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HOW TO DESIGN THE COACHING SESSIONS?

ENERGIZERS & ICE-BREAKERS FOR THE WECOACHES - How to design the coaching sessions?

Energizers and Ice-breakers for WECoaches

How to design the coaching sessions?

Activity 13: Room 101

Type

Icebreaker

Exercise Name

Room 101

Specific objectives

This activity is great for using at the start of the coaching relationship. It is designed to help coachees off‐load ‘baggage’/issues that they have brought with them and get them out of the way.

Furthermore “Room 101” activity can help WECoaches bond with their coachees as it helps to ‘clear the air’ and stops the session from getting disrupted.

Duration

30 minutes

Material/room

Flipchart or similar, marker

Nr of participants

WECoach and 1 coachee

Description

Ask your coachee if she is familiar with the TV show “Room 101”. If not, explain that “Room 101” was a UK TV show where celebrity guests are invited to put things/topics in “Room 101”. This means that when something has gone into the room it can no longer be discussed on the show. Things that normally go into “Room 101” are things/people celebrities don’t like or feel uncomfortable with.

Explain to your coachee that you are going to do the same thing with up to three things / issues that frustrate her, annoy her or that she dislikes.

Ask your coachee to think of three things (work related / company related) that she wants to put in the room. These things need to be written on a flipchart, which will be hung on the wall. This will represent “Room 101”.

After the coachee has identified her selection, discuss about what has been highlighted, emphasizing that these topics are now out of bounds.

If during the sessions any of these topics start to be discussed, you can refer to the flipchart “Room 101”.

Methodological advice

Make sure that the coachee do not put anything in “Room 101” that directly relates to the content to be discussed during your sessions. Things that you should be encouraging her to put in, are things that will distract attention away from the main flow of the content.

Variations

This can either be an individual or a group activity, depending on participant numbers. It works in exactly the same way.

Weblinks, Videos, Pictures, further material

n/a

 

Activity 14: Deep Listening

Type

Icebreaker

Exercise Name

Deep listening

Specific objectives

This activity causes us to become aware of how much we are programmed to want to put ‘something of ourselves’ into a conversation with another person. We might do this by solving their problems for them, showing them how much we know about what they’re talking about, or even taking over the conversation completely.

The activity is great for:

  • Developing a different listening perspective.
  • Gaining a clearer understanding of your coaches, their situation, thoughts, and issues.
  • Being able to develop better relationships with your coaches.
  • Getting to know your coachees better and have more relaxed conversations with them.

Duration

45 - 60 minutes

Material/room

n/a

Nr of participants

WECoach and 1 coachee

Description

Ask your coachee to think of three (3) situations she would like to create change around. These might be problems, minor frustrations, or goals and objectives they already have. If they can only think of a couple, that’s OK – a third often pops up during the conversation. You are going to ask your coachee to talk about each of the three situations or issues, one after another. Your role is that of listener, and your coachee is the speaker.

The conversation – step by step

    1. The speaker talks about her three things (problems or situations she wants to change) with the listener. This should take about 30 minutes. During this time, the listener may ask questions, acknowledge points raised, clarify information, etc.
    2. The listener then takes about 10 minutes to summarize back to the speaker:
      1. What the three issues or situations are.
      2. How the listener feels about them.
      3. What else seemed unspoken, yet present or relevant to the conversation.
    3. Then the speaker gives the listener feedback, specifically:
      1. How ‘listened to’ did they feel, e.g. how well did they feel the listener gave them their full attention as they were speaking, and how well did they think the listener understood them?
      2. What effect did the listener’s ‘listening’ have upon the speaker, e.g., ‘It made me talk more, made me feel like this . . .’, etc.
      3. How did the activity affect how the speaker now feels about the three things?

During feedback, the speaker should give both their experience, e.g. what they felt, and what caused that experience. For example, the speaker might say, ‘I felt listened to because you asked me questions to help you understand what I was saying’. It is important to observe specific behaviours that created a particular result or feeling, so that the person listening can begin to appreciate how other people experience their behaviours.

