Using a Persona to Minimize Bias in Coaching

All the world’s a stage and when it comes to coaching, this truth can help pull back the curtain on objectivity and empathy to be an invaluable tool in your coaching practice.

Think of a coaching session as a performance, in which every interaction is a scene, and your coaching persona is the key to helping minimize bias, thereby inspiring your clients to greatness.

Donning A Coaching Persona: Your New Alter Ego

A persona is a fictional character created to represent certain qualities.  In coaching, the persona embodies objectivity and empathy, allowing us to challenge our own biases and question our assumptions. It can serve as a mirror, reflecting not just who we are, but also who we can become when we are open to stepping outside ourselves. So, if you're looking to refine your perspective, try adopting a persona that inspires you to be more objective and empathetic.

Why Even the Best of Us Need a Mirror

Bias is something that affects everyone and it can be challenging to avoid, even if we believe we are open-minded. Unconscious and other types of biases can influence our perceptions and decisions, hindering our ability to best serve our coaching clients. Instead of pretending to be unbiased—which is impossible!—we should focus instead on recognizing and minimizing these biases through techniques and practices such as adopting the coaching persona. Self-reflection in this way is an effective way tool in your coaching arsenal.

The Advantages of a Persona

  • Perspective Shifting: Shifting perspectives is a powerful technique that allows coaches to adopt a persona and gain a fresh outlook on their coaching methods. It's akin to playing the director and actor role in your coaching story, providing insights from multiple angles.

  • Bias Identification: By portraying a character different from ourselves, perhaps one embodying the closest we can get to being “unbiased” or with beliefs slightly different or unhindered from our own experiences, we can easily detect our biases as they occur, as if the persona is holding up a sign saying, "You're doing that thing again!".
  • Empathy Enhancement: A well-crafted persona can help us cultivate deeper empathy, enriching our understanding and connection with clients.
  • Innovative Problem-Solving: By adopting a persona, we become more than just coaches; we become creative problem-solvers, able to innovate novel solutions to coaching challenges without the usual limitations.

Crafting Your Persona: A Message from Merv

Creating a persona is similar to brewing a magical potion. It requires a combination of imagination, introspection, and a bit of courage. To begin, imagine a character with traits that you admire or aspire to embody. This could be the insightful calm of a wise mentor, the fearless curiosity of an explorer, or the balanced harmony of a diplomat. Or a combination of all three. Infuse your persona with these qualities, along with the ones that counterbalance your known biases. This will result in your very own bias-busting alter ego!

Self-Reflection as a Habit For Lasting Success

Incorporating self-reflection through a persona into your coaching practice is not a one-time event. It requires an ongoing commitment to growth, learning, and minimizing bias. Just like any skill, it takes practice! Along with a lot of patience and a willingness to make mistakes as you learn. However, the benefits of this commitment, such as deeper connections, more effective coaching, and a richer understanding of both yourself and your clients, are definitely worth the effort.

Happy Coaching!

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