There are some skills and techniques that we teach our students to use over and over again like a “broken record.” We’re going to explore a few of those on the blog.
One of my favorite ways to end a coaching session is by asking the question, “What are you learning?”
This creates a time for the client to pull everything together and synthesize what has happened during the coaching conversation. Often their response is a surprise to me – which is a good thing.
One of our students actually has taken this a step further and frequently asks the question again. You might think that the client would have said it all the first time they responded to this question. Yet, after some additional consideration, a client will offer a really great new insight and learning.
At the end of a coaching session, it’s easy to focus only on the next steps and actions. After you’ve dealt with that, what I like about this question is how it gets down to the thinking and belief system of the person themselves. The way we look at something – our thinking – matters. This question pulls that out.
Frequently, the learning is a reminder of something the client actually already knew, that this conversation brought to the surface. They may now see why they’ve been getting stuck; recognize a tendency for perfectionism; or feel the need to pause and step back from things.
Like many coaching questions, this one has the ability to bypass any intellectualization or rationalization where the client may be stuck in their head, and get to the heart and soul of the matter. It’s also a question the client can continue to ask themselves, in between sessions, and even after they’ve stopped working with me as a coach.
And as my student is teaching me, asking the question, “What are you learning?” a second time will usually elicit an additional response. It can be a small but meaningful nugget or a huge new insight.