Home Applications Personal & Life Coaching Ten Trends in Personal/Life Coaching

Ten Trends in Personal/Life Coaching

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Coaching and Leadership

As Bob Dylan (1979) reminds us, “Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord/ But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” But it is also true that, sooner or later, you’re gonna have to lead somebody.  We generally think of leadership within a work or corporate setting. We look at formal positions of authority within the work setting. But leadership extends far beyond those role-limited boundaries. You are called to lead throughout your life: in your intimate relationships, in your family, in your community, at your church, temple or mosque–or sometimes just walking down the street. Circumstances can come up at any time that can call you into leadership.

There are several styles that any leadership can take, and as many categorical systems to describe those styles as the mind can devise. (Blanchard and Johnson, 2012). Let’s keep it simple. You can lead from authority, in a top down fashion. You can lead by participation, working closely, or even side-by-side with those you lead. Or you can lead by giving the authority over to those you are in charge of, with minimum guidance. All these are effective, but in differing circumstances. In a fire everyone needs a leader with clear authority. In many working teams people want a leader who is there with them and who inspires them through the leader’s actions and vision. With a highly functioning group sometimes all the leader has to do is point the group in a direction and they will do the rest.

Dwight Eisenhower (1954) said, “By leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Leaders inspire, whether through fear, through respect, through vision, or usually a combination of all three. To be able to lead in all aspects of your life you need a clear idea of who you are, what you believe, and what you want from others. Personal and life coaching provides a relationship in which all these areas of your life can be discovered and explored.

Personal life coaching gives clients a values-based foundation from which they can lead, both in work and in non-work related situations. This style of coaching focuses on discovering what each client’s unique personal values are, and how they can be expressed throughout the client’s life. Personal coaching seeks to establish an authentic, distinctive, values-oriented base of operations from which clients can make decisions, and from which the client can inspire others to join them in their projects. Leadership-oriented questions that personal coaches are increasingly asking are: “What is your job this lifetime?” “What difference are you going to make in the world, in your community, in your family, and in your relationships?” “Why were you placed on this Earth in this lifetime?” “Who are you meant to lead?” and “Who are you meant to serve?” In the future this focus on leadership which has been so exclusively oriented towards issues relating to leading at work needs to widen its focus. The question needs to become, “How can you lead in all aspects of your life?” (Kimsey-House and Skibbins, 2013).

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One Comment

  1. Rey Carr

    June 9, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Something about this article left me thinking that I missed the connection between coaching and any of the 10 items mentioned. For example, all the three points that neurobiology is allegedly responsible for in contributing to knowledge of human behaviour (and changing behaviour) were clearly known prior to the advent of the current craze to quote brain research. I don’t think that neurobiology has contributed at all to improving the coaching relationship. And as if to strengthen my point, the authors give no examples or evidence of how coaches have actually used these principles to make a difference in their interactions with clients.

    The same holds true for the nine other trends mentioned. Cognitive psychology (via Jerome Bruner and others) as well as solution-focused work and the work of William Glasser and Albert Ellis and countless others are all cognitive approaches that turned traditional psychotherapy on its head and dumped it from working with dysfunctional individuals.

    I wish the authors had provided more direct evidence of the way in which these trends have actually influenced the work of coaches.


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