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Coaching your way through Christmas

News 06th December 2023

From managing heated family discussions to dealing with overcooked turkeys, this holiday season we are putting a different spin on dealing with these common conundrums, by taking classic ‘coaching’ phrases and applying them to festive situations… 

When festive dinner table chat goes off piste...

Picture the scene…
You are sitting at the festive lunch table and your cousin Paul says: “I think that what we need is one time zone for all of Europe.”

You think…
That is absolutely ridiculous, he has lost the plot.

But your coaching response is…
“That’s an interesting perspective. Can you tell me more?”

When there are too many chefs...

Picture the scene…
You walk into the kitchen where your sister is having a heated debate with your dad about whether roast potatoes should be done at 185 or 200.

Your coaching response is…
“I can see you are both entrenched in your opinions. Dad, perhaps you could try De Bono’s yellow thinking hat and explore some way’s Sara’s suggestion could have benefit?”.

The overdone turkey...

Picture the scene…
You are sitting over an obviously very overcooked turkey.

Your coaching response is…
“Given the obvious delta between your goal and the reality, what opportunities do you see for an alternative way forward next time?”

The unwanted gift...

Picture the scene…
Auntie Mabel is upset that little Samuel threw across the room the Fairisle jumper she had knitted for him.

Your coaching response is…
“What assumptions did you make about Samuel’s needs and motivations?  How might you explore what’s in it for him next time?”

When you fail to read the instructions...

Picture the scene…
It’s Christmas Eve and Mum has been building a new tricycle for several hours. Finally finished she notices a piece left over.

You think…
I told you to read the instructions.

Your coaching response is…
“What single action would be most useful for you right now?”

Being more organised...

Picture the scene…
Yet again your partner has left all the seasonal jobs to the last minute and is now panicking.

You want to say…
“If you planned a bit better this wouldn’t keep happening.”

Your coaching response is…
“What are the three most important ingredients for a brilliant Christmas? What support do you need so you can ensure those bits happen?”

Managing expectations...

Picture the scene…
Your children have expectations of ‘Elf on the Shelf’ antics that are outside the bounds of your creative skill, mental capacity and time available.

Your coaching response is…
“Given your previous observations of the Elf’s behaviours, what reasonable assumptions can you make about his next steps?”

When you are left out in the cold...

Picture the scene…
Your car is stuck in the snow and your friend insists on just accelerating harder, resulting in the car getting even more stuck.

Your coaching response is…
“What beliefs might be underpinning your actions?”

Organising charades (but failing)...

Picture the scene…
Your daughter is trying to arrange a game of charades but most of the family are starting to have drink-fuelled naps in front of the TV.

You want to say…
“Give up on the idea darling – it’s clearly the wrong time.”

Your coaching response is…
“Let’s look at the reality of what’s happening. What do you see and hear and how might it affect your desired outcome?”

To drink or not to drink...

Picture the scene…
One of your guests (who has to work the next day) is trying to decide whether to (a) drive home now whilst sober, (b) have some drinks & get a taxi home or (c) stay overnight in your guest room.

Your coaching response is…
They consider each option with a future focus and draw on their previous learning, by asking: “From your experience, what might be the likely outcomes of each approach?”