Personal Coaching Techniques by Dean Amory - HTML preview
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What has worked before? Can you try it again?
What does your gut-feeling tell you? What does your
intuition tell you?
Answer within five seconds – what would you do if you
knew how you should behave?
Confronting your fears
What are you most afraid of?
What are you least afraid of?
What is the best thing that can happen if you make a
move, even if you are scared?
What is the worst that can happen?
If you were completely without fear, what would you do?
When others are frightened, what do you tell them?
Has it ever happened that you worried about something,
even after it turned out be alright in the end? Can you
draw any parallels to your current situation?
What do you expect if you do nothing – how will you look
at that decision when you are eighty years old?
If you let your fears control you, does it help?
10 Personal Growth Questions to Ask Yourself
Question # 10: "How am I spending my time?"
We all have 24 hours each day. We cannot manage ‘time’, yet
we can choose how we manage ourselves with the time we
have. Time is your most valuable resource. You only have a
What is your present relationship with time? Does it give
you the satisfaction and fulfillment you seek? Do you feel
there are never enough hours in the day to achieve what you
want? Do you sometimes feel that others are managing your
How you choose to spend your time is how you spend your
The way you spend your time tells you much about your
Do you know what your core values and priorities are?
Have you decided what the top ten things are that you want
to spend your time on this year?
"If you want to make good use of your time, you've got to
know what's most important and then give it all you've got."
Take some time to reflect on the larger areas in your life,
such as your work/career, health, relationships, finances,
personal growth, fun and recreation.
How can you manage yourself more effectively allowing you
to spend more time in those areas that are most important in
your life? What choices will you make? What will you say
'no' to in order to gain more balance and experience more
fulfillment in life?
If you choose to live a more balanced life, you must redefine
your relationship with time, to shift the emphasis from
quantity to quality, from frustration to fulfillment, from lack
to abundance, from pressure to peace.
Managing your time is a choice!
Question #9: What Would I Do If I Knew I Couldn’t Fail?
What if failure was not an option? The fear of failure holds us
back more than anything else in all our pursuits in life. Many
people don’t even set goals because they are often so afraid
of failing that they do not even try.
How many opportunities have you missed in the past
because you lacked the courage to take a chance, to play full
out, all because you were afraid you might fail? How much
more pain and lost opportunities are you willing to endure
by continuing to allow fear and procrastination to rule your
Failure is a concept that only exists in your ego’s mind. If
your ego would have a favorite slogan, it would probably be
“Playing It Safe.” Your ego operates in the emotional comfort
zone of your mind and will do anything in its power to keep
you there. It is that little voice in the back of your head
giving you all the reasons why you shouldn’t do this or try
The only way to create results in your life is by taking action.
Realize that, succeed or fail, you will produce results from
which you will learn.
Don’t be afraid of failure; be afraid of not taking action!
Question #8: Who Am I becoming?
How satisfied are you with the person you are becoming?
What kind of person do you see yourself becoming ? Do you
see someone who is becoming more stressed out or tired
with an unsatisfying job or an unbalanced work/home life,
or do you see someone who is enjoying a happy and fulfilling
lifestyle? How do you feel about your future self?
"If you want to have more and experience more in life, you
have to become more."
What are some of the personal qualities you would like to
further develop this year?
Perhaps you would like to become more skillful or
competent. More honest, sincere, genuine or congruent.
More compassionate, accepting, forgiving or grateful. More
creative or expressive. More courageous. More generous,
loving or happy. More responsible.
No matter how you feel about yourself right now, you can
make a decision to become more of who you really are. The
power to choose lies within your mind and how you think
about yourself. You will become what you think about, most
of the time.
Your thinking process determines how you feel, the choices
you make and the results you create.
If you seek to attract new experiences in your life or you
want to make certain changes, you need to begin the process
in your mind. Focus on continuous personal development;
with books, CD’s, seminars, personal coaching, studying,
listening, practicing, and nourishing your mind.
Become the mental architect of your own personal
Change your mind and change your life!
Question #7: What Am I Tolerating?
What are some of the things you have been putting up with
in your life? What have you been tolerating at work, at home
or in your social environment in the past year? What are the
things you wish would resolve themselves somehow?
Sometimes tolerations show up as minor inconveniences
such as a messy desk, a squeaking door or a friend who
always shows up late for appointments. Other tolerations
are more serious, such as mental or physical abuse or a
controlling or disrespectful boss.
