Coaching Letter #68

Hello, I hope this finds you well.  I have had the privilege of having some very challenging conversations recently, employing the adjective “challenging” in several ways.  Some have been cognitively challenging, some emotionally taxing, and some have involved difficult topics.  Here I just want to register that we (at the Center) have lots of experience that suggests that people avoid these conversations (we even wrote an article about it), so I am always impressed and heartened when someone is willing to engage in a deep and difficult topic. Thank you.

Following on from my last CL about decision-making, I have been thinking a lot about that topic lately.  And then earlier today I had a conversation with a new coaching client; I was explaining to him that the way I see coaching, there are two meta-ideas: self-regulation and types of feedback.  Then I heard myself continue to talk about our decision-making, and how we are not the systematic thinkers that we believe ourselves to be, and how useful it is that the work on this subject is so well known now that I don’t risk insulting people by pointing out that they are not perfectly rational.  And this applies not only to leaders, but especially to leaders.

So now I want to amend my previous thinking that there are two big ideas in the way I think about coaching.  Now I think there are three: self-regulation, types of feedback, and cognitive bias.  Wow: that was a full day’s work right there.  And a great illustration that sometimes you don’t know what you think until you hear yourself say it.

The gold standard blog post on cognitive bias is the Cognitive Bias Cheat Sheet by Buster Benson.  This bears careful study, and I also recommend saving the Cognitive Bias Codex at the end of the post as a separate file and printing it on good quality paper–you’ll have to scale it to fit.  It’s really a thing of beauty, and it’s in the public domain, so I’m going to be using it more often.

If you want more suggestions for what to read on cognitive bias, see Coaching Letter #19.  And my all-time favorite remains the Dunning-Kruger Effect, see Coaching Letter #12.

Obviously, I’m very excited by these ideas, so I am looking forward to further conversation…

Enjoy the rest of your week, stay warm, and let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.  Yours, Isobel

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