‘’the good coach” 吸引了其他志同道合的導師（無論全職/兼職/隨意），他們期望得益於超越目前的市場狀態。我們參加了小組討論。我們與同行，博客和tgc讀者聯繫，要求他們分享他們在市場上注意到的影響他們在該領域實踐的方式;我們非常感謝他們與我們分享的所有知識片段。這使我能夠思考並連接更廣泛Read More
All our futures have changed – whether for the better or for the worse – we are now waiting to see what the consequences will be as the details, known and unknown, start to come through. This is democracy.
Many will be grappling with what this means and how it may impact on their jobs, roles, relationships with each other (colleagues and families), and the future. What is perceived by one side as being simple and with many opportunities; others perceive as complex and unnecessary risk taking, especially when there currently lacks any strategy or plan on how to move forward for all of society, rather than one part of society. And these are real issues and challenges that will dominate many of the conversations in the coming days, weeks and months.
While reported analysis is typically focused on the broader categories such as education, age, geographical location, salary, employment status, no one has really addressed the individual responses and reasons of why this is happening. And this is what we do as coaching practitioners, this is our ‘bread and butter’; and it’s important we are also equally equipped to handle, both personally and professionally, what’s shared in these conversations.
We think we really do have a role, a mandate even from society, to support individuals, peers and groups to find and share their voice and to be listened to, and heard in a way that offers fair opportunities for individuals to continually reach and grow their potential.
At the good coach, we’d like to ask you what your thoughts are and let us listen to what you want to say. Using these responses we will write a fair and reflective blog-article that shares our voices, thoughts, and suggestions over the next week, month or even few months, and share with readers (ours and yours) - coaches, practitioners working in organisations, generally interested individuals, leaders.
If you’re ready to have your say click this button now:
What we know so far
the good coach, and many of us who participate in the community, are still in shock and still processing the results of the UK referendum after finding out early on Friday morning that the UK was leaving the EU, and are now waiting for Article 50 to be triggered, or if it will be invoked at all.
Events just in the last few days – and more to come, we (those in the UK) have:
- Been voted out of the EU (with REMAIN strong in cities) - "a dramatic demonstration of democracy that highlights the great divide in Britain and consequences in EU as all are operating in unchartered waters". And it shows the divide between political class, education and generation.
- Lost a Prime Minister, and there is a Tory campaign going on to find his replacement which may lead to an early general election. A vacuum in leadership and direction, even a workable strategy, from the Leave campaigners because they never really thought their campaign would succeed. There is disarray within the Labour Party and the first Minister of Scotland is looking for independence.
- A civil service, which has perhaps 12 senior members who have the skills to negotiate bilateral agreements and more who need to go onto training courses, or find other places to implement the unknown strategy/course to be set by the next PM. This also includes increased workload, which was formally carried out in the EU, with decreased human resources.
- Financial services are quietly implementing their contingency plans to move to other locations because they know that their clients do not want to be exposed to the uncertainty and risk that now exists in the UK, which is definitely an opportunity for others. And this will have knock-on effects for everyone whether it's around less public spending or higher taxes because they are dependent on the EU passport.
- All sides of the debate completely misread the sentiments of the British public for how they would be using this vote to be more vocal around the discontent towards the British government with the #regrexit i.e. whilst voting to Leave they thought they'd still remain. What promises will be kept; how EU funding can really be maintained; what is the role of the expert; and how do you "heal" the tensions that are visible between perceived immigrants, immigrants and locals?
Our current search for understanding or beginning to understand a little more of what’s really happening might be explained by this infographic from the Lord Ashcroft Polls:
What does this mean for our future – how uncertainty will hit everyone – especially businesses, careers and jobs
The future has been changed, and something that we never thought would occur in our lifetime has, and we’re wondering what the consequences will really be. The government, at least, had enough foresight in 1997, and granted operational independence over monetary policy to the Bank of England. We’re all grappling in different ways with the loss of control that we thought we had and the principles that we believe in, which also fundamentally underpin coaching. This referendum has really questioned our resolve towards coaching... and what does this mean for coaching?
Tomorrow when people walk into work in the morning, how are they, or even you, going to manage their anxiety with respect to their work, identity, family and future? Especially as we all work internationally.
What we've heard already and has been put forward:
- Where will work go in the financial services, and who's going to mobilise and become that country's immigrant if they want to keep their role?
- Real concerns for job security in the Civil Service whose role was to translate relevant EU law into British law, as well the immense changes for the Civil Service itself.
- Concerns for small business owners and white collar workers in various size organisations – with the lack of investment in businesses there is higher job insecurity.
- Personal security and heightened anxiety of Brexit-related racial abuse.
- Immense pressure on a reduced Civil Service which is expected to start negotiations even though there is a significant gap in delivery and that expected professionalism to just be able to get on with the mandate.
- Working with the younger generation who think that the older generation has taken away their choice of future because it's seen as in their best interest because they have lived through those forty years and have seen that it hasn’t worked for them.
A scenario we can see is coaching with high potentials, who typically fall into the younger generation age bracket. How might an older executive coach who is perceived to have voted to
Leave affect the coaching relationship?
Your thoughts – Does Coaching have something to bring to help?
We'd like to ask you for your thoughts and with these responses we'll write a reflective blog-article that shares our voices, thoughts, and suggestions through the good coach over the next week, month or even few months, and share with readers (ours and yours) - coaches, practitioners working in organisations, generally interested individuals, leaders - the following:
- Do you think the Referendum will have an impact on your practice? Why?