Sometimes it is easier to ignore your 'tolerations' rather
than to take the necessary action to clean them up. Allowing
'tolerations' to hang around in your life will drain your
energy, try your patience and show up under the form of
stress and anxiety. They can chip away at your self-esteem,
confidence and enthusiasm.
Here are a few life coaching tips to help with the process:
Make a list of 10 things that you are putting up with. Ask
yourself what each is costing you in terms of energy,
confidence and enthusiasm?
Resolve to take action. The decision to act on 'tolerations'
is very liberating and will improve the quality of your life.
Set target dates and make time in your schedule to
overcome your 'tolerations'.
Seek the support from friends, family or a personal coach
to keep you focused and stay on track.
Living a life you want not only means choosing the things
you want, but also eliminating the things that are hanging
around in your life that you no longer want.
Now is the perfect time to do some personal housecleaning,
and remove some of the clutter around your house, at work
or in your relationships.
When you resolve to stop putting up, you will find a renewed
sense of freedom and balance in your life.
Question # 6: Where Do I Focus My Attention?
Your life becomes what you focus on. Your thought patterns
create the texture of your everyday life. You are always
focusing on something. The experiences you create in this
very moment, and the next, are based on where your focus
What you see depends on what you look for. What you hear
depends on what you listen for and what you feel depends
on the experiences you seek. Your expectations, based on
what you focus on, blossom into self-fulfilling prophecies.
The results you create are a result of your focus. If you're not
getting the results you are looking for, it is time to re-
examine what you focus on. If you keep focusing on the same
things and keep doing what you’ve always done, sure
enough, you’ll keep getting the same results.
Your mind cannot tell the difference between something you
think about or focus on that you do want, and the stuff you
think about that you don’t want. Your mind is a very
effective goal seeking mechanism and seeks to create
precisely what you focus on. The key is to direct your focus
on the goals and experiences that you do want in your life.
Think of your focus as a sticky boomerang. What you focus
on comes back to you, with more strength that it has
gathered along the way. If you send out anger, fear,
negativity or jealousy, you will invite the same thoughts
What you focus on expands.
Focus on what is going well in your life right now and what
is good for you moving forward. Focus on your innate talents
and capabilities. Focus on what you believe is possible and
you will see opportunities rather than constraints.
Question #5: How Am I Using My Talents?
When you talk with people who have achieved a high level of
success in their lives, you’ll find that they have found ways to
incorporate their passions and talents into their daily
activities. They also experience more fulfillment and balance
because they intentionally played to their talents and
strengths by developing the know-how and experience
through continued focus and practice.
Your talents influence how you think and the way you
respond to the situations in your life. Once you fully
understand and acknowledge your natural abilities, you will
develop a higher self awareness, which will lead to increased
self confidence, a healthier self esteem, more success and
Talents by themselves are not that special, it is what you
decide to do with them that make them special. All too often
we deny our own talents, because to acknowledge them
would mean we have to use them.
Why is it sometimes difficult to identify our own talents?
First, it’s a question we don’t really ask ourselves. Second,
our talents feel so natural to us that we tend to take them for
granted. Third, we live in a culture where we tend to focus
on improving our weaknesses rather than developing our
talents into strengths.
Do you know what your talents are? How do you go about
discovering some of your talents or natural abilities?
Answer the following questions and start to identify some of
the common themes within your answers.
What are some activities or special interests you enjoyed
growing up? What did you enjoy most about those
moments and why?
What are some of the skills or abilities you developed
over the years? What skills were easy for you to learn or
What are some of your favorite activities or projects that
give you the most satisfaction? At home? At work? What
are some activities that whenever you’re doing them,
everything just flows because it just feels right. It comes
natural to you and you tend to lose track of time. What
are some activities that you genuinely look forward to
What would you enjoy doing even when you’re not
getting paid for it?
What do other people regularly ask you to do?
What are some of the qualities that other people think
Once you get a better understanding of your dominant
innate talents and abilities, start looking for ways to
incorporate them into your daily life. None of us have been
dealt the perfect hand, but it is your responsibility and
greatest joy to become the best you can with the cards you
have been dealt.
Question #4: Who Do I spend My Time With?
