‘Human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep. You have to go looking for them; they’re not just lying around on the surface. You have to create the circumstances where they show themselves.’
Sir Ken Robinson
I was recently invited to part of a discussion about creativity in coaching. As well as contributing my thoughts, it was interesting to hear the importance we all placed on creativity within our coaching sessions – for many different reasons.
How important is it for coaches to be creative in their coaching?
We all agreed that as coaches, the most important thing is to use our coaching skills to best serve the coachee we are with at the time.
This means using our creative thinking to help them to think creatively; to hold them in such a safe space and ask such insightful questions that they are able to tap into their innate resourcefulness and learn something new about themselves.
This is exactly what the great Sir Ken is talking about in his quote above. The ‘circumstances’ we create for our coachees can lead to powerful change for them; it is a joy to see the lightbulb moment when they realise what they need to do to solve a problem or change a situation. This is creative thinking at its best.
Coachees respond to their coaches in myriad ways. The same coachee can come to a session in a completely different way to how they came to a previous session. Perhaps something significant in their life has changed, or maybe they are just having a really bad – or good – day! However they show up, it is always their agenda which is worked on. It is the coach’s job to be creative in helping the coachee bring up what is most important for them to talk about.
Metaphor is a creative and powerful technique often used by both coach and coachees.
An Acting Headteacher was really frustrated when they came to a coaching session a while ago.
“There’s just so much to do, in so little time. We know the inspectors are going to be visiting soon, and the pressure is huge. I feel like I am running so fast all the time. It’s a race against time!”
I asked her, “Who are you running with?”
“Everyone! I need the whole staff to work as hard as possible if we are going to get the results we want.”
I felt a sense of breathlessness in my own body.
“Where are you in the race?”
“I’m way out in front.”
“What are you noticing?”
“I feel so alone.”
“How does running so fast serve you?”
“It doesn’t, I’m exhausted. I need to slow down and let other people catch up with me…and then we can work more together.”
She went on to plan some actions towards more collaborative working – as she tapped into her creative brain and solutions started to flow!
The outcome of the conversation wasn’t just about actions and solutions. It was about deep learning for the coachee, who now keeps her analogy of the race as a way of working. It was a transformative moment for her!
Click here to watch the 30 minute conversation about ‘Creativity in Coaching’, or here to listen to the podcast version.