- What advice/coaching do you want to give other professionals going through this uncertainty?
- What advice would you give to other coaching practitioners who will be working with their clients during through this uncertainty?
Please share your own reactions and thoughts by clicking the link below and hopefully we'll receive enough feedback and responses to begin sharing in the next few days.
We’ll be looking to share and reviewing how our responses develop.
We also appreciate that what we've shared may not impact directly some who are not in the UK and EU. However, as coaches we are always working with professionals who work through uncertainty and unchartered waters. Drawing from your experiences what would you share?
the good coach aims to be a living platform for independent views, and contributions about how coaching can make important contributions to our lives … there is a real need, or opportunity for this in the changes that are taking place in life, society and communities around the world. Brexit shows the importance and challenges involved in bringing views together more than ever…..
Written by Yvonne Thackray (on behalf of the good coach)
I would like to share what I think is an increasingly important experience which demonstrates how best to get coaching to work. Our abilities to turn up in a way that works for the client, rather than how it works for 'the profession’.
I have become increasingly concerned about the way that coaching (a wide and general term without a formal definition) is creating confusion and sometimes very inappropriate interventions for people. The description which I use, and more importantly which resonates with my clients’ requirements, is:
“Executive or business coaching tends to involve working with people who can be more assertive about whether something works for them.”
A recent case – the scenario
I work with a team of colleagues who often come from diverse backgrounds and skills, according to the client’s requirement. In this case, we were called because a previous intervention had failed.
The general scenario: We were working with a large senior management group who were working collectively towards merging and integrating two large organisations. The people involved were highly experienced in matters of leadership and management. These were robust organisations looking for some help due to the scale of topics, and because of their desire to get on top of the transition and getting it to work smoothly.
A previous intervention had failed
The client started by outlining what they did not want which was nothing that was too psychologically-based because there were already many psychologists in their pool. In addition, they had recently spent a week with a well-known organisation that has the reputation of representing ‘the profession’. That programme had involved intensive immersion work, every day over five days.
Our clients felt that they needed an intervention to manage the gaps they were experiencing as they went through the merger. They had received “coaching”, and that word was said a lot. At the end of the programme, a number of the team members reported feeling more confused than they were when they had arrived, “We didn’t understand what they were doing, or get an inkling of where they were going. At the end of the program we left more confused than we were at the start. Please, no more.”
The intervention was inappropriate. It was more like a training programme for a generic challenge. It did not directly deal with the specific issues they were facing as a team. “It was too psychological”.
Listen to the clients
When we went to meet with the clients, they were wary in terms of jargon words and anything to do with coaching. They were quite clear about what they didn’t want. They said:
“We are merging. We know we need guidance on certain things. Just tell us what to do in this situation. There are certain things that we are going to need to do. For example, we’re going to have to create new job descriptions. Some of our people are going to be moving. There is a lot of uncertainty around the people who are staying. We have new directors who have never been directors before. All of a sudden, they need to look confident in front of people. How are they going to do that when they themselves don’t know where their job is going to be in six months time? That’s what we want. Thank you very much.”
These were valid questions. The client wanted to know but had stated that, “We don’t really know what we need, but we know how we feel, we have valuable specialists and we need to be heard.” And, “How do we manage our team so that we are saying the same thing to our employees, rather than one person or organisation answering it one way and another person answering in another way!”
This was the environment we walked into. We were deeply honoured to be trusted so quickly with direct feedback, and we did not waste time. These valid propositions allowed us, as a team of coaches, to have that conversation. In fact, as is typical, there were a series of conversations with their people sharing what needed to be shared. The client had in their words developed “antibodies” to the label ‘coaching’, and to words specific to the field of psychology (or jargon). Therefore we worked with them in ways that left out coaching words. There was no ‘reflecting’ or use of lullaby voice, as a way of showing empathy. We supported them by fully utilising other approaches. The point being that a good coach can usually work in a way that is still psychologically-based, while minimising those cues from the client experience.
Delivering coaching in a way that works for the clients
When we came to meeting the clients, we called ourselves “organizational role consultants”. This signalled that we were not saying that we work exclusively with executives. For example, we would work with non-executive directors, or others who are not executives within the company such as consultants to the company.
An organizational role consultant begins by being many of the things that a coach is. They listen, observes and more. It is not uncommon in coaching, when dealing with people who are very, very clever, to find that they find intolerable the notion that anybody is coming along to coach them. For some, the word ‘coach’ still carries connotations that make it intolerable (contrary to the profession’s assertions). As a result, you have to be alive to a client’s sensitivities in terms of language, and mannerisms. A good coach can confidently describe their work, utilising words other than ‘coach’, particularly when there is sensitivity with the client. In this case we made no reference to psychological terms, nor did we utilise psychodynamics in any form.
But what is also worth looking at, and the clue is in the name ‘organizational role consultant’, is:
- The name
- The person’s role – their formal role/job descriptive role
- Then look at what it is they have to do that is explicit in the job description role, which is really the juice of what the person and team are doing.
The formal and the informal roles: One of the objectives the CEO mentioned was, “I want my senior management team to behave like senior directors because that is what I have employed them to do.” I found that the directors spent a significant amount of their time fire-fighting. The directors are all incredibly clever, but also extremely overworked. I do not know anybody at that level of seniority who is not overworked, so it was no surprise to find fire-fighting. In truth, the moment a director created a bit of space, as so perceived by the organization or others in their group, a bit more work was pushed in their direction. The question was: when would the directors find the time to stand back and consider the wider view in order to be the senior director that the CEO complained they were not being?
