The power of 3 is used in all sorts of ways in our daily lives. The Rule of Three states that ideas or stories presented in threes are more memorable to the listener. Emergency phone numbers often have 3 digits and when creating stories, we are advised to think in terms of ‘beginning, middle and end’. As I have reflected on 15 years of executive coaching experience in a wide range of client organisations, 3 practice principles and 3 focus areas have emerged.
3 Practice Principles
- Be still within – this is about being calm and focused to the degree that for this client interaction, I am prepared to be here and be nowhere else.
- Meet the client where they are – sometimes coaching is set up on the basis of a line manager view or a HR recommendation. While the information that comes from those channels can be very useful, for powerful coaching work to happen, it is key that I tune in to the client’s story and context and meet them where they are at.
- Ask questions that provoke fresh thinking and learning – in coaching work that goes well, a common feature is the client reframing how they see their context. Asking good questions and focused listening can enable the client to make this shift in outlook. Then new things become possible.
3 Focus Areas
- Awareness – base camp for coaching work is enabling clients to develop their level of self-awareness. As we become more aware and conscious, we become better able to make conscious choices re change.
- Connection – a key part of coaching work is discovering or re-discovering the resources that the client already has. Sometimes clients have overlooked or forgotten a resource that could be readily applied to addressing a current goal or challenge.
- Performance – if the two areas above have been worked on successfully, the client will be feeling more aware and more resourceful. Then it becomes possible to come up with practical ways of improving performance.
When I reflect on coaching work that has gone well, the Power of 3 as set out above has been in play in terms of Practice Principles and Focus Areas. Likewise when I work with client leaders and managers who are improving their delegation skills and growing their capability levels in their teams, some version of these Power of 3 factors has been in play.