Approach and Interventions
So we've got our approach, which is frustrate or support, and now, we have to design an intervention, a thing that we're going to do to help them speak in a way that is more courageous, compelling, and impactful and more aligned to who they are. So we're gonna design an intervention, and all these things are are a behavior exploration. I think of them as a behavior exploration that can unlock your client, or your mentee or your coachee or your client, whoever you're working with. So we're gonna, remember I talked about experiments earlier when we talk about the coaching stance. This is a place where you get to start doing a little bit of experimentation. So designing an intervention or behavior is something that they're gonna do that unlocks access to somebody's, to your client's more truer, powerful self, and sometimes these interventions can look pretty goofy. Sometimes, they can be really straight forward. I'm inventing them all the time. There's not like a playbook that you just pi...
ck and go with. You just gotta respond to what you see and design something that you think might unlock that. So the point, again, is not to necessarily eradicate a behavior. It's instead to move some kind of behavior out of the way that makes room for something better, bigger, more authentic to come forward. You know, so many of the professionals I work with spend their whole lives sort of fitting into a role and you know, not being, you know, being clear but not too forward, being, you know... Easy to hear, but not too loud, being direct enough but too direct. There's just like (squirms) And by the middle of our careers, I have to sometimes get back to what the thing is that was present before they got feedbacked into annihilation. So (laughs) It's, yeah, it's a thing. You get feedbacked into annihilation. So I'm gonna play in that space by first doing something I call a Positive Struggle Articulation. Okay now, stay with me on this one. This is the first time I've said this out loud to pretty much anyone. A Positive Struggle Articulation to me is articulating to my client what is it that you're do, that you're... What is it that my client is trying to do that has a good intention, but is getting in the way? Yeah, what is it, I know, it's, I'm getting a face like this, "What?" It's like what is it that my client is doing, I'm gonna say it again. What is it that my client is doing that has fantastic intention, but is getting in the way of what they want and what they want, how they wanna show up? They're kind of in struggle with it, right? And I want to transform that, or add something to that, that makes that thing not a blocker anymore. I'm gonna give you an example, that helpful? Yeah, give you an example, I hope this one works. A few weeks ago, I was facilitating an executive offsite. We did a live coaching with a handful of people. One gentlemen got up, and he, this is not dissimilar to an example I mentioned earlier, he got up. And he runs a, it's like a weekly or monthly meeting for a big strategy that's rolling out across the organization. Super friendly, this gentlemen, so friendly. So easy and lovely and approachable to be with, and he started his meeting like, "Welcome everybody, so glad you're all here. "We've got the next 45 minutes together. "First, we're gonna talk about this, "then we're gonna talk about this. "Then, we're gonna talk about this, "then we're gonna talk about this, "and I'm just so glad you're here. "For those of you that are dialing in," and he was smiling. It's just so easy, and here we go. And here we go, and here we go. Problem is he was so friendly that was overshadowing his influence. His like, right? His credibility sort of as a leader, not... Not just being in a support role. And his organization is in the middle of wanting to really transition from being perceived as a support function to being perceived as sort of strategic partner, yeah? So the way he was hosting the meeting, super support role, but antithetical to his desire to be perceived as this strategic partner. So I had to articulate the positive struggle, to say, "Oh my gosh, you are, listen to how friendly you are. "You are so approachable and wonderful, "and you're smiling all the time. "And it's just so, you're so easy to listen to. "If there's anybody I wanna get bad news from, "it's from you." However, that's kind of in struggle with what you say you want and how you want to be perceived in your organization. So would you like some coaching on that? (laughs) And he said, "Yes," so... So I chose to start with a frustration intervention, and ask him to try something different. I asked him to try something different. So this is what I mean by a Positive Struggle Articulation. It's a great struggle for him to have, and his intention is so positive. I wanna be seen as approachable. I wanna be seen as facilitative. I wanna be seen, right? I want people to know that they can come to me. I wanna have an open discussion, and (grunts) I wanna also kind of be the boss. How do I do both? Right, how do I not let this be a blocker to this? I'm gonna take a pause, any questions or comments about that, yes.
Follow-up question, what was the approach that you gave him or the tip that's like--
Oh yeah. I can tell you that now, and then later when we talk about interventions, we'll come back to it. I said, I asked him to start from the top like he's launching the meeting, and he only gets three sentences to get into the content, three. He's not Mr. Friendly Nice Guy. He's gettin' down to brass tacks right now and see how that feels. That's the intervention I gave him, yeah?
I love the Positive Struggle Articulation example you're giving us. What is the purpose of doing this?
Great, so the purpose of giving a Positive Struggle Articulation is to identify what it is that I'm gonna be coaching to. The thing that I see that is a gap. So once I can say it, then I can say, "Great, now I'm gonna design something for that." Does that make sense?
Yes, it also helps me calibrate to them, or with them, about whether they perceive it as a problem also. I'm gonna say problem, but as a struggle, right? I can say, "Wow, I can really see "you really wanna be friendly, don't you? "And you also wanna be authoritative, "you wanna crank up your sense of authority in the room. "So how's that going for you?" And if he says like, you know, "I don't really know how to do that. "How do I do both 'cause I don't wanna be perceived. "I don't wanna be perceived as not friendly, "but I don't know how to combine that with authority." So now, we're like, "Ah, okay, let's coach to that." It also sort of implicitly teases out what they want. "Do you wanna address that, great, let's address it." Then, I get to hold them accountable for addressing it if they end up having a sensation of doing that that feels unfamiliar and weird to them. But I can then reinforce with some positive articulation, which we'll talk about in a second. Yes, right here.
So what do you do in the case that they don't see that as being like a problem, or--
Yeah, sure, sure. So, you know, problem is the wrong word. I try not to use that much, but yeah, the... If it comes up that they don't see this as a thing, I will say, "Here's what I see you doing, "but here's what I heard you say you wanted "when we established the field. "They don't connect for me," or... Or I'll say like, "I understand that's not how it feels "to you, that's not your experience of it. "That's my experience on the other side, "and our experiences are never the same. "So would you like some coaching on that?"
Kind of like approach from the side?
Yes, yes, exactly. So once we've got a Positive Struggle Articulation, we're gonna design something. We're gonna go, we're gonna make them do something. In that example I just gave you around having this gentlemen like instead of over-talk the introduction in a super friendly way, I had him just, he had to get it down to three sentences. And he had to do it with a straight face, which was super unfamiliar for him. These are all very outside-in kinds of interventions. That's what they are. So we're gonna make an observation. I'm gonna declare my, once I get, once I... Do an intervention, excuse me. I'm gonna make a declaration of my experience that then the coaching intervention can stand on. So we make the Positive Articulation, Positive Struggle Articulation. Then, I'm gonna make an observation to say, it's a declaration of my experience. "When you are super friendly "when you start this big strategic review meeting, "what happens is I see you as a buddy "and not as an authority." Right, "When you rush, "I see you as unimportant "instead of as important," right? So I'm just naming an observation that I can make once we identify that Positive Struggle Articulation. It's sort of like the outcome of that Positive Struggle Articulation. "I see you having this. "You're super friendly, but you want more authority. "When you are overly friendly at the outset, "here's the impact on me. "Do we wanna correct that? "Do we wanna play and grow your range in a different way?"