As a driving instructor the use of reflective practices has been growing and you, and your clients, are encouraged to keep reflective logs. We all need a mirror; reflecting on our thoughts and experiences is essential to personal growth. A good coach will have expertise in the key skills of summarising, paraphrasing and using metaphors for clarifying thoughts. Here is a little more about the differences between these key skills and why reflective practices are so important. Summarising sounds simple, but you really need to listen, not to just the words, but to the body language that accompanies the words. When you feedback in this way, you are reflecting back to your client their own words, so they can hear them for themselves. This gives them the opportunity to examine their beliefs and opinions, which you’ve laid out in front them. Your role is to allow them to examine their own stories and how they are telling them. It is useful to replay their body language to help them see their emotions, as they tell their stories.
Paraphrasing has similarities to summarising. The essential difference is you have put the reflection into your own words. This allows the client to see how others interpret their stories, helping them gain insight, and allowing them to explore their beliefs from a different perspective. A metaphor sometimes will make the situation more comprehensible and help the client consider more deeply what they have been saying, helping to bring clarity to their story. You can use metaphors such as: 'that situation turned into a giant snowball once you got the ball rolling,’ which might be used to sum up a story that started as something quite trivial and just grew and grew. You could ask: ‘are you making a mountain out of a molehill’ or if the client sounds overwhelmed you could say: 'it sounds like you’re trying to push water up a hill'. You can also use that old adage: 'the bottom line is .................. ‘ which can be useful in summing up an entire emotional story. For example, the bottom line is: 'you still want to leave your job.' If you are interested in improving your skills when reflecting back to your clients’ their thoughts and feelings, then you should look at our next coaching course.