Methodological advice

The role of the listener

The primary aim of the listener is to understand what the speaker is saying. By a process of listening, questioning or clarifying, you should aim to:

  • Understand what the situations or problems really are, e.g. if the speaker is not happy with their business, identify some of the causes of that. If they want a closer relationship with their employees, find out the driving factors behind that, what is currently in the way, etc.
  • Understand how they feel about the situations and be able to tell them afterwards, e.g. ‘I think this situation is frustrating you and also perhaps upsetting you a little’.
  • Be able to fill in gaps in the conversation, i.e. what wasn’t said. For example, ‘I think maybe you’re wondering how your employees/partners might react’.

Ground rules for the listener

During the conversation, however, do not:

  • Attempt to give the speaker ideas, solutions or suggestions relating to the situations they are discussing.
  • Refer to or discuss any of your own similar circumstances, experiences or feelings.
  • Attempt to control the direction or content of the conversation.
  • Seek to look good or impress the other person in any way, e.g. by asking ‘clever’ questions, by offering impressive facts or information, etc. 

Variations

Once you’re comfortable with the style of listening, you can use it anywhere you like. Use it anytime you want to give someone a really good listening to!

Weblinks, Videos, Pictures, further material

n/a

 

Activity 15: Rocks, pebbles and sand

Type

Icebreaker

Exercise Name

Rocks, pebbles and sand

Specific objectives

“Rocks, pebbles and sand” is a time management tool that helps coachees prioritise their time more effectively and understand whether they are spending time on their real priorities or perhaps, like many of us, they rush around dealing with the minutiae of everyday life.

Using big rocks and little rocks the coaches align how they spend their time with their "real" priorities.

Once they understand the big rocks in their lives, they can identify actions to move forwards with.

Duration

60 - 75 minutes

Material/room

1 transparent jug, some big rocks (that can fit in the jug), some pebbles, sand, paper and pen

jug

Nr of participants

Not limited to people

Description

PART 1

Start by following the instructions:

  • Fill a jug with big rocks and asks the coachee if it is full. The coachee will probably respond with a "Yes".
  • Add pebbles to the jug and ask again if the jug is full. The answer will still be "Yes".
  • Now add sand to the jug and ask one last time if the jug is finally full.

Ask the coachee to imagine what will happen if you change the order of materials you put in the jug. What if the sand and the pebbles where in first? Is there enough room for all the big rocks or some will be left outside?

The sand and the pebbles represent the small daily tasks we fill our lives with. If we don't fit our big rocks in first, our lives will fill with only sand and pebbles. BUT if we start with our big rocks, we create room for what's important in life - and the sand and pebbles can only fill the spaces in between.

PART 2

Afterwards ask the coachee the following questions and tell her to write the answers in a paper:

  • Where or on what do you currently spend most of your time? (Make a list of whatever jumps into your mind / 3-5 tasks are enough)
  • What is the one biggest, unwanted thing that zaps your time at present? (We are looking for an unwanted time-zapper not things that are wanted or necessary parts of their lives)
  • What needs to change?
  • Take a few moments to consider what is truly important to you in life right now. What are your Top 3 Priorities in life? (Make a list of whatever pops into your mind)
  • What one thing is most important to you right now?

PART 3

Use the given template:

  1. First, ask the coachee to write her key priorities/activities on the biggest rocks. Ask her to think carefully. What are her real "Big Rocks" in life right now? What's most important to her in life?
  2. Now, ask her to fill in the smaller rocks - your pebbles - with your next (lower) level priorities/activities.
  3. Then, in the tiny gaps between the rocks, write your lowest priorities/activities.
  4. Finally, prioritise your "Big Rocks" from 1 to 5.

PART 4

Ask the coachee the following questions (Optional: tell her to write the answers in a paper):

  1. Where do you currently spend your time compared to your "Big Rocks" - your real priorities?
  2. What does this tell you?
  3. What needs to change? What could you be doing differently?
  4. What is the easiest change/s you could make to prioritise your time better?
  5. What are you willing to change to prioritise your time better?
  6. Smash those obstacles: What could get in the way? If you were going to sabotage yourself how would you do it?