Working with the individual client (a typical case)
One of the directors, hitherto highly able, was more recently disabled by overwork and now at high risk of burning out because, in his words, he was not bringing his “best self to work”. We talked about his formal role, which was always morphing because the context was changing around him due to it being driven by the markets. Sadly, this is the story in many organisations.
We had a look at his current formal role, and visualised what might be happening over the next six months.
We then took a look at what his informal role entailed. These were items that were not in his job description; they were vital to job implementation but never the sorts of topics recognised, not to mention discussed during his appraisal. Yet these items took up significant amounts of his time and energy on a daily basis.
After four meetings, we contracted again. We mapped both of his roles onto a pie chart to sketch out what the allocation demands for him looked like.
The first session was a catharsis for the fellow because previously there had been no one to simply talk to and sound things out with. By the second and third meetings the director was confirming for himself many thoughts and instincts he had had but, without a sounding partner, he had not had the space to think things through, never mind articulate them. I invited him to “consider this time to be your oasis where you just come and talk.”
He was hugely relieved to become aware that there is such a thing as an informal role that is separate from the formal role. Moreover, it was something to recognise and acknowledge, even if others had not. He would take this back to work and acknowledge the informal work his teams were putting in, which he had had no name for. This was important for him because apart from the potential increase in team cohesion and productivity, he had direct experience of chiding himself for “not keeping on top of it.” His ability to now articulate his experience in a clear and structured way had made a huge difference to his own functionality.
The director is now delegating more, and deepening the succession benches by training up. He has given himself permission to step back. His second objective was to find a way of getting useful feedback. As his job had become more complex, he needed feedback about whether he was on the right track and doing a good job, particularly from the Chief Executive. Stepping back enabled him to seek this. He also found an area of work on which to focus more of his time on, because it was more meaningful for him.
What amazes me is how easy it is to give attention to the day-to-day detail, and the ramifications that has on the wider picture. Starting with adapting to the clients’ sensitivities about being coached to the many jewels that came about for the client. Being a sounding board and investigating what it means when a factor that drives us is the fear that what we do might not be good enough. We also discussed the fear of not being accepted by peers. Both of these fears were neither good nor bad.
By paying attention to them, the client had a sense that the fears lit a fire under them, which avoided complacency. They were happy to keep striving. At the same time though, focusing too much on the fears could backfire. The senior management team took what they needed from us as they headed into the new landscape with their merger. Their message to us was clear – we need first to get our own life jacket, and secondly, in service of the team and the organization, step back and be senior directors.
To connect with Toy:
I thought Professionalism was meant to be good and could be relied on… but it seems some fresh thinking is really needed. As it seems there are a number of different meanings given to the idea- representing a number of conflicting interests. Greater honesty about these interests would help. It’s an ethical thing!
1 Why it is important to me
I came into coaching when someone said to me –“Jeremy, did you know what you do is now called coaching!” I replied “… well I am well used to calling what I do by all sorts of things – driven by what the client prefers to call it.”
That was some ten years ago, now.
It then became very clear, at the time, there was quite a rush on to run the coaching flag up the pole of general attention. I thought it would be really good to establish some real authority, professionalism as I saw it, as to what this coaching thing is about.
Where is the authority to follow?
However, I have found that all that glitters is not gold, as they say!
The issue lies in the widely different meanings people bring to what they really mean by this term ‘professional’. It seems we are still to establish what would be the best, and most authoritative meaning for the use of the term –in the best interests of all.
I would like to lay out the different approaches to this term, professional, here, as a way of giving some form to where important work still needs to be done – at least before I feel fully comfortable about my use of this term 'professional!'
2 Why is professional as a term so important?
To start with, dictionary meanings are also quite open in meaning:
- Worthy of or appropriate to a professional person; competent, skillful, or assured.
- Engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as an amateur.
- A person engaged or qualified in a profession.
The attraction of using the term is that it short cuts a great deal of time and resource in checking out whether people get what they are looking for.
- The central issue about the use of the term professional is the implied ‘contract’ created, and whether it is then delivered. (Contract originates as a legal term – but also can refer to mutual expectations more).
- Users can benefit, as well as ‘suppliers’. It is a great idea that has been widely, and increasingly used across society in many.
- It also helps people know what they need to do to be able to deliver the service involved and remain ‘professionally’, and even legally.
- It can even in some instances provide assurance against challenge or complaint about services.
- The issue of checks and balances where there are significant risks of self-interest are increasingly important.
And they are all still a major part of the issue when the term professional is loosely applied in Coaching.
2.1 My expectations of the use of the term – in brief
The meaning, typically taken from its use, is that the professional knows what they are doing.
- They get it right all the time (not occasionally, like amateurs).
- They can be fully trusted to deliver a service as required …. as specified.
- They know what they don’t know, and don’t stray into this. They know where their boundaries lie for what they do.
This is a very exacting standard, and contract. The term contract makes it clear that there are potential penalties for breaking this contract.
3 Looking at the different ‘standards’ used in adopting the term professional
Surveying how it’s being applied in our field, there seem to be different standards involved in the use of the term – professional - which is ironic, as standards are what the whole thing is about! I would expect more honest attention to this standards issue.
Looking at the sources of authority, in the field at present, three large categories come first to mind. Two we know well – and the third is more in its early but important early stages, and is likely to be the force that really drives progress.
