Home Concepts Best Practices Coaching in Organizations: A Status Report (Past, Present and Future)

Coaching in Organizations: A Status Report (Past, Present and Future)

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If the issues being faced by coaching clients are less likely to be puzzles and more likely to be problems or mysteries, then work will become even more challenging for coaches like Rachel. Successful coaching is likely itself to be more of a mystery or at least a problematic enterprise. On the one hand, coaches are more likely to be valued—for we all would like some assistance when addressing a problem or mystery. On the other hand, it will be that much harder to determine the success of coaching enterprises—precisely at a point when economic hard times necessitates a careful and convincing assessment of coaching outcomes.

We are likely to find more “soft” coaching that focuses on decision-making processes, personal values and even one’s spiritual core given the prominence of organizational problems and mysteries. The “hard” coaching that focuses on personal performance becomes less relevant, for this type of coaching primarily addresses issues that can be framed (appropriately) as organizational puzzles (for example, how does my client provide her subordinate with constructive feedback or how does my client increase active participation in an upcoming meeting?) Soft coaching is more appropriate, because contemporary organizational leaders are more often faced with difficult problems and mysteries than with puzzles. Soft coaching, however, is harder to measure than hard coaching and accountability is more difficult to assign. All of this exists in a world that is requesting more measurement and accountability. Quite a set of dilemmas!

Welcome to the Technological World of Virtuality and Simulation

As seems to have always been the case, when humankind has met a new and daunting challenge, a new technology has been discovered or invented to successfully address this challenge. Perhaps we can point to an era of widespread glaciations and the use of fire by our Pleistocene forebears as an early example of new-technology-matching-a-major-challenge. In our own era, we can point to the new digital technologies for partial answers to the challenges of complexity, unpredictability and turbulence. Computer-based technologies, often centered on the use of the Internet and other nonhierarchical communication structures, have made the challenges of postmodernism seem less daunting and more controllable. Here enters the professional coach and here enters the prospects of new forms of coaching.

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