The people you spend most of your time with have a strong
influence on you. When you are surrounded by negative or
angry people, you will absorb some of their negativity or
When you spend time with people who inspire you, support
you and believe in you, their positive energy will boost your
motivation, self-confidence and inner strength. Do not
underestimate the power of influence of the people you
surround yourself with.
Make a mental note of the people in your personal and
professional life with whom you most often associate and
think of how they are influencing you, both positively and
Perhaps you've heard the story of the little bird. He had his
wing over his eye and he was crying. The owl said to the
bird, "You are crying." "Yes," said the little bird, and he
pulled his wing away from his eye. "Oh, I see," said the owl.
"You're crying because the big bird pecked out your eye."
And the little bird said, "No, I'm not crying because the big
bird pecked out my eye. I'm crying because I let him."
I believe that the quality of your life is greatly influenced by
the quality of your associations and relationships. Be
cautious of the people you allow yourself to associate with in
your personal life and business.
Choose to surround yourself with people who will move you
forward on your journey and let go of the negative
influences that impede your progress.
Question # 3: How Do I Honor My Core Values?
Your core values express the essence of who you are.
Although you may share similar values with others, you have
a unique set of values. Many of the important decisions that
you make, and the actions you take, are based on the values
that you hold. Your values, together with the beliefs that
support them, are an energetic driving force and provide
meaning and direction in your life.
If you commit time and energy to something that violates or
neglects one of your core values, you will most likely feel
resentful and frustrated.
If your values are not respected at your job or in your
relationships, you will feel that something is missing.
While it is enormously helpful to know your core values, it is
not always easy to identify them.
Often these things are so much a part of who you are, that
they become invisible to you.
Take a moment and write down the unique qualities that
What are the qualities that are at the core of who you are?
Create a list for yourself by thinking about the ideas and
questions below. Don’t worry about getting it right and
capturing all of your values. Your list will be a work in
progress. Also, your values don’t have to be a single word;
they could be a string of words or sentences or themes. Find
the words that work best for you.
Think about the following questions:
What is important to you?
What do you really care about?
What do you really want in your life?
When do you feel happiest?
Select a time from your life when you felt particular
fulfilled. There may have been challenges,but you were
still on a roll. It may have been a few minutes, or hours or
days. What was important about that experience? What
values were you honoring?
What do you react negatively to? What makes you angry
What value is being violated? What kinds of situations
cause you to feel incongruent? When are you not being
true to yourself?
For each of us, there are usually values that are so much a
part of us that we don’t even think to put them on a list.
These are often our most dearly held values. A teacher
might fail to include learning; an artist might forget to
write down creativity, a business owner might overlook
Question # 2: What Do I want?
The quality of your life's experiences amounts to the sum of
all the decisions you have ever made.
The power to make decisions is what gives you freedom. The
more freedom you have, the more options you can entertain.
The more options you have available, the more
opportunities you can create for yourself and others.
Have you ever been told what to believe? Have you ever had
someone tell you what you should do, how you should feel or
behave? Why would you have someone else decide for you in
your life? What is the cost of living that way? Life is short,
and time is your most valuable resource. Letting anyone else
decide for you is a waste of time! No one else knows you as
well as you do. You are the expert of your own life.
Think of yourself as the majority shareholder in your life.
What are some of the strategic decisions that will help you
grow and flourish in the New Year? What will you vote "yes"
for in your life? What will you vote "no" for? Recognizing
that you have a choice does not mean that there will never
be any uncomfortable consequences. But not making a
decision is also a decision which could have consequences
that are just as negative.
Peter Drucker once said that whenever you see a successful
business, someone once made a courageous decision! In
what department of your life's organization - relationships,
money, health, fun, recreation, personal growth - do you
currently experience the most challenge? Where do you feel
Whatever you believe is missing, it is yours, waiting to be
claimed. The first step is to make a conscious decision about
the things you would like to have more of and the things you
will need to let go off.
Some people get trapped in inaction. They have a hard time
saying yes, because that would mean that they have to close
off other possibilities. In economics, this is referred to as the
'opportunity cost'. The same principle is true in life. Saying
yes to one thing often means saying no to many other
Don't just dwell in possibility. Dwell in reality! Choose,
decide and take action.
Question #1: How Am I Committed?
Why is it that we tell ourselves we want certain things but
we don’t take action? We might have the best of intentions to
make certain changes in our lives, yet we do not follow
through on our resolutions?
Does that mean we are lazy or undisciplined?
