Yesterday on my blog I wrote about how some people are audio processers. They need to be able to talk– and hear themselves talk– to process their thinking.
Others tend to be experiential or artistic processers. Some find that drawing pictures or diagrams provides a helpful way for them to process. At one point I worked with a guy who was an artist trying to reach people via his downtown art studio. We were talking about people flow, and I asked him, “What happens next?” Then, “What happens next?” As he talked, I drew a diagram that laid out how he wanted people to move through his ministry.
Others process well in a group setting: staff retreats, meetings, letting others talk. The multiple perspectives allow them to assess the situation from different directions as people are sharing. Capturing central ideas on white boards and in key words give shape to the ideas. When I coach group processors, I often ask them who they need to sit down and talk with. Discussing ideas and directions helps them get ownership and greater insight.
Yet others need to learn by experience. Try something, see how it goes, reflect on what happened, learn from it, then try something else. This creates an action/reflection cycle.
As a coach, you need to help people think in a way that allows them to process most effectively, using the vehicles that work best for them.