Making blind spots visible through mentor coaching

During an action learning facilitator training day that I ran recently, one of the participants said that she learned about blind spots she had – by practicing in front of others and getting feedback – that had never come out during her supervision of her action learning facilitation.  She was an experienced facilitator, and she recognised the power of supervision; but the opportunity to practice with feedback from others opened her eyes to a blind spot.   Supervision relies on our own self-report, and if we have blind, deaf or dumb spots (Eckstein 1969), those may not be surfaced in that conversation.

The blind spotsblind spots

What we saw, as a trend over the course of the day, when she was facilitating and when she was coaching, were signals that she was rescuing others, rather than resourcing them.

This was a big thing for her, to have us spot something that she had never spotted for herself before, and therefore never brought to supervision.

This is what I love about mentor coaching; helping others to see themselves through new lenses, to hear what is and is not being said, and to access their intuition in the moment.

Mentor coaching makes blind spots visible

Mentor coaching is an integral part of the International Coach Federation accreditation process, and it requires a coach to demonstrate their coaching and get feedback from an accredited coach against the ICF competencies.

This past weekend, I ran an ICF accreditation “lock-in”, whereby four coaches practiced their coaching with each other, and got feedback from each other and from me.  There were aha moments all over the place, where there had previously been blind spots, deaf spots, dumb spots– things they didn’t know about themselves, things they didn’t hear in what the thinker was saying (or not saying), and things their intuition was telling them but that they didn’t say out loud in service of the thinker.

The participants had come to the weekend, thinking of it as a check-box exercise; having to get their hours of mentor coaching in order to be able to submit their accreditation applications.  They left having learnt and grown exponentially from the practice with feedback:

“I have just arrived home feeling full and satisfied, recognising that I have learned (or maybe relearned) so much.”

If you’re interested to read more about that learning and growth, here’s what Helena had to say in her blog.

If you are interested in learning and growing as a coach – and in having time to complete your ICF accreditation paperwork – call me on 07775 817 344 to discuss dates for the next ICF accreditation lock-in.