Coaching Vertically

5 min read

As coaches, we are our most important instrument. Our own experiences and perspectives can’t help but shape how we see, understand, and approach our clients and their situations. For this reason, awareness of and ability to work with our own sense-making informs our coaching assessments, lines of inquiry, and capacity for empathy.

I became fiercely aware of this several years ago when I worked with a coach around career issues of my own. I shared with my coach how I found parenting to be one of the most profoundly significant experiences in my adult life.

My coach responded to this reflection by asking questions about how I might explore work in the child care field given my enthusiasm for child-rearing. I was taken back by this line of inquiry.

Parenting was so much more to me than child rearing and kid care. How could my coach not have seen that? What did he hear in what I said that provided a view of parenting so different from what was true for me? I felt unseen and misjudged by his response as parenting, for me, went far beyond the mechanics of child rearing.

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  1. Rey Carr

    March 18, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    This article seems like it could be four articles. I say that because I’m not sure how the four parts fit together. First, there’s the importance of a coach being self-aware. Then, there’s a great story about a possible mismatch between the coach’s understanding and the client’s passion. But is the story over? I think I wanted to learn more.

    Next, there are the parts about an assessment instrument. This might tie in with the first part, but there’s no lead in as to why this particular instrument is of greater value than others. I was left with the feeling of being in a sales meeting about this instrument. On the other hand, I did learn about an instrument I didn’t know about and how it could be used. This was definitely a benefit.


  2. Jan Rybeck

    April 7, 2016 at 11:56 am

    this is indeed just one part of a 4 part series on vertical development and coaching. its the dessert to the meal, the other 3 come before it so i suggest starting with Case for Maturity to understanding the framework and the Map and Territory, the second article to learn even more.
    there are actually several instruments that track with vertical development frameworks, they are mentioned at the end of the Coaching Vertically article. And thank you for your comment, it highlights to need to present these in sequence :)
    happy to discuss more if you are interested..


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