Given these cautionary notes, we can still pursue the implications of these relatively low mean scores and high variance scores. As mentioned previously, the challenge of coaching might be represented in part by Kahneman’s slow thinking. We begin to strategize about what we are doing and plan for the next set of steps to be taken and the nature of outcomes we are seeking to achieve. This slow thinking is frequently the primary task we are taking on with our clients. We are encouraging them (and helping them) to slow down and reflect on their values, options, assumptions, visions, plans, support systems, and so forth. Perhaps, as coaches we need to consider all these things with regard to our own work–and not just the work of our clients.
In order to do this slow thinking, do we need a strong theoretical base on which to base our reflections and reconsideration? Should we store a set of coaching strategies in our “hip pocket” that we can pull out when engaging in slow thinking? Must our tool bag of coaching techniques be full, so that we don’t have to always view our client’s challenges from the perspective of the few coaching tools and techniques that we have in our bag. In other words, do we need to be cautious about treating everything as a “nail” because all we have is a “hammer”?
As we go about inviting our clients to rethink and re-envision, must we, as coaches, also rethink and re-envision? Are the coach training programs we now offer in our field a bit too narrow in scope? Should the criteria we use to certify coaches be reconsidered? Do we need a greater emphasis on the “hard” skills and knowledge of coaching—and perhaps less of an emphasis on the “soft” skills and knowledge?
Each of these questions arises from an assumption that results from these two surveys indicate some reviews and revisions are needed. At the very least, the high variance scores indicate that the presence and value of a theoretical foundation and coaching techniques and strategies is a bit controversial right now and perhaps can be a source of valuable dialogue within the coaching profession.