Are we afraid of failure? Are we holding on to limiting beliefs
We get frustrated when we think and say we are committed
to wanting something for ourselves, but no action follows
that voice of commitment.
When you fully commit to something, action always follows
thought. There is no question, no debate, no doubt or
struggle. You don’t wonder whether or not you will take
action or not. Commitment goes beyond making a choice. I
have never met a mother who had to think about and decide
whether or not to feed her baby. People gain a mysterious
strength and resolve when they make a commitment.
Commitment is a unique personal experience. As a personal
coach I can offer you many possible commitment strategies,
yet the best personal style of commitment comes from a
deep emotional awareness within yourself. Often our
commitments are invisible to us and we don’t think about
them as commitments, it is what we do naturally. And that’s
the whole point.
Recall a time in your life when you were committed to
something. You were so deeply committed that there was no
doubt in your mind, and taking action was almost automatic
and effortless. Take some time to answer the following
questions to discover the underlying structure of your own
personal commitment strategy.
When and where were you committed? Was it a
commitment you made to yourself or others? Were there
any external influences?
What were some of the actions you took?
How did you go about taking action? What was your
strategy for taking action? Did you write down your goal
or commitment? Did you visualize your achievements? Did
you call a friend or work with a personal life coach? What
skills or capabilities did you use?
What were some of the emotional reasons why you were
committed? Reflect on the values and beliefs that
motivated you to take action and follow through on your
How did you benefit from taking action? What was the
cost of not taking action at all?
How did you think and feel about yourself as a person?
Maybe you felt like a successful individual or a
How did your commitment impact others?
Understanding and modeling your personal commitment
strategy will help you create resolve to follow through and
achieve your goals.
3.3 HERON’S CATEGORIES OF
John Heron (1986) defines six major styles of intervention
that we can use to increase the effectiveness of our
communication skills in coaching relationships.
In the list below, the interventions are described according
to their intention rather than content. Pay attention to
which of these styles of intervention you use most and least
in your own communication. Notice whether you use some
more than others.
1 Prescriptive: A prescriptive intervention seeks to direct
the behaviour of the patient/colleague, usually behaviour
that is outside of the coach / coachee relationship.
For example – ”I would like you to discuss this issue with
your senior colleagues”
2 Informative: An informative intervention seeks to
impart knowledge, information and meaning to the other
For example – “Grants are often made available
for this type of work”
3 Confronting: A confronting intervention seeks to raise
the awareness of the coachee about some limiting
attitude or behaviour of which he/she is relatively
For example – “I notice this is the third time we have
talked about this – and you have still not been able to act
– I wonder what is going on?”
4 Cathartic: A cathartic intervention seeks to enable the
other person to discharge and express painful emotion,
usually grief, anger or fear (Heron believed that
unexpressed emotion could block development and
For example – “I notice that whenever you speak about
your research you look rather anxious”.
5 Catalytic: A catalytic intervention seeks to elicit self
discovery, self directed learning, and problem solving
For example – “Tell me about a previous time when you
had to work with a colleague who you found particularly
challenging … How did you deal with that?”
6 Supportive: A supportive intervention seeks to affirm
the worth and value of the other person, and their
qualities, attitudes and actions
For example – “It sounds like you handled that in a very
mature and confident way”.
In developing effective coaching relationships, it is usual for
the coach to rely more on facilitative interventions rather
than on authoritative ones – to enable the coachee to
develop their own solutions and autonomy.
(Developed from John Heron ‘Helping the Coachee’ (1990) London
Responsiveness is defined as: “Readily reacting to
suggestions, influences, appeals, or efforts”
Being responsive means acting quickly, reacting to requests,
suggestions, influences, appeals, or efforts. It means being
able to adjust quickly to a change in situation, environment,
or direction. Though not a perfect antonym, I would say that
the antithesis of responsiveness is procrastination, which is
the downfall of many businesses, careers, and lives. (Jeff
Responsive life coaches will gradually develop an approach
and an orientation that is most relevant and useful to both
them and their coachees. (www.associationforcoaching.com)
Responsive questions enable the coach to gather more
information and to help the coachee discover their gifts and
talents - and finds ways to bring those out. A life coach
needs to be intuitive and responsive when guiding a coachee
to see the value in their own unique gifts. (Patti Stafford)
Some examples of responsive questions are:
1. If it were possible to satisfy and alleviate your specific
concerns, would you be interested in discussing this in
2. (I can certainly appreciate how you feel.) May I ask why
you feel that way?