3.1 Category ONE - The self-appointed, ‘supplier,’ sources of authority:
The risk, here is conflicts of interest, where the self-interest of the suppliers does not work to the best advantage of the user. The user has little opportunity to input into the supply of the services.
a) INDIVIDUALS – with self-appointed authority as a professional Coach - may just decide to announce themselves a professional coach – typically on the basis that as they ‘earn their living’ through what they do, they must know what they are doing.
b) COMMUNITIES – of ‘like-minded’ individuals – again on a self-appointed basis.
As Gray 2010 puts it in: Journeys towards the professionalisation of coaching: dilemmas, dialogues and decisions along the global pathway,
“If coaching is to become a profession it must adopt criteria such as the development of an agreed and unified body of knowledge, professional standards and qualifications, and codes of ethics and behaviour. While some of these are already completed or in development, the continuation of a multiplicity (and growing) number of coaching associations suggests that the pathway of coaching to professionalisation may be at best bumpy, and at worst derailed.”
- This has happened in Coaching where numerous bodies have created themselves, or appointed themselves as experts in Coaching. They create a basis for ‘registering’ people – but on terms they have given authority to by themselves. (See Yvonne Thackray’s blog: Culture driven from the centre: Comparing two coaching bodies who compares this approach)
- This can be seen also by ‘Training organisations’ … Anyone can offer a quick two day course, with the award of accreditation. Furthermore, it was raised in a recent paper by Maltbia et al (2014) the lack of empirical validity of the core competences and the conflict of interest between certifying coach training schools and accrediting its members threatens its credibility.
- It can also be seen in other ‘knowledge oriented’ communities which may see their perspective adding an edge to their members in the field. For example, Psychology and Psychotherapy/Counselling have both adopted the coaching term in relation to their mainstream professional position by starting ‘Coaching Divisions’.
The lack of agreement for where authority lies across this major diversity of claims speaks even more to the real risk of conflict of narrow interest.
It is remarkable how little serious collaboration of substance there is yet across all these bodies.
In medicine, as an example of a more mature area for ‘professionalism’ that may be worthy of role-modelling, a recent review saw more issues ahead in considerable detail.
Haffert and Castellani 2010 identified 10 key aspects of medical work (altruism, autonomy, commercialism, personal morality, interpersonal competence, lifestyle, professional dominance, social justice, social contract, and technical competence) and then arranged these within different clusters to identify seven types of professionalism: Nostalgic /Entrepreneurial /Academic /Lifestyle /Empirical /Unreflective /activist.
“Traditional definitions of professionalism, within both medicine and sociology, have identified professional dominance as key to medicine’s professional status …. Nonetheless, a top-down hierarchical model of work (as reflected in the professional dominance model) no longer seems to capture these complexities— even as the underlying complexity of medical work, the uncertainties of knowledge and its application to patient care, and the tremendous variabilities that exist with the patient population continue to demand some measure of individual expertise and discretionary decision making. … How organized medicine responds to the problems of internal integration (e.g., increasing subspecialization) and to the challenges of external adaptation (e.g., the buyer’s revolt) will have a great deal to say about the nature and sustainability of medical professionalism in the future. Traditional conceptions of what it means to be a professional—as a stand-alone entity—are neither systematically realistic nor ultimately sustainable. Like it or not, we remain awash in a sea of complexities”.
3.2 CATEGORY 2 - ‘independently’ appointed Nation /State and or International authority
This Category brings some independence to the checks and balances. However, the disadvantage is that there will be a lack of knowledge for what is involved in practice, and an excessive over- reliance on exacting procedure, rather than inclusion of the substance that matters.
- The UK ‘Chartered’ designation is an example, here. The professional Body granted the use of this (UK) controlled term actually cedes authority for its works to the state.
“A Royal Charter is a way of incorporating a body, that is turning it from a collection of individuals into a single legal entity. …….. incorporation by Charter should be in the public interest. This consideration is important, since once incorporated by Royal Charter a body surrenders significant aspects of the control of its internal affairs to the Privy Council. … This effectively means a significant degree of Government regulation of the affairs of the body, and the Privy Council will therefore wish to be satisfied that such regulation accords with public policy”.
- ISO 17024 is a great process for accreditation – but does not include the knowledge and understanding that is needed in the process.
“ISO/IEC 17024:2012 contains principles and requirements for a body certifying persons against specific requirements, and includes the development and maintenance of a certification scheme for persons.”
The danger, here, is that just because it is possible to create an exacting system for a process it can be put about as having ‘authority’.
3.3 CATEGORY 3 - End ‘User’ authority:
We are now increasingly seeing the start of other forms of authority more involved in deciding how Coaching should work. Especially with ‘Executive Coaching’ – as those involved can be more assertive and knowledgeable. But also this is being led by developments in Medicine.
INTERNAL COACHING: In Executive Coaching, large Organisations in particular have created ‘internal coaching’ using their own staff to provide coaching of other staff.
These organisations are even fashioning their own internal structures for accreditation, and other internal mechanisms for developing their internal coaching – that key to professional status. This is even increasingly independent of current ‘self-appointed’ bodies. (Read more about this in Yvonne Thackray’s blog: How to raise the standards of coaching in 9.5 important ways!)
