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Coaching for The Greater Good

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Early in the evolution of professional coaching, most coaching engagements were focused on creating effective and efficient teams or helping people live a happy purposeful life. However, added to that mix now is a large population of coaching practices that focus on supporting people to make an impact in the world. We suggest that the primary motivation driving this direct engagement is what one of us as identified as Role One Generativity (Bergquist and Quehl, 2017). This is caring deeply about the greater good by providing direct support to those wishing to impact the world in a positive manner.

There are many ways coaches provide these direct Generativity One services. They might coach social activists, CEOs who aim to disrupt a specific industry, social entrepreneurs using their businesses to solve social or economic challenges, executive directors of non-profits attempting to serve a marginalized population, or by transforming the consciousness and capacities of teams who play too small.

There is also the opportunity in the field of coaching to mentor other coaches who aspire to coach toward the greater good. These are often dedicated women and men who are often just beginning their career as professional coaches. Those who are providing this second order coaching are motivated by Role Two Generativity. By coaching the coaches, the orientation toward coaching the greater good is spread even further.

A third type of generativity is to be found among the seasoned coaches who not only promote coaching to the greater good, but also help to document how this coaching orientation can best translate into effective practices. Motivated by this Role Three Generativity, coaches are further broadening the spread of knowledge about skillful coaching practices. In the words of George Vaillant, they are becoming “guardians” of these practices.

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