PART 5

The commitments.

Ask the coachee the following questions and tell her to write the answers in a paper:

  1. What will you change or do differently? Ask her to take a look at her previous answers and identify three (3) actions she will take to focus on her BIG ROCKS. Ask her to set a specific timetable for each task (E.X. Task 1 – Register my company by end of June 2020).

You can copy the tasks on post-it notes and ask the coachee to stick them in her car, wallet, fridge door, desk drawer or any place where she will see them often. You can also regularly check on her about the actions she took to achieve those tasks and if they are achieved within the deadline.

To wrap-up the discussion you can ask the coachee what is the biggest thing she learned about yourself from doing this activity.

Methodological advice

This activity helps coachees align how they spend their time with their "real" priorities, their "Big Rocks".

You can use this tool regularly to prioritise your week or month - and to make sure you schedule your big rock items first!

Variations

You can change PART 1 as follows:

At the beginning of the activity you can use 2 jugs.

Begin with the 1st jug:

  • Fill the jug first with the sand, proceed with pebbles and add the rocks at the end. You will see that not all rocks fit in the jug.

Proceed with the 2nd jug:

  • Fill the jug with the rocks, proceed with pebbles and add the sand at the end. All materials fit the jug “perfectly” and no rocks are left outside.

Discuss shortly why this happened.

Proceed with parts 2, 3, 4 and 5 as described above.

Weblinks, Videos, Pictures, further material

7 Big Rocks - The Productivity System (VIDEO)

 

Activity 16: Impromptu Networking

Type

Icebreaker

Exercise Name

Impromptu Networking

Specific objectives

This activity aims at rapidly sharing thoughts, challenges, expectations and build on these to start a new session/encounter. It is also helpful to refresh the goal of the journey and the areas in which the coachee needs more help.

Duration

20 min.

Material/room

No material is needed in this activity

Nr of participants

Two people: the coach and the coachee (although it can be conducted as a group activity)

Description

During the coaching relationship, you will find yourself opening many encounters with your coachee. Whether at the beginning of the relationship or at the end of it, sometimes it will be necessary to engage the coachee again in the coaching journey. In fact, at the beginning of the relationship the coachee can show high levels of determination and perseverance but these can lower with the passing of the time. As explained in the methodology of the WECAN project, motivation helps maintaining constancy and focus, thus it is crucial for the coachee to be determined and keep up her motivation to succeed in her entrepreneurial aspirations.

The exercise proposed will help you, as a WECoach, to introduce the coachee to a new session and to attract her attention and raise her interest right from the beginning of the encounter. By tapping into the coachee curiosity and passion, you will be able to get her focused on her journey and on the main objectives she wants to achieve.

To kick off this activity you will ask the coachee:

 “What big challenge do you bring to this encounter? What do you hope to get from today’s session?”

This question will draw the coachee into the session and will immediately engage her to address the obstacles she wanted to overcome by starting the coaching journey.

Listen to her answer. If you think she is being to elusive or that she is not being specific, invite her to deepen her thoughts. If your coachee is a shy person, help her feel comfortable and in a safe space.

Your role will be to listen and help the coachee focus on the solutions and positive actions she can take to overcome the challenges she feels are impeding her to be a successful entrepreneur. Let her express what she wants to address in the session and how you can help her. You need to be supportive and help her visualise the end goal.

Remember that each session is just a small part of the whole journey. So the proposed solutions to the challenge expressed by the coachee will be little actions or steps that taken together make the entire entrepreneurial journey.

Methodological advice

Impromptu Networking is a quick exercise used to share thoughts, unleash feelings and see the dots that connected will help the coachee visualize her journey.

You can use it before the start of a coaching session to:

  • Clarify the goals the coachee wants to achieve;
  • Refresh the learning goals;
  • Provide the coachee with the opportunity to get help on personal challenges related to her entrepreneurial journey;
  • Let her experience and explore how she can use what she learnt.

