Coaching Skills for Occupational
Therapists: developing your
professional practice and enabling
Occupational Therapist, Coach
“We already do this anyway”
What’s this fuss all about?
• Important questions for today’s session?
• What is your perception and understanding of
• What sort of conversations do you currently have
with your clients/patients?
• Conversations and enquiries that help your
clients, you, your team and your business…..
Brief history of coaching….
Shaman’s and healers
Talking therapies – the new confessional
Personal development/new age movement
The modern confessional…Freud…Oprah
“Administering the celebrated self”… coaching!
Health coaching, Executive coaching, Corporate
coaching, Business coaching etc
Simon Western (2012) Coaching and Mentoring: a Critical Text
Definitions of Coaching
• “partnering with clients in a specific conversation-based, thoughtprovoking and creative process that inspires them to move from
their current state to a more desired future state “ Stober & Grant,
2006; International Coach Federation, 2011
• “coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their
performance” he continues “ building awareness, responsibility and
self belief is the goal of a coach”. John Whitmore 2002
• “coaching addresses the whole person – with an emphasis on
producing action and uncovering learning that can lead to more
fulfilment, more balance and a more effective process for living
Whitworth et al 2005
“Mirror to the Soul”
Inner-self & Experience
“Technician of the Psyche”
Role-self and productivity
The power balance is equal in the relationship
The coaching space is created jointly by both parties. “The
relationship is a designed alliance.”
The coach is responsible for creating the structure and
maintaining the focus of the session. “The agenda comes
for the client”.
The client is at the point in their lives where they are ready
to commit to the process and move forward.
The coach is self aware, works without judgement and does
not “tell” or advise the other person what to do. The coach
respects and honours the client’s journey and understands
that “the client is naturally creative, resourceful and whole”.
(Adapted from Whitmore 2002 and Whitworth et al 2005)
Power, relationship, expectations
• How does a coaching or a coaching style
• a patient : therapist relationship
as opposed to
• a client : coach relationship?
• In a coaching relationship, the client is the expert
and the relationship is designed around what
What “works” in occupational/
health behaviour change?
What do you think?
What does “research” tell us?
What doesn’t research tell us!
What works for you, personally?
What has worked for your patients/clients?
What do you intuitively know?
• Deep Listening; global, active, intuitive,
“Attention, the act of listening with palatable respect and
fascination, is the key to a Thinking Environment. Listening
of this calibre is enzymatic. When you are listening to
someone, much of the quality of what you are hearing is
your effect on them. Giving good attention to people makes
them more intelligent. Poor attention makes them stumble
over their words and seem stupid. Your attention, your
listening is that important.”
(Kline 1999 p 37)
What sort of ears do you wear when
you are with your patients?
• Are you already listening for certain answers
from your client?
• Are you expecting the “usual story”
• Are you generating solutions whilst you listen?
• Are you thinking about the tea?
• How easy is to listen at fully without judgment
• Generally open ended questions that invite greater
possibility or expanded learning and fresh
perspective (Whitworth 2005)
• Allowing time for client to think, really think, not
jumping in too soon: Conscious use of silence
• “if one sits in a clearing long enough and quietly
enough, soon all the animals come out the woods
and present themselves” Thoreau
• Chasing answers/solutions doesn’t always work
• What are the benefits of not being well/not
achieving this? (context – internal and
• How do I sabotage my plans?
• What sense do I make of that?
• What worked in the past when I did
• What might work now?
• What’s one tiny thing you could do that might
start this off?
Types of planners…
• Objective oriented planning: SMART, linear: goal,
steps, achieve (only 25% of people!!!!)
• Domain/direction planning: have a vision and
direction, but move forwards without targets
• Task planners: respond to short term
tasks/deadlines “en route”
• Existential/non planners: “whatever will be, will
We need to know what works for our clients, at a
tangible planning, action-oriented level
• Making plans like: “I’m going to start
swimming 3 times a week” rarely work
• Small steps. Small enough to keep the
• “I will stand up and walk for 1 minute in front
of the TV while the adverts are on” that’s
Dr Bob Maurer “One small step can change your life”
This always happens to me
I never get it right
I am not clever enough
I can’t make decisions
Don’t set your sights too high...you’ll only feel
• Real men provide for their family
• Good mothers are….
Health related beliefs?
If I work too hard, I will become ill
Working will worsen my depression
My father was like this, so I will be
Everyone else is healthy/happy
Doctors/the NHS can cure me
There must be a pill for this
I am not able to change, I am just like this
“What are you believing about this, which is not
Models and Approaches
• Many, many models and acronyms in
abundance…GROW, DREAM, STAR etc
• Many, many approaches: Behavioural
Coaching, Cognitive-Behavioural Coaching,
Motivational Interviewing Coaching, NLP, Coactive Coaching, Narrative coaching etc
• “coaching someone” or adopting a “coach
approach” to your existing practice?
Integrating coaching into your
How does coaching fit into your model of
practice/daily work? Permission to coach?
• Taking a coach approach to all OT interventions?
• Formal v informal
• Coaching sandwich: coaching…formal
• Or Elicit – Provide – Elicit
• On-going coaching as an enabling tool?
Conversations for the stuck client
What are your assumptions?
What seems to be the main obstacle?
What are you choosing to ignore?
If you were at your best what would you do right now?
Where are you giving away your power?
What requests can be made to get you going?
How might this obstacle help you?
What if you do nothing?
What do you know now, that you will find out in a
Conversations to expand selfawareness
• What motivates you? What’s important for you?
• When are you unable to laugh at yourself?
• Is what you are doing right now fulfilling or
• Who are you at your best?
• What are your strengths/gifts?
• What are you grateful for ?
• How do you get in your own way
• What works well for you?
Conversations for broadening options
• Without censoring yourself, quickly write
down 7 things you could do to move yourself
• If you had free choice in this, what would you
• If you knew that you could not fail how would
it be to do…?
• How could you turn this around and enjoy the
Discussions about moving forward
• How will you pull this all together?
• What tiny step could you take that would
make sense this week?
• What ever your first step is, what might stop
you from doing it?
• When will you do it by? (pressure v accountability)
” A profound shift in culture has to
take place… providing the kind of
orchestration that evokes our
creativity and bring out the best of
each person’s talent is a very
Leadership and the New Science
Thanks for listening.
Special conference offers:
4 for 3 on individual coaching sessions
25% discount for online courses!
Feel free to get in touch if you want some further
information for yourself or staff – we can have a coffee
over Skype or IRL!
Twitter @otcoach @jenngash
Find me on Linked In!
Notas do Editor
Talk about telephone coaching: “I can see with my ears”
Socratic questionsWisdom accessing questions that help people find their brilliancInquiry and change go hand in handTo me, coaching is an “inquiry” a piece of research into our “living”
In our work as health care professionals, the role of beliefs and values cannot be underestimated.Talk about the culture that the NHS is trying to change: empowerment, choice etc versus the benefits of not taking responsibility for our health and not exercising choiceHow do we, as HC professionals, perpetuate some unhelpful beliefs
Discuss :Being sent for coaching V paying for it yourselfHas anyone here paid for coaching? How did paying for it, change your approach to it?
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