I always have conversations with people about coaching and facilitation, leadership development, and the world that I inhabit. And it’s pretty much been the way it has been for 20 years. It’s got a pretty well-trodden model around getting a brief and working with clients and helping them move their thinking. But, I think we need to shift. I think we need to change, and I’ve been bubbling away thinking about, what’s the future of all this and where it’s going to go?
The Individual Level
What became clear to me is that in the last period of time, we have spent a lot of time in coaching focused on the individuals. When we focus on getting individuals at their best, we worry about their psychology, and that’s a classic thing of how do you change someone’s thinking to change their behaviour? A lot of the focus of coaching has been on changing people’s behaviour. We look at their psychology, and we look at their biology. What are they doing with their body and their health and their mindfulness and their resilience and all that balance, and all that world that’s become really massive in the last five or ten years?
I think about what I really care about, and why do people really employ a coach? And most of the time, they employ a coach for more than that. They realise that actually that individual sits within a broader system, and the challenge that the individual’s got is not their own biology and psychology. Well, it could be their own biology and psychology. But that’s a relational challenge in relation to a task they’re trying to accomplish within the system. And the system means that they’re having trouble with one of their team members. They’re having trouble integrating across geography. They’re having trouble partnering on the outside of their organisation.
The System Level
So, we move from the internal to the external, and we hope the person saw their challenge within the broader system. So many people get called in because they think, “That person’s got a problem, performance problem. You need to coach them individually.” But when you diagnose it, it’s actually because the system is treating them a certain way, and we have to help them work differently within the system. This all sits within where I think is the future with coaching – the individual and the system are all integrated together.
The Organisational Level
We also need to be able to lift up the organisational level and be able to say, “What is the much bigger picture about how this organisation fits within the world, fits within society, and fits within community?” So, if we as coaches can help you, we can help you with three levels:
- We should be able to help you get the most from yourself.
- We then should be able to help you or your team work better within the system that you currently operate in
- and see how that system is either working for you or not working for you. And team coaching is a really good example of how that works.
How’s this apply to you?
But even more than that, we should ask you the broader questions of the commission that your organisation has from the world, and what it needs to deliver to it. Ask yourself the question, where is your coach working with you, and where do you need that coach to work with you so that you can get what you need? And if the answer is, “I kind of need more than I’m getting,” or “I want to work on something different,” I’m only an option. And if you think that option might work for you, please get in touch for a conversation.
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I hope it’s been useful to you. This is about the future of coaching. Talk to you soon on The Reason and The Road.