As more and more people use the Wheel globally, and provide their feedback, we are deepening our learning about what leads to a great experience with Neil’s Wheel. And what doesn’t. So for all you coaches, here is a gift gained from professional colleagues’ feedback so far – 4 Mantra’s to guide you as you work with the Wheel:
- “There’s no ‘One Way’ “ : Offer the gift of the 5 Freedoms to your client. Remember that a session doesn’t have to include all the segments. And (with clear contracting of course) be open to bringing and integrating your own style and practices, and invite the client to fully access theirs – perhaps you like somatic techniques? Or coaching in nature? Or…
- “Let the Wheel do the work” : The nature of the Wheel, together with the 5 Freedoms, allows the client many ways to engage, express and explore. Practice and play with doing “No more, and no less, than is necessary” (as my Tai Chi instructor names it). Many coaches report this is a lot less than they expect, and they find that in trying to help their client they can actually get in the way. If you’re not silent for significant parts of the conversation you’re probably doing too much.
- “Coach the Person” (The Wheel is the catalyst for the conversation) : This is just like the coaching adage ‘Coach the person, not the problem’. It can be easy to think that you have to guide the client around the Wheel. And it can be easy to get involved with the content. The feedback is that the best sessions come from the coach focussing very much on the client; their words, expressions, metaphors, body language, patterns, beliefs, strengths and the like. And letting go of direction and content (even if it matters a lot to you), instead simply letting the Wheel be the catalyst for further discovery, connection and conversation.
- “Recognise and own your own stuff” : In working with the Wheel, the client conversation can bring up strong thoughts, beliefs and experiences for yourself. For example, we hear of coaches recognising internal struggles when the client is not talking about things the coach feels they ought to be talking about, or where the client sees things very differently. The advice is to be very self-aware of what thoughts and feelings are coming up for you, potentially moment by moment, and have your own professional way of dealing with them. In the moment, this may be about learning to let go, or maintaining curiosity, or naming what’s happening for you, or really embedding in self a belief about the value of diversity of thought and perspective. After the conversation this could be about reflective practices, peer conversations and supervision. We’ve had many conversations about this. The bottom line is that if you think you don’t have an agenda, look deeper. There’s one or several. We certainly all have values. And they will show up. Awareness enables responsiveness.