Talking and Writing by the Coach

Last week’s Sustaining the Thinking Collaborative Journey considered writing by the coach during a conversation. So what about writing by the coachee? David Sibbet, author of Visual Meetings, reminds us that gestures are the basis of all graphic representations. So as a person gestures, there is a graphic representation being offered. By matching gestures, a coach offers a mirror of the graphic representation the person is creating during the conversation. Often that is the visual cue to the person that organizes the thinking. Adding a visual metaphor in a paraphrase can also enhance the understanding of the coachee regarding his/her thinking.

Usually, we’ve found, it is unnecessary for a coachee to write. The very act of constructing one’s own thinking through conversation creates new neuronal connections in the brain that didn’t exist before. However, some people have the need to put ideas down for sustained memory. If a person starts to write or asks to write, the request should, of course, be honored. Some coaches have found it can enhance thinking for the person by offering some time to write at the end of the conversation. We believe writing is a thinking process, so there are no absolutes about how a person might need to use graphic representation of thinking as s/he speaks. The skilled coach will be consciously flexible in responding to the needs of the coachee.

What are you noticing about writing as part of your coaching conversations? What have you learned about use of graphics in coaching conversations?