The Bridge: Collaborative Coaching Inquiry
What about the intermediate influence that occurs throughout interaction with colleagues? Is it valuable to blend the “hard” and “soft” learning that occurs when we turn to peers for dialogue and shared insight? We concluded our first report by addressing a theme that 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 added a further recommendation to this proposal in the second report: “this culture should move coaching beyond isolation and autonomy. It should move the field to a culture of collaboration, in which thoughtful dialogue occurs as a blending of soft and hard learning. This collaborative dialogue should be founded in Kahneman’s slow thinking. It should be accompanied by evidence-based information, reflective practice and a desire to advance the inter-discipline of professional coaching through critical inquiry.” Results from this third report seem to reinforce both themes.
The role to be played by collaborative dialogue might be particularly important if we take into account the rather disturbing finding in this third report regarding the environment in which professional coaches work. In a work environment that might be challenging for us as coaches, we must engage in collaborative dialogue regarding how to live in this environment (if it is where our clients work) and how to improve this environment (if it is our own home base).
In a profession that values direct experience and the rich learning to be gained from active engagement in the practice of coaching, it is particularly important that we find ways to collectively reflect on what we have learned and how to apply what we have learned to our own ongoing personal and professional development. Hopefully, this set of reports, reporting on results from the Development of Coaches surveys, is contributing in a small way to building such a culture and opening the doors to further collaborative dialogue.
Does Gender Make A Difference?
Results regarding gender differences from the two Development of Coaches surveys seem to be compatible with a growing body of literature in many fields that suggest gender-based differences are becoming less important in modern Western societies. Sometime the lack of differences is ascribed to reduction in gender discrimination and at other times to the effects of “women’s liberation” and the emergence of “feminist theory” during the second half of the 20th Century in most Western countries. At the very least, a distinction has been made with increasing frequency between biological sex and gender as a role. In recent years, terms such as the “social construction of gender” and “gender fluidity” have moved us even further into the realm of blended gender-based identities.