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We don’t need to be told that work is busy. Pressures are everywhere. Finish one task or one meeting and there is a good chance that the next few challenges are piled up ready to go. We rarely get the time to reflect as we power through our work, unless we allocate time or are forced into reflection by the questions of others.
Without reflection, we all struggle to focus and question our priorities, our relationships and our performance. The value of coaching is that it can create this space in our work week and help make our work far more effective. The power of questions from others is that they force us to reflect, to consider a wider perspective on our work and can break the patterns that form in our busy thinking.
Great leaders coach. They know how to ask simple questions of their teams that foster reflection on goals, priorities, alignment of work and the effectiveness of work. Creating a supportive coaching environment in a team enables people to reflect on how to improve more often and more effectively. Great leaders encourage peer coaching too.
Peer coaching is a powerful technique and one that can happen in the flow of work. Taking the time to ask each other “How did we do? What can we do better or different next time?” is all that it takes to create more reflection in our work. We don’t work alone the insights and observations of others can help us become more effective. Working out loud, purposefully sharing our work with our peers, invites our peers into our work and facilitates this reflection.
In the coaching work that I do, I find asking the simple questions clarifying goals, the situation and opportunities to do things differently creates a space for a new and powerful conversation. The time invested can have dramatic returns by clearing blockages, building new collaborative networks and focusing the effort of work. Often the improvement opportunities are obvious when someone has time to reflect on how they can do things differently.
An added benefit of the time to reflect through coaching conversations is an increase in accountability in organisations. Regular coaching conversations with a leader, a coach or peers, create personal accountability to translate improvement opportunities into action. Knowing that someone will ask “what have you done differently?” helps us reflect continuously on how well we are delivering on our plans.
Reflecting with the support of others is the heart of learning and performance improvement. How are you fostering a coaching culture to benefit your performance and the performance of the teams around you?
Simon Terry is a coach and consultant who helps individuals and organisations to make work more effective. Reach out to discuss how more coaching can foster reflection for you and your organisation.
Today I was talking to a former colleague who reflected that after a year our personal approaches to work had changed dramatically and the way we see the world had changed too. My response was that if you reflect on your work that outcome is inevitable.
The process of daily reflection identifies ways to change and to improve. Lots of daily changes driven by reflective practice accumulate. In pursuit of mastery your approach to work becomes barely recognisable to where you began. Reflection transforms you step by step.
Working Out Loud Helps reflection
Harold Jarche recently made the point that working out loud isn’t much value without reflection on the value to you and to others of what you are sharing.Reflection is required for working out loud but it is also driven by the practice.
Reflection is a key driver of the benefits of working out loud. The practice of working out loud will accelerate personal learning and transformation through:
– Purpose: Working out loud helps you discover the purpose behind your work and enables you to better focus your efforts. Things that bubble up to be shared are more likely to be purposeful for you. Purpose will also be near the things we choose to do most often. Understanding why you work is a key element of any transformation
– Awareness: sharing your work sharpens awareness of what it is you do. Awareness is the beginning. As they say, knowing you have a problem is the first step.
– Sharing: framing your work to be shared can give you a new perspective too. Asking yourself what others will see and what tacit knowledge you rely on is a valuable reflection process.
– Engagement: the questions and observations of those with whine you share drive new insights and new lessons.
Work out loud and the connections and reflection will change you and your work for the better.
International Working Out Loud Week is 17-24 November. Get involved at wolweek.com.