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Developing Your Reflective Gene


Judith Barton, Director of Coaching

I have arrived at a point in life, where I’ve started to look back.  Like many I’m sure this was brought on by a life event – in my case it was two major life events.  The death of my dear mother and a cancer diagnosis.

This post isn’t meant to be sad.  On the contrary, it makes me remember and makes me smile.

Mum had this wonderful ability to catch me when I fell, without saying ‘I told you so.’  Instead she focused on how I would develop my thinking.  She would often say ‘take me through it.’

As I look back on it, it makes me smile and say a little thank you; for everything I’ve learnt, everything I can hear myself saying and see myself doing.

I consider this a particular art – or is it a scientific approach?  Who knows.  For me, I’ve discovered it has a name – REFLECTION.

If you develop your reflective gene, you will become better at whatever you do.  If you are a coach, I recommend putting it on your priority list.

Developing your reflective gene will make you a better coach, accelerate your coaching practice and thirdly focus your supervision.

So, how do you develop your reflective gene?

There are 5 points you might like to consider:

  1. Include personal reflection time in all your sessions. E.g.  For a 1.5 hour session, one hour should be coaching, with fifteen minutes for reflection and fifteen minutes for write up
  2. Reflect deeply rather than widely.  Focus your reflection on a particular aspect, and examine every element of your approach.  E.g. listening – consider, how do I listen?  When do I lose my 100% focus?  What do I need to be an even better listener?
  3. Think about your baseline/where your skills and attributes are, and revisit this frequently.
  4. Identify your tiny development steps – make sure they’re tiny and achievable
  5. Contract the key aspects of your development plan with your supervisor
  6. I couldn’t resist a 6th point – make sure your supervisor is of the same mind – they are also developing their reflective gene!