Shawn Lee, Manager at a FinTech Scale Up and alum of Manageable, and Nikita Sharma, a research analyst at a learning and development organisation, share their perspectives on being coach and coachee partners through their Manageable Experience.
I am part of a FinTech Scale Up taking care of strategic client onboarding from our New York office. I had a really positive experience with Manageable. The ideas and techniques that we were introduced to are really useful. And I enjoyed the process of not only going through the experience, but also having time between the different sessions, so you can put what you've learned into practice and in fact evaluate what works for you and what doesn't.
One of my main take-aways is that as soon as you put people in the position where you're listening to them more, and not just guiding their thoughts, you get so much more from them. The coachee challenge was really a standout feature for me and I valued the fact that the person I was matched to was from outside my own network. You feel free to really try different approaches and techniques, and don't need to overthink anything. lt's like when you are a developer and you are allowed to try things out in a separate environment.
They call it a sandbox. That's how I felt. There's no downside. lt's a safe space.
I had three sessions in total with my coachee and I would do more in case it would be beneficial to them so that I can get more practice. lt broadens your mind to also hear about challenges that are outside your immediate work context. In fact, I think two sessions are the bare minimum; the first one helps you to get into a comfort zone and the second one allows you to really throw yourself in. I would also be up for coaching more than one coachee.
It's all about developing a muscle memory and making coaching your second nature or instinct. The one thing you need for this is practice. Whenever you want to truly learn something, it's all about how many times you can repeat it.
When I think about how I am currently working with my team, the biggest learning was trying not to direct people as much and rather let them guide the conversation. When I have my one-on-one sessions, I let them share how they think they need to go about things and not just give them answers. lt was really one of the most difficult things, not to give my answers and just trying to listen to people.
In my head I am reminding myself all the time: "Don't, don't, don't say what you need to say, just let them get there and keep asking questions." As a result, our conversations are more open and honest.
l'm a research analyst at a learning and development organisation.
My experience with Manageable's coaching programme was inspiring and useful in many ways. lt allowed me to reflect on a personal challenge with the guidance of a Manageable Coach in a way that was different from anything l've experienced before. Having someone who embodied the essence of coaching and guided my thinking rather than directed it helped me pinpoint solutions to my challenge and work on developing solutions myself. So instead of having someone tell me what to do, I was encouraged to reflect and find solutions that work for me. That being said, if I felt stuck at any moment, Shawn asked me helpful questions that reoriented my thinking.
I also enjoyed that this was a learning experience for both of us in different ways. lt's really a two-way street because while I was being guided on how to deal with a personal challenge, Shawn was exploring his coaching style. Being paired with someone from a different sector was beneficial and gave me a safe space to really open up about my personal challenge.
We also set aside enough time between our three sessions to allow us both to mull over what was said, and come back with a fresh perspective which I found really important. Having multiple sessions also meant that we were able to take some time to become comfortable with each other and I am confident that we were a great match. Our first session was really getting to know each other, our backgrounds, and focusing on how we can make this a learning experience for us both. l think we succeeded and it has become clear that having three sessions, and perhaps even more is very useful. Hearing about Shawn's experience, and how he navigated personal challenges helped me realize the importance of having a coach who is able to guide me.
Shawn offered practical and thought-provoking questions which I have been able to apply day-to-day at work.
This experience has truly helped me take greater ownership of my own challenges, and has allowed me to develop a positive approach to solving issues.
Shawn helped me tremendously in shifting my focus on things that I previously did not think of by asking questions and being curious about what I feel, what I think. The way I approach issues and problem-solving is very different from the beginning of our sessions and I am confident that this experience will continue to translate into my career development. At a time when you are faced with many opportunities, but also challenges, Manageable's coaching experience has helped me learn about myself, and opened me up to new ways of navigating this defining period of my life.