Mirrors and Windows

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Mirrors and Windows

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We were collaborating in the Moose Herd the other morning about agile coaching stances and when to be prescriptive (consulting or advising stances) and when not to be (coaching, facilitative learning, or  

(I’m referencing the Agile Coaching Growth Wheel here for the stances…)

As I sat and listened to the discussion, I thought of a metaphor for the coach to help when adopting certain stances. I likened it to a mirror and a window.

This is where you simply serve to reflect back to the client you’re coaching. You, add, change, or delete nothing. How could you…you are a mirror.

The mirror reflects; clearly and succinctly. It says nothing. It does nothing. It owns no actions. It simply reveals the system (or the client) to themselves. 

A mirror might show curiosity. In that, it might ask—what do you see? Or do you see this clearly, do I need to adjust the lighting or the angle? But all focused on clarifying the image and nothing more.

This is where you allow your own feelings, thoughts, reactions, triggers, biases, everything as a coach through and share with the client. Think Radical Candor applied here. And, as a coach, this is probably not you adopting a professional coaching stance. Instead, you’re probably more of an advisor, consultant, or mentor.

The window has the courage to “tell it like it is” regardless of the risks. How can it worry about the ramifications of the view, it’s a window?

There are many things that you can mirror (show) and window (share). For example—

  • Blind spots

  • Interpretation

  • Intentions

  • Perceptions

  • Reactions

  • Behaviors

  • Emotions

  • Aftershocks

  • Non-verbal’s

  • Impacts

  • Ripple effects 

That can be useful for your client to know, internalize, and come to grips with.

I really like this metaphor for your agile coaching. During a coaching session, decide whether—

  • you’re going to be a Mirror?

  • Or you’re going to be a Window?

  • Or some combination of the two?

Be intentional in your use of the metaphor and really get into it.

For example, if you decide to be a Mirror, then BE the clearest and reflective mirror you can be. Or, if you decide to be a Window, then BE as transparent, precise, and open as possible almost as if there were no glass at all.

Here’s to seeing things more clearly!

Stay agile my friends,

Bob.

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