What are your thoughts on the future of Coaching?

A Coach’s job is to sit and listen, to reflect back to the client the patterns being used in their language and to not offer any undue influence on the client’s thinking. In other words, they need to be “clean” in the Coaching process.

Do you think that in order for a Manager or CEO to progress, one must actually have direction from the Coach? Then it’s no longer a Coaching relationship.

Obviously, listening is the key skill, but what should Coaches be listening for?

Clients give us their world view and their perspective in the language they use every day. If you listen carefully, you can hear how they represent their world in context, and how their opinions form around this perspective. Using Meta Programmes from NLP, you can easily hear if someone is Towards or Away From in their motivation direction, for example.

So what do you do if you want to alter this perspective? How do you go about it?

Firstly, you make sure you listen for the right thing: meaning-making. And then you make sure you listen for the next: sense-making. From these two “things”, an accomplished Mentor can determine how complexly their client thinks, and thus gauge capabilities, not skills. This is important as skills are a snapshot of the client’s “now”, whereas capabilities are a measure of their capacity to perform, and future-oriented. They are very different approaches.

We can listen for how the client makes meaning in the world, and how they make sense of it, and thus how complexly they think. This allows us to determine what they can become capable of, rather than how they perform right now. From a Mentoring perspective, this requires guided facilitation and a level of “scaffolding” to help the client develop dynamically.

So, to my point which I have continued from my previous post: a Coach cannot listen for complexity unless the Coach is of a sufficiently-high level of complexity themselves. So any Coach who is at a lower level than their client is in effect, ineffective.

Once a Coach becomes aware of their own level of thinking complexity, and the need to Develop themselves Dynamically, they will move from Coaching to Mentoring, in my experience, in order to properly help and guide their client’s Development.