After all, in executive coaching the use of what is called the ‘chemistry’ session is typical. The End user decides who has the most ‘professional’ capabilities by making their own selection of the Coach for them. The demonstration of having to use the term ‘chemistry’ – borrowed from other areas is symptomatic of the issue. This would appear to signal a big blind spot that still exists in the field about what really matters. It still relies on whom the end user ‘senses’ (somehow) that they can work better with to achieve their goals.
The EXPERT /PROFESSIONAL PATIENT: Perhaps one of the most recent innovations is the idea in the medical profession about bringing the ‘patient’ as the user more directly into the frame as needing to be an expert about their particular condition. An article in the BMJ “Expert patient”—dream or nightmare? Is quick to highlight the opportunities and risks … but opens up the challenge to the medical profession
Unfortunately this can still seem to challenge traditional notions of trained/learned’ knowledge based authority.
And the methodologies for enabling ‘Professional/Expert Patients’ as well as Coachees is less in evidence.
We keep on referring to how The Coachee sets the agenda, and has also to set the process, as it suits their needs / learning structures.
The process of contracting is key to ensuring expectations are managed professionally. However, in coaching, there is often discovery during the process, rather than everything being known at the start – so contracting takes in a new meaning than the simple ‘starter general objective'.
But these are clear signs that users have taken up the need to bring their own expertise into the mix.
4 How do I fit my practice into these approaches to professional remains difficult?
- Coachee Professionalism is key: When I consider my own practice, I can see clearly that it is based on the need to work with the expertise of the Coachee about themselves as central.
However there is still some difficulty finding frameworks and standards for how ‘professionally’ knowledgeable the other person is about their learning opportunities.
Terms like andragogy refer to this – but it is still poorly developed and accepted.(Read more here: Adult Learning – the real leading edge of Coaching by Sue Young , Critical Assumptions in Coaching* By Lucille Maddalena, Ed.D. (Guest))
- Team Based Professionalism: Eventually there will be an evolution of the idea becoming common elsewhere, that a ‘team’ of different experts/professionals may need to be involved because the issues/opportunities at hand are too wide ranging to fit into one profession’s box … let alone one professional’s box.
- The rush to over simplification: Perhaps the greatest risk remains the rush to over simplification of how Coaching works. This generates a push towards conformity with something that is seriously lacking in rigour.
I constantly find fellow well established practitioners who want to share the detail of their practice, as they experience how it works, but find too few opportunities to attract them to do so.
Tell me, how do you demonstrate your professionalism with your clients?
 Maltbia, T.E., Marsick, V.J. & Ghosh, R., 2014. Executive and Organizational Coaching: A Review of Insights Drawn From Literature to Inform HRD Practice. Advances in Developing Human Resources, pp.1–23.
 BMJ 2004; 328 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7442.723 (Published 25 March 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:723
The good coach attracts other like-minded coaches (full/part time/casual – delete as appropriate) who have a vested interest in looking beyond the current state of the market. We participated in group discussion. We reached out to peers, bloggers, and tgc readers to ask them to share what they have noticed in their market that influences how they practice in the field; we’re grateful for all the delicious snippets of knowledge they shared with us. This then allowed me to reflect on and connect the broader field and offer some references to valid evidence to support what resulted in the 2015 list of the 9.5 important ways to raise the standards of coaching.
In a nutshell our way ahead is to individually share case studies of our professional practice and stories of our personal development. It is only through these important contributions can we really broaden and deepen our understanding of how we are giving personal attention through coaching that helps with raising a human’s potential. What we do is more than just the theory or models, and we need to be more confident in ourselves and share the real benefits of coaching. What follows are the 9.5 reasons for why this is important (a few may even consider these as strategic issues of the coaching sector!).
1. Coaching as a field will continue to grow. It will become even more grounded when it is seen as a means to an end rather than an end to a means.
Coaching is part of human evolution; it will continue to grow and slowly mature into its full potential of ‘getting the best out of each human'. Understanding how and where coaching can be best applied and get optimal returns is important. Case studies are slowly beginning to emerge and shared with the broader community in particular segments of practice for e.g. Onboarding, Transitioning to senior levels of responsibility, Returning from extended leave i.e. maternity leave and Leadership. Here’s an example of positive evidence:
"Changes in staff attitude surveys that can be related back to coaching interventions can be powerful – GlaxoSmithKline has generated convincing positive evidence of coaching impact through their global staff survey by comparing leadership impacts in the teams of those coached with those not coached."
The way ahead: We need to encourage more case studies to be shared and exchanged that documents the benefits and limitations of how coaching contributes towards ‘getting the best out of each person’.
2. There is a need to both increase the amount of coaching being done and raise awareness of the benefits of coaching.
Coaching is part of a portfolio career:
some will work full time in coaching that includes training and supervision,
some will be offering to coach in addition to their usual technical role,
some will be providing coaching in addition to or as an integral part of their role as manager and/or leader,
whilst many others will be doing coaching without realising that it is coaching.
In the mainstream coaching market, and within the current narrow definition of coaching, it's perceived to be a tough and competitive market. There seem to be far more qualified coaches and more demand for (and possibly availability of) coaches coming from a senior corporate background who have moved into coaching. They bring their vast experiences with them and a style (a more directive approach) based on how they've evidenced varying levels of positive impact from their coaching shaped by their operational experience within particular contexts and conditions.
A growing conundrum for professional bodies and ‘qualified' coaches particularly when or who is defining who is the client and/or market, and in what ways are they actually making coaching work. Are the current self-assessed qualifications enough to differentiate and decide who fits into the role(s) of a professional coach, and whom should be excluded? Possibly not. Also, fresh graduates from various programs (academic through to training schools) with some work experience have graduated and seeking work in this field, and looking to work with or alongside other experienced coaches.
