The Bridge: Collaborative Coaching Inquiry
I concluded the first report by turning to one item that yielded relatively low mean scores and high variance: “How much precision, subtlety and finesse have you attained in your coaching work?” This is an item that might be very hard for any of us to answer. The same might be the case regarding one’s own confidence as a guide for other coaches: “who am I to tell anyone how to be an effective coach?” It might be particularly challenging to be a guide if professional coaching is indeed an art form requiring precision, subtlety and finesse. At the very least, the challenge of developing oneself continually as a coach with precision, subtlety and finesse involves collaboration and dialogue.
As Francine Campone noted in her request for participation in the first Survey, the field of coaching should build a culture of research and evidence. I would add a further recommendation to this proposal: this culture should move coaching beyond isolation and autonomy. It should move the field to a culture of collaboration, in which thoughtful dialogue is accompanied by evidence-based information, reflective practice and a desire to advance the inter-discipline of professional coaching through critical inquiry. Hopefully, this set of reports on results from the Development of Coaches surveys, is contributing in a small way to building such a culture.
Influence and Learning
As I found when reporting on results in our first two studies, there is often a high level of concurrence in the means scores for the two studies. Not only are the mean scores quite similar, the rank order of means for all three studies are similar. Even the variance scores are similar regarding both amount of variance in responses to a specific item and the rank order of the variance scores for each item.
Some of the most startling findings in this third study are generated by results from two questions. These findings concern the often-negative responses and wide divergence in responses to items in both questions regarding the workplace conditions in which coaches work. While many of the survey respondents are quite positive about their work environment, other respondents to both questions are not very positive in their rating of the influence which workplace conditions have on their ongoing and current development as coaches. In some cases, the respondents actually rate the influence as quite negative.