A way to help understand others

How many times do we work with clients that may find it hard to understand another person’s perspective on a particular problem or challenge?

Perhaps it could be at work, or it could be in a home situation – whichever, this method helps the client to explore the other person perspective.

You should allow about 60 minutes (if you finish earlier, that is fine – and similarly it would not be a good idea to cut this short)

The session is split into three parts

Part 1: Coachee describing the 3rd Party

Ask the coachee to think carefully about how the 3rd party individual’s behaviour. Help them to do this by asking questions to prompt their thinking.

  • How does this person make decisions?
  • What is happening for this person at the moment?
  • What is essential for this person right now?
  • How do they like to be briefed on a particular problem or challenge (Nb. thinking here about exploring verbal, written, formal, etc.)
  • How supportive does this person need you to be?
  • Is the 3rd party feeling threatened?

Part 2: The 3rd Party

Ask the coachee to now move seats. The seat that they have moved to is a seat that the 3rd party sits. The coachee will have already experienced some of the behaviours demonstrated by this person, and therefore, some may find this hard to do. Focus on helping the coachee to explore some of the positive outcomes that can be achieved by helping them to get to this new understanding.

Now ask the coachee to assume the stance, the body language and the behaviour of the 3rd party.

Ask the coachee (as an actor for the 3rd party) to now explain the issue that is causing the coachee the problem. Help the coachee to explore the emotions and feelings that the 3rd party has by allowing and encouraging them to think and feel like the third party.

When exhausted, invite the coachee to move back to their original seat.

Part 3: The breakthrough

Ask the questions

  • What has changed in your understanding of how you need to tackle this problem?
  • What are you now going to do following this exercise?

Help the coachee to take notes, update their action plan and enjoy the results.