Variations

You can opt for different questions, depending on the stage of the coaching journey but also on the kind of relationship you have with your coachee. Other questions could be:

  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • What challenge lingers from our last meeting?
  • Since the coaching sessions, in what areas have you grown?
  • What turned out to be hard?
  • What demands further attention?

Weblinks, Videos, Pictures, further material

For a deeper understanding behind the Impromptu Networking methodology, please visit these websites:

Liberating Structures - Impromptu Networking (Website)

Rapidly share novel ideas and make personal connections with ‘Impromptu Networking’ (Website)

 

Activity 17: The Personal Ecocycle Planning

Type

Energizer

Exercise Name

The Personal Ecocycle Planning

Specific objectives

By using the Ecocycle Planning exercise you can help the coachee overcoming the bottlenecks along her entrepreneurial learning path, identifying which parts of her journey is lacking resources and which ones are rigid and hampering progress and thus can be eliminated.

The Ecocycle gives the coachee the possibility to see her pathway in the larger context, thus not just the trees but the entire forest.

Ecocycle Planning invites the coachee to focus on creative destruction and renewal in order to explore what she is not doing but should be doing and which are the things she is currently engaging in, but should not be her priority.

Duration

1 hour approx..

Material/room

A room with an open flat wall or a table with chairs

A blank poster of the Ecocycle map worksheet (see web link) that you can hang on the wall

Post-it notes

Nr of participants

Two people: the coach and the coachee (although it can be conducted as a group activity)

Description

The first thing you will have to do is to introduce the idea of the Ecocycle to your coachee (5 min):

“The Ecocycle Planning is an analysis method for projects and strategies that is used to (I) see the broad picture, (II) zoom in on waste, priorities and opportunities and (III) bring all perspectives at once”. Read more

Ilustración 1The Ecocycle planning, The Liberators: Read more

As you can see, there are four quadrants in the above image, representing 4 moments of a project or process:

  1. The first one is birth, meaning those activities that have just started,
  2. The second is maturity or better, the activities running,
  3. By creative destruction it is meant those activities that are running but that need to be stopped,
  4. Renewal/Gestation indicates those activities that need to be started, improved or supported.

It is very usual for people to handle many things at the same time. We often start activities that may become valuable at some point, but they require resources such as time and energy to become mature. This is why we usually put much effort in activities that are more mature and cost us less energy to get value out of them. Those are the activities a person should stop in order to make space for something new. If a person does not prioritise, she might be unable to start new activities because they would just add more chaos and stress.

This might be happening as well to your coachee and in this situation, she should creatively destroy what isn’t valuable for her project. The Ecocycle model represents this situation through the Poverty and Rigidity Traps. The first indicates the activities that are not getting enough energy and time while the second are those activities that cost resources although their value is diminishing or diminished.

After having illustrated the meaning of the Ecocycle Planning, you can hand out a blank map to the coachee and let her develop her personal Ecocycle Planning to identify activities that are helping her achieving her goals or are getting in the way.

Now you can ask her to enlist her individual activity list, regarding the entire path she is going through, or just one initiative she is undertaking that occupies her time (10 min).

Now you can work together to put the activities she selected in one of the four quadrants previously illustrated in the Ecocycle map using the post-its (15 min).

While placing the post-its, she should be explaining why she is assigning the activities to the specific quadrants.

After all the activities have been placed on the map, ask your coachee to step back and digest the pattern of placements.

Ask her

“What activities do you need to creatively destroy or stop to move forward? What activities do you need to expand or start to move forward?” (15 min).

At this stage, the coachee should be ready to propose solutions to move from her traps to the renewal or creative destruction stages. Please, always bear in mind that the actions that will take her out from the rigidity or poverty traps need to be small steps. Try to make her focus on a solution or step that she can take alone, without approval or resources from others and that is entirely within her possibilities (10 min).

