Coaches Get Real

Coaches Get Real

Apologies for the month’s gap since my last blog. I’ve spent most of that time travelling, including a visit to Stockholm to deliver a presentation to the Swedish branch of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC).

The talk was entitled ‘The Joy and Heartache of Coaching Senior Leadership Teams’, reflecting the highs and lows that coaches often experience when working with the most senior leaders in organisations. Big egos, strong personalities, entrenched opinions and politics can present seemingly insurmountable obstacles at times. At other times the challenging and unpredictable nature of this work can be exhilarating and fun.

The major focus of the presentation was on the different ways coaches can approach this challenge. I distinguished between two basic styles of coaching, what I call ‘real’ and ‘safe’ coaching. A few examples of the contrast between real and safe coaching are in the table below:

Real Coaching Safe Coaching
Give honest feedback Say what you think wants to be heard
Balance questions and feedback Ask too many questions
Work on the ‘real’ agenda Work with the coachee’s agenda
Are not afraid of making mistakes Avoid making mistakes
Keep it professional Want to be the coachees’ friend

I just wanted to give you a flavour of my thinking on coaching and how I believe the motives of coaches drive their style, particularly under the pressure of working with top leaders and their teams. I’ll be writing this stuff as an article and will let you know when it’s available.

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