Lessons from beta-testing

Jul 10, 2020

As a trained coach you can simply follow the 5 steps described on this site and get going. However, there are things to be aware of. Here are useful wisdoms and observations shared by experienced coaches beta-testing Neil’s Wheel.

‘You can use this wheel in so many ways. The less structured the better on one level with experienced coaches.’

‘It is very open, so needs experienced coaches who can cope with a ‘big picture’ agenda.’

‘Neil’s Wheel gives rise to reflection but may not necessarily raise any issues that require ‘work’. Hence there may not be any ‘coaching’ required beyond the holding of the space. This may be tricky to estimate and perhaps tricky even to be comfortable with.’

‘My own comfort with jumping in was perhaps a little tempered by a slight worry that there was a ‘way of doing this’ – once this had been quelled, it felt like a very easy framework to use.’

‘Good stuff happens in a calm oasis’

‘Think it is a tremendous tool – opens up so many conversations the danger is it can lead to overwhelm in these times and so less is more depending on what is going on in their lives and where they are in Maslow’s hierarchy’

You, the coach and thought partner, are a vital factor in the conversation that emerges. You are a unique component. And whilst it’s quick to start, you can go on a huge learning and development journey with it.

Good contracting is vital. Do not skimp in this area.

Just to repeat: this tool will reveal your map of the world; your values, priorities, preferences, biases, prejudices. And that can turn up in the conversations with clients (not always in helpful ways). There is a desire amongst some coaches to widen the conversation with clients, and to take responsibility for something more than ‘the client’s agenda’. In using this you will find out a lot about who you are as a coach.

Don’t constrain or direct the conversation – clients get more from the tool when the exercise allows them to understand their own relationship with the segments, and the parts of their psyche, and the interrelationship between the segments. As the ICF statement says: let the client be the guide.

It’s a small possibility, but…It has the potential lead to overwhelm/an existential crisis if someone recognises that what they have been doing and what they now recognise is important to them have been at odds. Have a professional response/support method ready if the client has a profound, unsettling realisation. Be aware of potential safety issues. Don’t overplay safety concerns. They are rare/more in potential than practice. Know how access other professional support that may be wanted.

In preparing for a session, know that the tool can be shared with clients in advance – or kept to be immediate and emergent in the session (recognising connections and insights are likely to continue after the session).

It is important that you create safe spaces and manage boundaries.

There is an initial desire for guiding questions. These have been provided. With just a little experience this is replaced by the recognition of letting the conversation and awareness emerge, with the client as guide.

Keep ‘beginner’s mind’ whilst drawing upon all your experience.

Coaches who are sceptical of tools have found this very useful.

Encourage creativity and getting beyond ‘the normal script’ a client may have, exploring the things they don’t yet know about.

Always work with informed consent.

You will be surprised how much you learn each time you work with this with a client.

Listen and pay attention to detail (eg in one session, the observation that they used a pencil rather than a pen to mark their wheel itself led to huge insight)

The tool seems to help coaches develop an ability to let go of ‘being expert’ and release the deeper power of ‘dancing with the client’. “Working with this tool, I’m now more aware of my coaching presence and style, and self-check for more organic exploration rather than structure.”

What can help you as a coach

  • Ease of familiarity with self- reflection.
  • Supervision-type conversations.
  • Being able to be ‘clean’ (eg Clean Language).
  • Working on your own ‘vertical’ development – coaches in ‘Expert’ and ‘Achiever’ frames will see this tool differently from one coming from a more systemic perspective.
  • Keep learning – join the community, use the resources.

The beta-testers gained a great deal of personal and professional insight and development through the co-coaching and community calls involved in the beta-testing. We replicate this as a learning experience for you in our introductory experience.


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