3. What are the top three benefits you would want to
realize if you were to …?
4. What do you need to see in order to feel confident that
you've made the best decision?
5. Is it possible that there is another approach/solution
6. What else do you think may be possible?
7. I'm not sure what you mean by that. Can you say more?
8. That's interesting. Will you share with me why you see it
9. What solution would motivate you enough to explore in
which way you should work to realize it?
10. If a coachee says, "I’m not ready for this now. “ respond
with: "May I ask, what might be changing in the near
furture that would then make it a better time to try this
solution?" This question enables you to smoke out the
real objection, just in case "we're not ready now" is not it.
Moreover, you may uncover some additional information
you can use that will allow you to adjust your approach.
From The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cold Calling
© 2004 Keith Rosen - CPW-014-009062
Visit Keith Rosen's Website: http://www.profitbuilders.com
Feedback is the term used for giving people information
about their performance.
Sometimes as a coach you have information or a suggested
course of action that you believe can help the coachee—you
have a suggestion or an opinion. The motivation of
suggestion and feedback is to reinforce or change a pattern
of behavior, to assist the coachee in solving a problem, or to
support a coachee’s development.
We often offer our suggestions and feedback early in the
conversation, before we have fully explored a situation with
a coachee. The guidelines that follow assume that you have
been in enough questioning to significantly understand the
situation being presented to you.
Advocacy or suggestion is used only after sufficient
● To truly achieve peak performance, people must see the
relationship between their behaviors, thoughts, feelings,
underlying beliefs, and the result of ALL of these (intended
or unintended) in their lives.
● The spirit of coaching is to offer and let go.
● For optimal success, the coach maintains an open and
curious state about the coachee’s situation. If for some
reason, this is not possible (ex: coach is highly invested in
one alternative or action), another coach may be helpful.
● Coaching assumes that each of us knows our own needs,
situation, and goals best.
Issues with Feedback
Although supervisors may know about feedback, they do not
always have skills to give effective feedback. It takes
practice as well as knowledge. Staff and volunteers often are
not receptive when feedback is offered. They may get
defensive, trying to justify what they did rather than
listening and considering the help they are receiving. Both
supervisors and their staff or volunteers should prepare for
feedback sessions, and know some ground rules. Feedback
should be a regular occurrence, a part of the overall strategy
to improve performance. As opportunities arise for the
supervisor to observe, read, or discuss work, positive and
corrective feedback should be a part of the interaction.
Guidelines for Giving Feedback
Giving feedback is a delicate communication, because there
is always the risk of people interpreting feedback as a
personal critic directed against whom and how they are,
instead of taking it as useful information on something they
The best way to give feedback is to avoid “you-statements”
and use “I-statements” instead:
1. Give a specific description of the concrete behavior
2. Tell how it made you feel
3. Explain why (because…)
4. Describe the desired consequence
1. Be specific and support general statements with
The receiver of feedback for both positive and negative
behavior will be better able to act on statements that are
precise and concise. Example: “During this month you have
improved a lot.” This may be satisfying for both parties but
it’s not as effective as saying, “Your reports were on time and
2. Describe the facts and do not judge.
Describing the facts helps the receiver to understand the
meaning and the importance of the feedback. It tends to
focus the discussion on behavior and not on personal
characteristics. Example: “Did you prepare for your meeting
with the grantee? For me it looked like you did not. It was
not organized.” This type of statement can bring anger,
return accusations, or passive–aggressive behavior in the
listener. A better sequence of statements would be: “I got
confused in your presentation to the grantee. I was not clear
what the presentation was meant to accomplish. A
statement about that at the beginning would have helped us
all focus on the information you presented.”
3. Be direct, clear, and to the point.
In many cultures, it is considered more polite and educated
to not be direct. But in the case of feedback, since the
objective is to communicate clearly and specifically, and not
leave someone guessing, we encourage people to be direct
but in polite way.
4. Direct feedback toward controllable behavior.
Inquire before critiquing. If an employee is continually late
to work, perhaps s/he has a childcare situation that causes
this. Discussing the cause and the alternatives to meet
everyone’s expectations and needs would be a more
constructive approach than simply criticizing the employee’s
behavior. Avoid criticizing a participant’s physical
characteristics. To say, “You are too short to be seen in the
back of the room,” without giving or exploring with him/her
some suggestions (about room arrangement, for example), is
not very helpful.
