Home Concepts Strategy Future of Coaching We’ve Lost Our Way AND Our Soul in the Process

We’ve Lost Our Way AND Our Soul in the Process

11 min read

Either our competencies and the philosophy of coaching mean something across the board or it’s as meaningless as all the ‘these are our values’ placards I’ve seen in companies that don’t live by them.

Lack of full partnership will be demonstrated if the coach exhibits an interest in the coach’s view of the situation rather than the client’s view of the situation, does not seek information from the client about the client’s thinking around the situation, does not seek information about the client’s goals regarding the situation, or any attention seems to be on the coach’s own performance or demonstration of knowledge about the topic. In addition, the evaluation will be negatively impacted if the coach does not invite the client to share his/her thinking on an equal level with the coach and/or chooses the direction and tools in the session without significant input from the client.

Bottom line…you can’t have one code for the members of the organization and another for the leaders and how the organization functions and pretend any level of congruence. As for me…we’ve lost our way and a magnificent grand adventure is gone. We’re now looking at the detritus of what we have wrought. Anyone anywhere can label themselves a coach, thereby either polluting the environment with untrained behavior (“I’m a tarot coach”) or confusing the marketplace by diluting the brand.

Perhaps we brought this all on ourselves when we started by co-opting someone else’s word for what we do…coach. It had different meanings before and still does, hence the question that is still out there “What sport?” The word comes with baggage because the association with existing definitions creates preconditioned expectations. We’ve spent a lot of time and effort by the membership trying to clear up muddy waters. Waters that were inadvertently muddied by us stepping into the stream with the dirt from other professions on our shoes.

Here’s the reminder of what we’re allegedly about:

ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:
Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
Encourage client self-discovery
Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
Hold the client responsible and accountable
This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.

I haven’t counted how many times the words discover, explore and create are in our literature but I’m betting the number of times the word ‘imitate’ is 0.

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