This exercise should be done for each activity that needs to be stopped (activities that are in the Rigidity Trap), and for each activity that needs to start or get more resources (activities in the Poverty trap).

Your role will be to question her on the activities chosen and ask her why she placed them in the chosen quadrants.

Methodological advice

This exercise can be used in each of the phases of the coaching relationship – initiation, cultivation and separation. In fact, this exercise can be used:

  • At the beginning of the coaching journey, to detect the needs and challenges of the coachee and the stage of the entrepreneurial journey she is in;
  • In the middle of the coaching relationship, as a way to evaluate and check if the coaching journey is being successful. This energizer will help you keep track of the progresses made and check whether correction measures need to be taken;
  • At the final stage of the journey to understand if the coachee has reached the desired objectives and if she has taken the right steps to overcome the rigidity or poverty trap.

Ecocycle Planning is a very powerful activity and energizer but it can be challenging for both you, as a WECoach, to facilitate it and for the coachee who needs to understand it and use it for the first time. It is definitely more engaging and understandable if you use real life examples and metaphors (preferably a personal one) to explain the concepts of natural growth and destruction. In this way the coachee can better apply it to her personal experience and journey.

And remember to always start small! The corrective actions your coachee needs to take aren’t necessarily big changes or hard choices to take. All the journeys start from a small step.

Variations

The Ecocycle Planning can be integrated with other small and fun activities that can help you get towards the aim of the exercise. It is up to you to modify the steps or add other activities. Feel comfortable and use it as you prefer, the map is here to guide you but each relationship has its own peculiarities and no one rule fits all!

Weblinks, Videos, Pictures, further material

Peer coaching with a 2-hour string of Liberating Structures (website)

Liberating Structures - Ecocycle Planning

To help you explaining the Ecocycle Planning in an easy way: Ecocycle Planning (Website)

 

Activity 18: The Puzzle

Type

Energizer

Exercise Name

The Puzzle

Specific objectives

This energizer activity is a fun game that you can play with your coachee in order to build a stronger and closer relationship but also to prove your bond and team work.

Duration

20 min

Material/room

A puzzle – a simple one for kids under 5 with few and big pieces.

A table.

A chronometer.

Nr of participants

Two people: the coach and the coachee (although this activity can be conducted also for a group of people)

Description

The game consists of solving a simple puzzle together with your coachee in the fastest time possible.

The exercise needs to be repeated 3 times and no talking is allowed (!) during the making of the puzzle.

Before starting the game, set the chronometer and check how long it takes to solve the puzzle together. Remember that your goal is to solve it in the shortest time possible.

You need to repeat the challenge three times but before the second and third times, you need to clearly decide how long you will take to solve the puzzle together – 3 minutes, 5 minutes? It is up to you, but it needs to be each time less than the previous one.

At the end of each round, you need to discuss what you did better than the previous one or what went wrong. It is important to analyze the strategy you have adopted (if you have adopted any) and what you did before at the end of each round.

This exercise helps participants understanding if they are on the same page, if they understand each other and if they can take different actions/steps towards the same directions.

Methodological advice

This game is a team builder and also a very good exercise to build trust and confidence with your coachee. The most difficult part for you will be to be engaged in the game, thus this time you won’t be an observer. But at the same time for you it will be important to analyze and understand what your coachee is doing.

By looking at how she acts, you will understand if she is a leader, a good team player or whether she lacks empathy and likes working on the puzzle alone.

Although this game might seem simple and easy, there are a lot of insights hidden in it if you observe how the coachee approaches the challenges.

Variations

You can involve other people if you think you would better not participate in the game.

Weblinks, Videos, Pictures, further material

 
 
 

Project Coordinator

EUROCIRCLE
Centre d'Information Europe Direct


47, rue du Coq, 13001 Marseille, France
https://eurocircle.fr/
+33 4 91 42 94 75

Charlotte Perault, EU Project Manager
charlotte@eurocircle.info

Hélène Seigneur, EU Project Manager
helene@eurocircle.info

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