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Coaching for The Greater Good

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We conclude with two written essays. Both address broad societal issues that can be addressed by coaches and their clients. One of these was originally published in IJCO and recently revised by one of the editors [RF]. The other was co-authored by Vicki Foley and one of the editors [WB] and published several years ago in LPC.

Renee Freedman: From Conflict to Collaboration:  Creating Cultural Change Amidst Polarization

When the greater good is thought about, usually its in relation to solving social issues or improving the conditions and opportunities for marginalized populations.  Yet, there are other situations that also fall into the context of greater good. One of them, the ability to heal long term conflict between groups, is the focus of this article. When two oppositional groups must work together an environment composed of distrust, contention, and polarization is created. Changing the quality and dynamics of such a relationship requires building new skills, constructing venues for problem solving, and allowing for a different understanding of one another. This article describes an integrated process of learning, coaching, and facilitation that was implemented over four years in order to transform a highly contentious relationship between a company’s union leadership and its operational management teams into a collaborative, productive partnership.

Vicki Foley and William Bergquist: The Organizational Underground: Organizational Coaching and Organization Development Outside the Formal Organization

Throughout the Western world, we are now living in a time of turmoil and economic uncertainty, even chaos. Many contemporary economists and political analysts speak and write about a world that is in a state of “super-criticality” – a state in which minor aberrations in the economic or political system bring about major alternations (and even collapse) of the global marketplace. While the challenges imposed by this state of super-criticality has many profound implications at the macro level, there are also profound implications at the micro-level with regard to the lives lived in “desperation” by men and women who have lost their job or at the very least have given up hope of realizing lifelong dreams. They are living in the organizational underground, a world populated by the unemployed and underemployed. Foley and Bergquist propose that organizational coaches have an extraordinary opportunity—perhaps even an ethical obligation—to begin doing work in this organizational underground.

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We hope that you find what we’ve assembled to be of value. Take your time and savor our written and recorded documents. We hope that this issue provides some guidance and motivation for you as a coach who is dedicated to the greater good.

Renee Friedman, Guest Editor

William Bergquist, Editor

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