The way ahead: We need to pay attention for the talent in coaching - what is the pipeline?
2.5 Don't be surprised when your target market hasn't heard of coaching and start from the remedial end!
Although many people and organisations haven't heard of coaching, the idea of coaching is being spread from reports and those who work, or have worked, in multi-national corporations and have offices in different parts of the country and world (for example Germany, India, France, Hong Kong, China, US).
Opportunities to introduce coaching skills and attributes regarded as an increasingly important part of daily management and leadership. This has resulted in an increase in demand for coaching skills training for managers provided that part of the formal learning process in leadership development programmes. They should typically involve ‘on the job’ projects, either that individuals identify themselves, or projects that a team of 'learners' work on and share back that should include not only the business outcomes but learning points. This is a growing trend.
The way ahead: Coaching isn’t sacred. There are plenty of opportunities for engaging in delivering coaching across the whole organisation at all levels (front line through to the CEO). It’s knowing when coaching serves the purpose.
3. Listen to the market. Sponsors of coaching evaluate the outputs delivered from coaching – it's too variable!
Companies, in particular large corporates, are sophisticated users of coaching, and they are questioning the limitations of self-appointed qualifications and accreditations. The competency models used for training coaches is limited in delivering consistently reliable outputs, and this has resulted in one of the big four accounting firms, PwC, leading their own way to develop "a set of global coaching standards, using the UK firm's practices as a benchmark for the rest of the world." While Deloitte ditto are "Bringing together member firms with mature coaching cultures in other countries, with the UK firm, to drive consistency and best practice using Deloitte University in EMEA". They are no longer endorsing any professional body. Or the Learning and OD Manager from the Royal College of Nursing reporting that "the ILM provides a possible alternative route to accreditation, one that is less demanding and more appropriate in scale than EMCC "
The way ahead: Sponsors are developing and building best practice of evaluating how coaching works best in their organisation. They have the data. We need to pay attention as they’ll dictate the market in the future.
4. Internal coaching, mainly applied as part of their strategic risk management, is on the rise in effective organisations. It takes time, effort, careful planning, and adequate resources.
The more mature companies who have received external coaching and moved beyond the scope of it being simply a purchasing decision, and particularly after the 2008 financial crisis, they are taking coaching in-house. Organisations developing their internal cadre of coaching have demonstrated this to be a cost-conscious solution, as well as helping to retain longer the talent and motivation of various employees who are driven to expand their role laterally. There are many strategies for building an internal coaching group (see 1), the most popular being coaches who typically do individual coaching sessions as an addition to their ‘day job' and frequently outside regular working hours.
In the current market (see 3) internal coaching can be regarded as a threat to external coaches. The reality though is that it raises the profile standards and practice of coaching because they understand the environment their clients work in, and they can strategically find ways to pilot coaching interventions and demonstrate the benefits to the organisation in their own language. In effect, internal coaching can scale the practice of coaching within bounded conditions and its nuances. And the needs of the organisation that seeks diversity, an appropriate level of independence and specialism that matches the individual, who chooses to participate or assigned to coaching, will most likely drive the balance of internal and external executive coaches.
The way ahead: Internal coaching has an amazing contribution to take coaching forward. Can we create a forum (pow wow) for exchanging coaching stories and practices with each other?
5. Articulating the benefits received as a result of coaching that impacts the needs of organisations is not a straightforward process.
Appropriating the accounting performance measure of ROI may be more of a marketing hyperbole that comes from coaches (mainly external) that are seeking to justify their work quickly to sponsors. The limitations of correctly executing ROI is the difficulty in isolating those factors that contribute to the impacts from coaching, and the capacity to articulate what it is that has positively resulted in tangible shifts from behavioural changes.
Like any consultant/freelance, it always takes more time to build relationships and reputation with the sponsor to delivering coaching itself. When that opportunity arises, and repeatedly, the sponsor is explicitly delegating to the coaches how their coaching can benefit the individual with personal attention, placebo or not, within their strategy. Established Internal Coaching functions report that whilst "Robust coaching evaluation processes are in place…none is relying on data from evaluations to justify continued investment in coaching as there exists an underlying belief in all firms that the investment in internal coaching provides excellent value".
The way ahead:Evaluating the impacts from coaching needs to be shared and validated by the sponsors (not purchasers) in the language of the client and how they relate the positives for the individual, team, function, and the organization because they typically know how the ripple effect of the impacts (behavioural) relate to performance. The question is more; how or what ways can these stories be shared that demonstrates and evidences the validity of practice for the individual coach?
6. A lack of consensus building of what is Coaching
Coaching is neither a legally regulated nor a controlled term that is bequeathed to a profession; hence the continual confusion of what any coach actually does in the marketplace. For example from the professional services coaching assignments have been used to outplace leaders and they have been used to help obliquely the ‘unhappy/high potential' few who stay and/or promoted to cope with all the burden and pressure that falls on their shoulder as ‘high potential coaching/middle management coaching/leadership coaching/C-suite coaching' to deliver results. Coaching can thus be packaged as a form of developing potential as managers' move into a more senior position that typically is the merging of a number of positions, and becoming an acceptable part of the Learning & Development portfolio that is increasingly observed to becoming more popular in large organisations to have senior management sponsorship.