5. Feedback should be solicited, rather than imposed.
If a collaborative work environment is present with
employees or volunteers, feedback should be expected and
welcomed. It should include positive feedback on good
performance to reinforce what is being done correctly or
better. Feedback that helps improve performance is critical
to the learning environment and be desired by employees
6. Consider the timing of feedback.
Do not wait too long to discuss observations with staff or
volunteers. Given in useable amounts and in a timely
manner, it is much more effective than allowing things to
build up. A person may even feel you that you were holding
things over him/her, if you withhold information about
behavior that you feel needs to be changed.
7. Make sure feedback takes into account the needs of
both the receiver and the giver.
Feedback can be destructive when it serves only one’s own
needs and fails to consider the needs of the person on the
receiving end. If an employee or volunteer is struggling, and
there are many points that could be discussed, select some
positive points and one or two behaviors to work on first.
Then, as performance improves, give feedback on other
areas to improve.
8. Plan your feedback.
Plan what to say, and in what order. Think before you
talk. As you give feedback on a regular basis it will become
easier to balance your comments, and provide feedback that
can be acted upon.
9. Own your feedback.
Use “I” statements, so that the receiver understands that it is
your opinion. Example: “Your posture of standing with your
hands on your hips was very authoritarian as you talked
with the group” is different than saying, “I found your hands
on your hips distracting. That posture is sometimes seen as
aggressive and authoritarian. Were you aware you were
standing like that? What were you thinking as you stood
Guidelines for Receiving Feedback
1. Solicit feedback in clear and specific areas.
It’s always easier to give feedback if one is asked. It’s even
easier when a specific question is asked. Example: “I often
find it difficult to conclude a presentation. Will you pay
particular attention to the conclusion today?”
2. Ask for clarification and make a point to understand
Listen carefully and ask for clarification, if the feedback is
not clear. Example: “Are you saying that if I had given an
introduction stating what I was going to talk about, that the
rest of the presentation was clear?”
3. Help the giver use the criteria for giving useful
Example: If the feedback is too general, ask: “Could you give
me specific examples of what you mean?”
4. Avoid making it more difficult for the giver of the
feedback than it already is.
Strive to avoid being defensive, angry or argumentative.
5. Don’t ask for explanations.
Clarification and examples are different than asking why
someone did not like something. Requesting explanations
beyond the facts can seem defensive and often end up in an
argument. As a result the giver backs off and is discouraged
from giving feedback in the future. However, the giver is not
discouraged from seeing negative behavior or assessing your
performance; the person simply becomes unwilling to
provide the feedback. Focus on understanding the behavior
and its impact.
6. Assume the sender wants to help.
Related to the point above, assume that the person giving the
feedback is helping you improve. It should not be seen as a
way to be more powerful than you or to make you feel bad.
Everyone can improve; it is a benefit to have someone reflect
how your behavior appears to him/her.
7. Be appreciative and thank the observer.
Express your gratitude in a sincere way, such as “Thanks. I
am sure I will be clearer if I pay attention to your points.”
8. Share your improvement plan.
Tell the giver what you intend to do in the future. Example:
“I think I will try your idea of putting talking points on the
flip chart in pencil. That should help me get rid of the notes
that are distracting to me.”
Remember that feedback is based on one person’s
perception of another person’s behavior, not universal
truth. You are receiving one person’s perceptions. Having
this in mind should make you less defensive. If you do not
agree with the feedback, you might check out the
perceptions with others. For example, you might ask
someone else to watch you for the specific behaviors you
received feedback on.
Everyone sees things differently — knowledge often lies in
the eye of the beholder. To reframe means to change the
conceptual and/or emotional setting or viewpoint in relation
to which a situation is experienced and to place it in another
frame which fits the ”facts” of the same concrete situation
equally well or even better, and thereby changes its entire
meaning. (Watzlawick et al.)
The reframing matrix enables different perspectives to be
generated and used in coaching and management processes.
It expands the number of options for solving a problem.
“Wise people,” wrote M. Scott Peck, “learn not to dread but
actually to welcome problems.” You know why that’s wise?
Because you’re going to get problems. If you welcome them
and embrace the challenge, you will be better at solving
them. And you will be less upset or depressed by problems
when they come along (which they will).
