Thursday 5 January 2017

The Purchasing Coach: Unconventional tools

My name is Alison Smith, and I often use unconventional tools when coaching, and also when facilitating sessions.

There I've said it, and here's why I use these unconventional tools:
  • The main reason is they're very effective at inspiring change (more about that in tomorrow's post).
  • They really are effective in a business context - as, for example, the CIPS board of management, Scottish Institute for Business Leaders, and Professional Speaking Association in Scotland can confirm.
  • They're effective because they're very good at bypassing resistance to change.
  • They're different - which means they retain people's attention longer as individuals puzzle and wonder about what's going to happen next.
  • I'm very good at using them to facilitate change - the feedback I get supports that I keep the session grounded and aimed at achieving the goals, at the same time as expertly using my intuition to guide clients in the direction of maximum growth to unlock potential. 
  • I'm good at keeping a healthy sense of fun in the session.   
  • I love using them - there's nothing so satisfying as not knowing where a session will go, and then facilitating the client's journey, and seeing the difference it has made at the end.
  • I like new, creative and innovative tools that tap into our unconscious - because just like an iceberg the solution is more likely to be found in what we're not logically and consciously aware of. 
I spoke in more depth about the unconventional tools in my 2016: my year in blogs post.

Here's a quick introduction to a few of them:

I'm spending the afternoon today facilitating a Transformation Game - it's a tool I use in personal coaching sessions, and is very effective at helping clients identify and remove what's holding them back from achieving a goal they have in any area of their life. (The hypertext link takes you to a transcript of game on finding work/life balance.)
It's not for the fainthearted, and its business cousin the Frameworks for Change Coaching Process is a tool I'm more likely to use in business coaching and facilitation sessions.
Other sessions might include making or exploring collages:
or pipe cleaners (the example here was the antidote to lack of communication in an organisation)
or using nature as a metaphor for our lives (if for example they want to feel more grounded)
or exploring the sayings people are using (such as having their head in the sand)
I said they were unconventional. The hypertext links above take you to blogs providing more detail about how a session using each of these tools might work. There's also more unconventional tools in the post I wrote in December last year (including walking meetings).

(Post script addition: more here from a recent Scottish Institute for Business Leaders (SIBL) meeting when I used 2 of these tools to facilitate change for a small group of SIBL members).

Please don't let the above pictures put you off - as I said in the opening I use them because they're effective. The session using pipe cleaners in a supplier management workshop is a recent example where some truly transformative solutions emerged.

I don't use every tool in every session, and some sessions stick with more traditional tools (from my NLP or business toolkits for example for goal setting or communication planning). Some group's resistance to unconventional tools also steer me in other directions. That is, the aim of achieving the outcome for a session is paramount - with the means of achieving it being adapted to suit the outcome, audience and organisation.

For more detail on what a session might look like for you do get in touch -  +44(0)7770 538159. I look forward to hearing from you.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring Change Inside and Out

This first week of 2017 I'm exploring the topics that make me tick - those topics that inspire my action (including the odd rant), and that are subjects that I share often in the procurement consultancy, speaking and coaching work that I do. They're also subjects that I have expertise in, enjoy, and that also make a difference when applied well.

Posts so far this week have covered:
  • Don't leave your humanity at the door - because I get frustrated when I hear people tell me that we have to leave our authentic selves/humanity at the office door, and instead apply rules that cause other people and the planet great distress. I believe taking our humanity to work with us is what being a B Corp is all about, and is something I'm going to be talking to B Corporations about during the year. 
  • Language - because words have power, and we often unconsciously use words that hinder us achieving our goals.  
  • Soft skills - because if your goals rely on working with other people soft skills are the fastest way to achieving them
  • Use of unconventional tools - as above 
Topics to be covered later in the week include:

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful post, thank you for sharing it. I'd say that sometimes words have a bigger impact than we would ever imagine. That's why it's so important to mind your words and speak wisely.