Qual Street

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Coached Self Observation

Coached Self Observation


I’ve just read about a technique that Roy Langmaid from the Langmaid practise has developed…

It’s called coached self observation. He developed the technique to help respondents express small and fleeting emotions that they experience in their everyday lives when they are making mundane choices like shopping in the supermarket. The technique also helps people ‘see’ some of their automatic behaviours, like tying shoe-laces or brushing their teeth.

Like all good ideas it’s a simple one.

Here’s how to run a coached observation session…
Invites respondents to a group session before respondents begin the project they are going to participate in for you. Then help them with some self-awareness techniques. For example, get respondents in pairs to think of an external event that has recently happened, like coming into the room before the start of the coaching session. In pairs, respondents should describe the experience to each other. Then focus on internal/ emotional events, how they felt about coming into the room and repeat the exercise.

What you’re doing here is teaching people mindfulness skills in preparation for the project they are about to participate in, helping them see their behaviours in more and vivid detail

If your project involves recording thoughts and feelings in writing, then the session would involve coaching respondents in how to write freely, observing their own behaviour. If you were using other media for recording behaviour (film/ apps/ photos) then some other form of coaching could take place.

What a brilliant idea!

I guess, as always, we need to be aware that we are changing behaviour, moving respondents from automatic system 1 to self-conscious system 2 thinking. My thought would be to balance the insight you get from ‘coached’ respondents with some ‘fresh’ participants too.

I’m definitely going to use this technique in projects where I’m asking respondents to record their everyday behaviour. So thanks Roy


Kath Rhodes, Qual Street Owner

I love love learning and so I invest time and resources with Ambreen and Claire into exploring social psychology, neuro science, creativity and new techniques in research. Read all about it and help yourself to the ideas that will deliver your business the insight it needs

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