Rationale         Structure         Areas of Mastery         Coaching Circles

Coaching-Circle-groups--1024x1016Today real connection, authentic interaction and reciprocal collaboration is a key ingredient for happy people, successful teams and great organisations.  These are deeply longed for by people across all walks of life but they do not know how to create or receive it.

In business today leaders are in search of a fresh understanding of themselves.  Many of them are looking for a compelling purpose to give true meaning to what they do.  They long to take an honest look at what no longer works in their life, attitude, style or approach.  To experience this growth and transformation they need the safety of like-minded individuals.  In Coaching Circles participants develop new self-insights, courage to make different choices resulting in new attitudes and behaviours which improves their relationships with themselves and others.

Why do teams, working groups and organisations fail?

Teams, Working Groups and Organisations seldom fail because they lack the skills, knowledge or experience; they generally have this in good supply.  They fail mostly because of the stubbornness of successful, intelligent and strong willed individuals. These individuals are often not prepared to make the behavioural and attitudinal adjustment to accommodate their colleagues or team members.  Ego, past success, competitiveness, fear of failure, power, prestige and status all make it very difficult for individuals to collaborate for the greater good.

This culture of rugged individualism might have brought the individual great personal success in the past. However, in an interdependent and cross-functional environment, success is leveraged off the currency of co-operation, collaboration and the mobilising of minds towards new innovations.  Rugged individualism then becomes a stumbling block in the path of the larger objective of organisational effectiveness and competitiveness.

How does one build, nurture or sustain this kind of collaborative approach?  It requires that professionals, team members, specialists, cross-functional/ departmental team members etc. collectively subscribe to demonstrating the following qualities namely:

  • Trust
  • Vulnerability
  • Humility
  • Constructive Conflict Engagement
  • Steadfast Commitment to group/team decisions
  • Taking personal accountability
  • Holding each other accountable, and
  • Being collectively results orientated.

Workings of a coaching circle

  • Members are clear about Why the coaching circle exists.
  • They focus on clearly articulated:
    • Personal developmental goals
    • Team or personal performance objectives
    • Organisational opportunities, challenges or issues.
  • They meet regularly at a fixed time and day.
  • They create group safety by agreeing to a set of “ground rules”.
  • They bind themselves to a collective commitment via a team contract.
  • Maximum no of members in the coaching circle is 6-8.

Temporary External support

Their journey is supported by an external, skilled and credible facilitator.

  • The facilitator teaches the team the coaching circle process.
  • Walks with the team for a predetermined period until the team is confident, willing and capable to continue, without the help of the external facilitator.

Coaching Circle discussion process

1. Presenting the issue, problem, challenge or dilemma

Each Coaching Circle member will receive equal time to present their development gaps, challenges, issues or business dilemmas to their peers.

2. Peer Deep Listening & Robust Inquiry

The Coaching Circle members (peers) are coached and therefore equipped by the facilitator to drive the inquiry by asking questions of each presenting member.  Through this inquiry it is hoped the person presenting will find new ways and insights.

Research has shown that most people have the answers to their dilemmas within themselves; all they need often is to be directed by being asked insightful questions accompanied by compassionate deep listening.  Coaching Circle members can therefore expect questions from their peers that will be constructive and aimed at challenging their perspectives, attitudes, assumptions, beliefs, commitment and accountability.  This will help them to take right and practical action in their lives and business endeavours.

The aim is not to create a room of “experts” or “amateur psychotherapists”.  Rather the objective is to create a safe and dynamic space in which people can share their experiences, wisdom, mistakes, disappointments and emerge as better human beings because of sharing, being listened to and listening to others.

3. Self-insight and discovery

Each presenter will receive ample opportunity to do “sense and meaning” making.   After the feedback and inquiry from the coaching members (peers), the presenter will be guided to carefully reflect on what has been said.   They will be encouraged to share their insights.  They will also be required to make explicit the actions they are committing to take to overcome the challenge or dilemma.

The Coaching Circle approach uses self-awareness and discovery as opposed to quick answers.  As adults each one wants to be treated as an inquisitive, thinking and engaging human being.  Therefore because of the discovery inquiry approach, individuals will come to their own insights and be more empowered to take full accountability for any action they might choose to embark on next.

4. Time to think (collective wisdom)

The circle peers will also receive an opportunity to briefly share their insights gained from the presenter’s sharing.  This is not a time for more advice giving rather it is time for the peers to say what they might have learnt or what has shifted for them from the presenter’s sharing.

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