The way ahead: Contradictions exist in how full human potential can be reached and in what condition. Let’s clarify what are the purposes of coaching and what outcomes can be expected that lets the public and clients know that they can trust a coaching professional. From there, perhaps then we can start building a definition for coaching.
7. A scarcity of a body of knowledge to demonstrate and evaluate the conditions for, and impacts from, coaching
Since the International Coaching Research Forum held in Dublin 2007, according to an interview with Lew Stern
"[From the 100 topics proposed] from 2008 to 2012, more than 100 studies total in more than 80 journals where they were published. In those peer-reviewed journals, there were only basically 100 studies in five years having to do with what goes on in coaching, and a little over 40 about outcomes and not quite 30 about coaching in organizations. There were about 20 articles about coaching versus other helping practices and how they differ."
Where does knowledge come from in a new field like coaching? From the coaches themselves. The experiences of how practitioners create and sustain themselves in their market, and how they create the conditions for coaching is the first place for researchers to investigate (perhaps even using participant observation as an approach), and then understand more of how the bricolage of tools (coach training) are being applied in the various situations and contexts. Perhaps as coaches, and through our professional life, we're too used to the notion of the expert having all the answers and have less confidence in ourselves. A delicate balance obviously has to be drawn between being confident and overconfident (guru like) and really consider and understand how what we do intuitively can be explored and grounded in more details and facts.
The way ahead: Understanding the cause and effect of coaching is not a perfect science. However, it shouldn't stop us to apply the approaches more to understand more of how we do what we do and at the same time continually increase our self-awareness.
8. Understanding how coaching is brokered
Winning organisational contracts typically requires independent executive coaches to work with a number of different associations – coaching consultancies through to management consultants (small, medium and large). It's even less clear what opportunities are available for independent contractors working directly with SMEs, and even MNCs, compared to solopreneurs/freelancers.
And this leads to an important question, in order to safeguard the field, what type of coaching contracts/agreements alongside the selection process (similar qualifications, accreditation, assessment centres, interviews) are being used? What is becoming more noticeable though is a move towards seeking more centralised control in the use of external coaches, rather than senior people going directly to their own preferred individual coach (although this still happens at the top)!
The way ahead: Understanding the various ways and approaches for coaching contracts could lead to a best practice guidelines for all parties involved (that can also be appropriately underwritten).
9. Coaching supervision needs to move towards fitness to practice focusing on professional development, of which personal development is an essential part of a coach's development. Perhaps CPPD is better placed to encourage fitness to practice.
Coaching supervision, like coaching, lacks any formal definition, and most training programs/academic courses adapt frameworks from other therapeutic backgrounds to focus on developing the mental (including emotional) health of the individual. Borrowing from academia, a supervisor is typically an individual (lecturer/professor) who is a specialist within a particular discipline (single/cross) whose role is to guide and set the standards for students to carry out their research and then present their results to the best advantage. Then the question we as coaches need to ask "What type of supervision is required for healthy individuals that coaches should be working with that meets, at a minimum, fitness to practice professionally?"
While supervision is working on defining what this should be; a more practical and useful approach is to take advantage of something like ‘Continuing Personal and Professional Development' (CPPD) where a small group of peers, (minimum 3 up to 5 people) come together and use the coaching approach to creating a learning environment where they can talk about the challenges of coaching, for starters:
From building a practice through to unique challenges that arise in coaching and find alternative (and most likely trial and tested) ways to manage it
Share personal developmental stories that have helped them nudge forward their practice overall,
Trial new approaches/technology and understand its strengths and limitations,
Compare one's practice and approach and learn from others, where appropriate,
Discuss ethical issues and dilemmas,
Challenge definitions and understanding what the real boundaries in coaching are.
The way ahead: Create a learning environment for continuing personal and professional development amongst a small group of peers, and share some of the themes and stories with the broader community to also learn from. This way we are building towards and contributing to the practitioner field of knowledge together.
As stated right at the start to keep nudging the field forward we each need to individually share case studies of our professional practice and stories of our personal development. It is only through these important contributions can we really broaden and deepen our understanding of how we are giving personal attention through coaching that helps with raising a human’s potential. How do we continually create the engagement?
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?- Write your comments with us in the comment box
Share your thoughts with us and let us know what else should be added to this list - Quickly list 1, 2 or even 3 points in the comments below what should also be covered
What would you like to say or contribute towards raising the standard of coaching? - Share your experiences with the broader community through a blog. Click here to find out more.
*I'd like to thank the following practitioners around the world for sharing their thoughts, experiences and opinions with me. Martina Weinberger, Aubrey Rebello, Laurent Terseur, Eamon O'Brien, Lynne Hindmarch, Nicholas Wai, Jeremy Ridge, Sue Young, Doug Montgomery to name just a few. Any mistakes in this blog are all mine.
References (incl. the good coach blogs)
 Ridler & Co (2014) Case Study: The Development of Internal coaching in the Big Four Accounting Firms, p 17
 Ridler & Co (2014) Case Study: The Development of Internal coaching in the Big Four Accounting Firms (pg 14)
 Lew Stern Interview: Research on Professional Coaching (http://libraryofprofessionalcoaching.com/wp-app/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Lew-Stern-Inteview.pdf)
*Calculations for Ratio of coaching to active working population
World Employment Social Outlook Trends 2015 (International Labour Organization)
Working Population: ~3000 million
Active Working Population: 2800 million
Target coaching population: 1540 million (~55% excl. Low skilled occupations and non routine manual jobs)
Assume 100,000 coaches (Doubling numbers from ICF 2012 Global Coaching Study)
Ratio: 1:15,400 or 0.00006% engaged in coaching.
