The 7 Coaching Conversations

15th January 2019

Coaching can be a lonely old business. You’re spending your time thinking about others, their issues and how to be with them in a way that is both supportive and challenging. In a typical coaching session, you’re attending to and holding a lot of material in your head both your own thoughts and perceptions and your clients. At times, I don’t know about you, but I feel a bit like a circus performer – in that there’s quite a few plates to keep spinning!

Coaching supervision, I believe, isn’t a ‘nice to have’ it’s a ‘gotta have.’ Supervision is not only an essential aspect of our self-care it’s an ethical and professional requirement if you’re a coach. At different stages of your development and depending on the client’s material, coaching supervision is;

  • Some space and time to consider what more can be done ‘in service of your client’
  • A place for you to get some support and much needed encouragement if there’s aspects of the work that you’re finding tricky
  • Be an opportunity to get some fresh ideas or insight, supporting your personal and professional development as a coach.

When I’m supervising coaches, the ‘7 conversations’ framework is a brilliant lens for reflection on the range of conversations that make up the coaching dialogue;

  1. The coach’s reflection before dialogue (their preparatory thinking before the coaching conversation)
  2. The client’s reflection, preparatory thinking before the dialogue
  3. The coach’s internal, unspoken reflections during the dialogue
  4. The spoken dialogue
  5. The client’s internal, unspoken reflections during the dialogue
  6. The coach’s reflections after the conversation
  7. The client’s reflections after the dialogue

Most coach development focuses on the spoken dialogue, but our brilliance as coaches is also determined by what happens in each of the other six conversations. Building your competence in each of the conversations is essential in mastering your role as a coach.

Using the 7 conversations to deepen your own practice as a coach

It’s easy to see that the idea of the 7 conversations is a great way of expanding the reflection that you do on your coaching practice;

  • It provides you a great structure around which to base your own reflection, and would be a great way of preparing for your supervision sessions
  • Regular reflection around each of the 7 conversations will help you in developing your ‘inner supervisor’
  • When you’re experiencing challenges within the coaching relationships, the 7 conversations might help you explore what is going on and where you want to focus your attention
  • Helping the you to focus on all elements of the coaching dialogue might just throw up some new insight on how you and your client engage and any areas that you might want to work on.

The idea of the seven conversations is a fantastic tool to help you think methodically about your coaching practice and to pinpoint when and where in the coaching dialogue issues of concern come up.

If you are looking to deepen your practice through regular supervision, please get in touch. I’d be more than happy to arrange a ‘no obligation’ initial call to chat about what you’re looking for and how I could help.