The Bridge: Subtle Coaching
We conclude this initial analysis by turning to one other item (from question two) that yielded relatively low mean scores and high variance: “How much precision, subtlety and finesse have you attained in your coaching work?” This is another of the items that might be very hard for any of us to answer. It is perhaps ironic that the answer any of us might give regarding the precision, subtlety and finesse required to be an effective coach will itself have to be precise, subtle and finessed. It would be hard to measure our own competence by clicking on a bullet point. Our answer might vary from one client to another, or even from one specific coaching episode to another. This is perhaps what makes effective coaching more of an art form than a scientific formula.
I would suggest that the finesse, subtlety and precision needed to be an effective coach requires a bridging between fast and slow thinking — and a mastery of both the tactics and strategies of coaching, based on a strong foundation of coaching theory. All of this alongside the competencies that most of our respondents considered important: authenticity and empathy. Quite an itinerary for our successful journey as professional coaches!
Autonomy and Support
As in the case of results from the first study, results from our analysis of the first and third survey questions strongly suggest that those coaches who completed this survey are filled with optimism and a positive attitude about their work as coaches. The most surprising result might be the occasional respondent to these two questions who identified anything at all as a recurring coaching problem. Is this a case of remarkable candor on the part of a few coaches? Or does it repeatedly demonstrate that coaches (or at least those completing this survey) feel quite confident about their own work as coaches?
At the very least, high mean and low variance scores are hard to dismiss as nothing more than social desirability or acquiescence. There is something quite “real” about the positive attitudes manifest in these surveys. Would we find a similar positive attitude among those working in other human service professions? We will be able to provide a partial answer to this question during Phase Four of this project, when hopefully we can compare results from these surveys with those reported by David Orlinksi and his colleagues in their study of clinical psychologists.