Coaching Vertically

5 min read

The coach, operating from an Expert mindset had focused on the skill and tasks needed to succeed as a parent. He was encouraging me, as with strengths- based coaching, to build on what I am good at. Nothing wrong with that – except that it missed what was really going on for me. I had a deep, not fully recognized, desire to contribute to something much bigger than myself that channeled the same level of passion and commitment that came through in my parenting. He missed that entirely in his view of me.

Parenting to me was (and still is) a form of spiritual practice that I dearly wanted to continue in some way after the car- pooling stage of my life was complete. It was almost painful not to be seen for this and to instead be seen only from the coach’s worldview. This feeling though invisible to my coach during our interaction, led to a breakdown in trust and credibility between us.

Coaches also risk “over-coaching” with their clients. It is easy to assume a client is at a later stage of development and sense-making than fits with their actual stage. Coaches at the Individualist-Pluralist stage may easily embrace failure and shadow and see that both are integral to success.  client, however, may find it not only unnerving, but downright dangerous to do as the Individualist-Pluralist suggests and share their own failures and fears with their team in order to build trust.

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  1. Rey Carr

    March 18, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    This article seems like it could be four articles. I say that because I’m not sure how the four parts fit together. First, there’s the importance of a coach being self-aware. Then, there’s a great story about a possible mismatch between the coach’s understanding and the client’s passion. But is the story over? I think I wanted to learn more.

    Next, there are the parts about an assessment instrument. This might tie in with the first part, but there’s no lead in as to why this particular instrument is of greater value than others. I was left with the feeling of being in a sales meeting about this instrument. On the other hand, I did learn about an instrument I didn’t know about and how it could be used. This was definitely a benefit.


  2. Jan Rybeck

    April 7, 2016 at 11:56 am

    this is indeed just one part of a 4 part series on vertical development and coaching. its the dessert to the meal, the other 3 come before it so i suggest starting with Case for Maturity to understanding the framework and the Map and Territory, the second article to learn even more.
    there are actually several instruments that track with vertical development frameworks, they are mentioned at the end of the Coaching Vertically article. And thank you for your comment, it highlights to need to present these in sequence :)
    happy to discuss more if you are interested..


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