Mastery of Techniques and Strategies
When appraising themselves as coaches, those who are oriented toward personal coaching are significantly more likely than organizationally-oriented coaches to see themselves as having mastered the techniques and strategies involved in the practice of coaching, whereas organizationally-oriented coaches are significantly more likely than personally-oriented coaches to indicate that they are effective in stimulating client insight and (at a marginally significant level) to provide precision, subtlety and finesse in their work.
At one level, these two sets of results seem to be contradictory: personal coaches have mastered the techniques and strategies of coaching, while organizational coaches perceived themselves as inducting more insights in their clients and operating with more “subtle” expertise as a coach. This seeming contradiction might have to do with differences we noted in one of our previous studies between “fast thinking” and “slow thinking” (Kahneman, 2011). The personal coaches might be “better trained” in the use of specific coaching techniques and strategies that can be readily applied (“fast thinking”) in their work with clients. Conversely, organizational coaches might be “more experienced” as coaches and/or might have to work with a much greater diversity of clients and address much more complex client problems, hence have to be more nuanced (“slow thinking”) in their work. We will look for more evidence of these potential causative factors in the responses of personal and organizational coaches to the remaining set of questions.
The statistical analysis of differences between personal and organizational coaches on this specific question yielded the most significant results yet obtained in our seven studies. At the .001 level of significant (a t-score of 5.70) the personal coaches are more likely than organizational coaches to perceive a danger of losing control of a coaching conversation with their client. While neither the personal nor organizational coaches admit to frequent occurrence of this fear, the level of concern among personal coaches is quite a bit higher than it is among organizational coaches.