Let’s start our discussion …. about the opportunities, and benefits, of a more ‘open’ approach to coaching; rather than just the simple –‘set piece’ model for coaching! Much of the thinking about coaching still even expects it to be behind closed doors – literally.… Is that really necessary?
Can we not just do it in the moment, whenever and wherever the opportunity arises?
First … the story of my introduction to coaching: Coaching began for me when someone said to me ... 'Did you know that what you do is now called coaching? '
I had three responses to this ….
My first response was ... 'No problem ... I have been calling it whatever my client wants to call it …’
But it doesn't change what I do. Especially as It is always important to speak the language the other person uses ... And I have always been using all sorts of terms that describes what I do.
Now, this was in the early days of emerging 'professional bodies' - all setting out to lay claim to the territory… Like it was all new. At these times most of these bodies just had to say - ‘Send us a small sum of money and you are suddenly a member of a new - self appointed - professional body’
So not surprisingly, my second response was then to ask – ‘What did they mean by coaching?’
The answer left me quite surprised!
I was told …. 'Coaching is where you take a person into a private, and carefully controlled space, where over a number of sessions, over a number of weeks or months, you have time with them that enables you to do coaching. '
This did leave me slightly nonplussed! It appeared that coaching was more about the careful management of the physical and time conditions for the process than what you did in the space!
My third response was to understand, why this ‘simple’ set piece model was so central to the definition:
The response I received was ... 'Yes .. but we have to make what is done seem special by going to this formal separation, and special fuss about it, in order to make more about what we do as being 'special'.
And so coaching has been all about this sort of private and controlled space; and so often still continues to be separated this way.
Sometimes a controlled space is important:
For example, I might accept this when the person may be in some state of fragility. But I also thought coaching was meant for people who were in a positive and robust state already, rather than fragile.
Because it just does not appear real, to me, anyway, that the only way you can give quality attention to someone, can only be done in such restricted space.
One of my definitions of coaching is about ….
‘Giving a quality of attention to another person ... More than what they are ever used to getting in the normal business of their lives, so that it creates an experience for them that they really value ...’
Even when you say very little... And [who] may add value by just being an opportunity, in their company, in all sorts of circumstances, for them to have space to catch up with themselves ...
How might this more open approach work in Executive Coaching?
Proper concerns for essential privacy matter …. The first thoughts that come to mind when it comes to Executive coaching are about concerns for creating the right conditions for that essential privacy – lest something is overheard and restricts freedom of expression. We may think this is especially so in the confined space of an office – especially open plan … or working with a team of people who work together ….
Getting out and about in the organisation… I have been invited by a lot of clients to get what I do out into the wider organisation, rather than hide it behind closed doors. Now how I do this has to be done carefully! ... However it then means I am often invited to roam, and meet a wide range of people, across all levels, in formal (e.g. meetings) as well as informally, just passing in the corridor, or the coffee point, even. Sometimes it’s even in a crowded bar after the work!
Team Coaching …. One of my typical jobs typically involves what is more often referred to as Team Coaching. Teams can vary widely in the ways they work and connect. Sometimes they are working in different continents, and never ever meet in the same room!
This involves a much more challenging approach to the contracting and ethics involved ... But it is all there to be done. It can also very normally involve those private conversations among those involved, as well as then being with them when they are together.
Let’s recognise when the real coaching contract starts! …. The real contract is created in that moment where someone begins to respond to the quality of attention you are offering – not just when the organisation, and or the coachee sets out the formal agenda.
Multiple relationships, and the complexities involved, happen even with a single coachee ….. Even when there is just a focus on coaching with the one person, I still cannot see how the simple model should be so limited.
Engaging with the immediate client representatives …. As soon as you engage with a single person, you are likely to have engaged already with the ' client/organisation ' through either the HR system, or through their hierarchy - their manager. And the dialogue involves them as well – even though they are often not formally up for the coaching, you are still given the opportunity to engage with them as much as anyone.
Engaging with the wider stakeholders in a person’s role in the organisation … People they have contact with as part of their everyday job … Similarly, in any coaching agenda, it involves other stakeholders directly in the conversation, or indirectly - as the coaches strives to make personal sense of themselves in the world they are in - including even their own wider world.
Sometimes this engagement with the wider stakeholders is very formally organised … For example, use of 360 feedback processes (i.e. a structured approach to gaining feedback for the coachee from people they work with … ) is one important route to stimulating coaching dialogues; and is increasingly popular. This process can also immediately connect you directly with often a dozen or more of their colleagues; where you talk to them about their feedback to help make sense of it, and consider how best to present it.
In conclusion … I am suggesting that we may have more opportunities to use our coaching than we might realise. It can be at any time, with any person.
This doesn’t mean every time with every person – because there is still something about having the right conditions in place! That’s another topic!
I believe this sort of wider view already makes sense to a lot of people I meet and work with in the field. Does it make sense to you!?
This could be important as it really opens up much wider scope for the way we can use opportunities for coaching than in just that restricted space.
We can accept there will always be a place for the simple model of coaching. But can we also begin to appreciate the need to think more widely - the more ‘open’ model for how coaching can contribute
To connect with Jeremy Ridge, go to https://uk.linkedin.com/in/jeremyjohnridge