In coaching circles it's called the "coaching agreement."
I call it the "coach's drill."
Every coaching conversation should have one. It's where we live into one piece of the uniqueness of coaching - the client always sets the agenda.
In broad brush strokes, the drill goes from broad to specific. Its moves look like this:
1. Broad Topic
2. Core Issue
3.Specific Desired Outcome
In a conversation, it might look something like this:
COACH: What would you like to work on today?
CLIENT: I'm struggling with a staff person.
COACH: What's at the core of that struggle?
CLIENT: The quality of his work is really poor.
COACH: What would it look like for you if this struggle were resolved?
CLIENT: Well, I guess either the quality of his work would get much better, or I'd figure out how to move him on.
The drill comes out early in the conversation. If you were trained in CoachNet's CHAIN model, it probably shows up in the "hearing" portion of the conversation. This is because you can't work on something without knowing where you want to wind up. It's counter intuitive, but before you can explore where your client is, you need to know where your client wants to go. Then exploration of current realities and what will be necessary to bridge the gap from the current reality to the desired reality become possible. But without the drill, without the clarity of outcomes, you can't set up the tension or current necessary to produce effective transformation.
So when you coach, make sure you get out the drill. And then sit back and watch and be amazed at the kind of holes you can create through your client's challenge!