The coaching playbook is effective’s A-Z of bite-sized tools, tips and techniques for coaches, managers – and even for your own personal development.
You’ve probably all seen the toy that has a donkey standing on a plinth. Inside the plinth is a button, and if it’s pushed, the donkey collapses. This is a useful metaphor through which to introduce the issue of response management and self control. The idea is that we all have one or more donkey buttons, which if pushed (accidentally or deliberately) will cause us to ‘collapse’, emotionally if not physically. And of course, some people may wish to exploit this vulnerability to weaken you, or whoever they wish to dominate. So having introduced this metaphor or analogy, the next step is to discuss with the client how to identify their donkey button(s), and how to switch them off.
Coach message: firstly (of course) identify and switch off your own. For the client, encourage them to identify their donkey buttons, and how they help others to gain an emotional advantage. Once they accept they have such buttons, get them to identify ways in which they could disable them. Possibilities include:
– removing them (a potential exercise for visualisation)
– unplugging them
– seeing them (when pushed) not as a disabler, but as a clarion call for positive action
– seeing anyone pushing your button as clumsy (not intentional, so you can forgive them); or silly (of COURSE it isn’t going to work)
– reframe the button as a trampoline – any incoming negativity aimed at the button simply bounces back off the button
The trick overall is to take the button away completely, or to reframe it as an asset, rather than a liability
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