If you are reading this blog, you are likely well aware of my passion for The Birkman Method. Since 2006, I have not coached or consulted without first gaining the perspective offered by its unique data set. Deep learning is like a fine wine – it is complex, and takes time to mature and ripen into something that is experienced by others, as real change. Like a great vintage, The Birkman Method is definitely in a class of its own.
Perspective is the sweet spot of The Birkman Method. It may surprise you to learn, however, that understanding the client’s perspective isn’t the starting place. You see, I have to do my best to ensure that I’m filtering out as much of my own conscious and unconscious bias as possible. I must start with understanding my own perspective. Knowing my own needs and the impact of each client on my limited energy is crucial. I know that I can respond negatively to certain styles of communication, and this will impact how I listen to diverse clients and situations. For me, too much detail can feel overwhelming. I park that feeling, as much as I can, for the client’s sake. My deep need is also for trust. Initial distrust of my role as coach can be difficult for me. I focus on my strength of empathizing with the client’s initial discomfort as they face the performance gaps they must overcome. Of course this suspension of my own needs utilizes my limited energy. This energy all comes back to me when trust is established and the impact of my attentiveness results in dramatic awareness for the client. Check out Robert T. De Filippis’ book: On Coaching with the Birkman Method for deep insights regarding getting yourself out of the way. It’s an invaluable resource even if you don’t utilize the Birkman.
One of the many rewards of my work is the honour of being able to train other professionals in The Birkman Method. During the three day Certification intensive, it is inevitable that the following question is asked:
“Dave, I see how accurate the Birkman is in framing the clients perspective, and the detail and insights are amazing…but how do you use the Birkman and avoid getting lost in all the data and possibilities it presents?”
Creating simplicity out of complexity is critical in any learning situation, and the following approach is what works for me and my clients.
Equipped with a new perspective and deeper insights regarding their own unique challenges, the client often has a deeper belief that their actions and choices will make a real difference. When properly reinforced with ongoing exercises, action steps, encouragement, follow-up and encouragement, we have what we are looking for! Transformation—substantial and effective positive change. It’s a beautiful thing (that for some would rival a 2013 Chianti)!
Of course it all takes practice and time. However, immediately after certification—before the practice, the addition training offered, and wonderful Birkman conferences—I mean right after Certification, there is so much potential insight to lean on, learn from and make an incredible difference right out of the gate. Confidence builds quickly.
I’m extremely grateful for the Birkman Method, to the late Roger Birkman, and the professional Birkman community that continues to enhance the value of this insightful instrument!