flexible when others react differently than we would.
Assessments and Assertions
Assessments are our personal judgments and opinions while Assertions are based on fact. For example, if we look at a chair, we can make the assertion that it is a chair because it is a fact. We all know what a chair looks like and it is easy to Assert one when you see it. Whether this chair is comfortable, attractive or ugly, is purely our assessment of it. One person may assess that it is comfortable while another assesses it is uncomfortable.
All day we make assessments about hundreds of things. Whether our job is easy or hard, what we like or dislike about someone, what others are wearing, if we are happy or sad. Human beings naturally assess everything! The problem with many of these assessments is that they are not facts, they are merely our opinions but they do influence how we will respond to a situation……and many times our assessments are not for the best outcomes.
Our goal is to make choices that yield the best results in any situation. Holding a negative assessment hampers our ability to produce the kinds of results we say we want. The importance of determining whether what we say is an assessment or an assertion is that it allows us to separate our opinions from fact. Opinions can change but facts stay the same. If we understand our assessments are just our opinions and not the cold hard facts, we can quickly begin to change the outcomes of our relationships by changing our assessments.
The Observer-Action-Results Model
Each of us sees the world in our unique way. How we see the world affects every decision we make. For example if we see the world as a dangerous place, all of our decisions are organized around that view. We may never ride a bus alone, or travel without other people; we may develop suspicious tendencies about others or limit the risks we allow our children to take. That one observation of the world can have a powerful affect on how we live our lives and what risks we are willing or unwilling to take. How we observe the world directly correlates to what we see as problems and what we see as possibilities. As we Shift the way we observe the world new actions become available to us that were not available before.
Our actions are driven by our Observer. If we are limited by the way we observe a situation, we will also limit the actions we are willing to take. Most problem solving is based on the model that if we change our actions the results should change as well. The problem with this method is that it disregards how you are seeing the problem, which closes off the possibilities of new actions.
If we use the example above and see the world as a dangerous place how will this effect the decisions we make? Will it affect our ability to lead? Absolutely. Effective leaders have the distinct ability to build and maintain trust. If we observe the world as dangerous, chances are we will have issues building trust.
Our ability to be fully aware of our behavior allows us the opportunity to see new possibilities. The results of this are remarkable. We can now make decisions that are not based solely on our opinions and habitual judgments. We are free to look at each situation in a new way that opens the door to possibilities as opposed to problems.