We can learn to welcome problems by getting in the habit of
framing problems as "opportunities in disguise." We can
learn to welcome problems by deliberately trying to see
what’s good about the problem — by deciding right up front,
“This is good,” and then working to make it so.
Perspective is a mental view, an ingrained way of perceiving
the world. Different people have different experiences and
see in different ways: understanding how they do expands
the range of solutions that one might devise to address a
question or problem.
The reframing matrix is a simple technique that helps
examine problems from distinct viewpoints. In other words,
individuals or groups place themselves in the mindsets of
different people and imagine what solutions the latter might
come up with. The reframing matrix was devised by Michael
EXAMPLES OF REFRAMING
Every tunnel has an
I am in a tunnel and I
entrance and exit.
can’t see a way out.
You need to be anxious
I am too anxious to
enough to concentrate.
Being confident starts
I know I will never be
with having insights
about our limits.
People cover up their
When he/she looks at
hurt by putting a scowl
me like that he/she
on their faces.
No one deliberately
Beggars are criminals
wants to fall on hard
and might kill me.
He/she is out at night
Private time away can
and that means that
help you to appreciate
he/she does not love
each other much more.
me any more.
Thoughtful people put
He/she is so boring,
others first and are a
stays in all the time and
great port in a storm —
does not have a mind of
a great source of
The reframing matrix lays a question (or problem) in the middle of a
four-box grid. It is then examined from four typical business
• Program Perspective: Are there issues with the program (or product
or service) we are delivering?
• Planning Perspective: Is the business (or communications plan)
• Potential Perspective: Is the program replicable? Can it be scaled up?
• People Perspective: What do the people involved think?
The figure below offers one example of the so-called Four Ps Approach,
with illustrative questions aimed at a new program that is not raising
Then again, the four-box grid can be used to consider a question (or
problem) from the perspectives of different groups of stakeholders, e.g.,
staff, coachees, suppliers, and partners, or specialists, e.g., engineers,
lawyers, economists, or information technology specialists. The table
below shows how one might figure out the potential perspectives of
internal and external stakeholders in the context of a development
Even so, the problématique of independent evaluation is still more
complex.2 At the request of shareholders tasked with reporting to
political leadership, taxpayers, and citizens, feedback from evaluation
studies has often tended to support accountability (and hence provide
for control), not serve as an important foundation block of a learning
organization. Some now argue for a reinterpretation of the notion of
accountability. Others cite lack of utility; the perverse, unintended
consequences of evaluation for accountability, such as diversion of
resources; emphasis on justification rather than improvement;
distortion of program activities; incentive to lie, cheat, and distort; and
misplaced accent on control.3 Table 3 suggests that the two basic
objectives of evaluations—accountability and learning—are generally
This is not to say that evaluation units face an either-or situation. Both
accountability and learning are important goals for evaluation
feedback. One challenge is to make accountability accountable. In
essence, evaluation units are placing increased emphasis on results
orientation while maintaining traditional checks on use of inputs and
compliance with procedures. Lack of clarity on why evaluations for
accountability are carried out, and what purpose they are expected to
serve, contributes to their frequent lack of utility.
Moreover, if evaluations for accountability add only limited value,
resources devoted to documenting accountability can have a negative
effect, perversely enough. However, evaluation for learning is the area
where observers find the greatest need today and tomorrow, and
evaluation units should be retooled to meet it. Table 5 suggests how
work programs for evaluation might be reinterpreted to emphasize
Evaluation capacity development promises much to the learning
organization, and should be an activity in which centralized evaluation
units have a comparative advantage. Capacity is the ability of people,
organizations, and society as a whole to manage their affairs
successfully; and capacity to undertake effective monitoring and
evaluation is a determining factor of aid effectiveness. Evaluation
capacity development is the process of reinforcing or establishing the
skills, resources, structures, and commitment to conduct and use
monitoring and evaluation over time. Many key decisions must be made
when starting to develop evaluation capacity internally in a strategic
way.4 Among the most important are:
Architecture. Locating and structuring evaluation functions and
Strengthening evaluation demand. Ensuring that there is an
effective and well-managed demand for evaluations.
Strengthening evaluation supply. Making certain that the skills and
competencies are in place with appropriate organizational support.
Institutionalizing evaluations. Building evaluation into policy-
Why development agencies should want to develop in-house, self-
evaluation capacity is patently clear.
Stronger evaluation capacity will help them