Our coaching process is based on a series of conversations and discussions that explore:
- Goals and intentions, in order to generate focus and clarity of purpose.
- Situation and context (including the evidence to support impressions and interpretations) in order to gain a thorough understanding of and orientation to current reality.
- The broadest range of options for action, particularly those that offer developmental possibilities as well as a “solution” to the immediate problem or dilemma, in order to ensure that the most creative and innovative possibilities have been considered.
- Participants’ sense of the anticipated outcomes of taking particular courses of action (or indeed, not taking action!) in order to ground their short-term intentions in practical reality.
- Participants’ actual commitment to action in order to maintain momentum and highlight any areas of resistance to change.
We see our coaching as a partnership between coach and client/group, designed to achieve a purpose defined by the participants in the context of their work. Our coaching draws upon, reveals and enhances the participants’ resources, values and motivations and addresses them as whole people, whose experiences, needs and concerns may be interrelated in complex ways. In the same way that the coaching alliance develops over time and through several interactions, purpose may develop and evolve as new insights emerge. Coaching helps executives and teams make progress towards concrete goals, at the same time revealing the participants to themselves, as a resourceful and creative people. This theoretical orientation is broadly consistent with what is known as co-active coaching. The focus is on actively assisting the participants to develop solutions and actions that represent progress for them.
Each of our coaches adopts a contextual approach to their coaching which does not embrace a single specific coaching model. Our coaching is based on creating and maintaining change for clients using evidence-based techniques that apply the research, theory and practice from a range of approaches and disciplines. We draw on concepts such as cognitive-behavioural theory, solution-focused therapy, psychodynamic principles, constructivist adult development theory and positive psychology. Although our coaching is contextual and contingent and each of us brings the benefit of our unique style, personality and experience to our coaching their approaches share a number of theoretical similarities.
They are all:
- Humanistic and person-centered in order to create a strong coaching relationship;
- Based in action inquiry principles and processes in order to promote self-awareness, self-directed learning and change; and
- Solution focused, emphasising the development of solutions rather than in-depth diagnosis of the problem or issue, in order to focus on the here and now and the development of clear, specific and attainable goals, with simple action plans to move towards success.
These orientations provide a personalised, focused, forward-looking and efficient approach to identifying opportunities for development and change. Our coaching, therefore, balances the need for a structured, outcome driven, business focused and methodologically sound approach with the need to provide the participants with opportunities to think out loud and get specific feedback from the coach on personal and organizational development issues and on the challenges of the executive role.
Although our coaching is driven by the participants’ perception of their needs, we see the role of the coach as far from passive. Assisting the client to develop insight and the capacity to achieve professional, team and organisational goals demands a willingness to challenge assumptions that may be very deeply held. In order to achieve this, we draw on various sources of data that might confirm or contradict participants’ understanding, and present this in a way which will be useful to them in developing new insight and capability. This data may come from supporting documentation (e.g., performance reviews, 360° assessments); observation of interactions between participants in group coaching sessions; observation of behaviour, or testing of client propositions and their consistency. Rather than taking the data at face value, the purpose is always to advance the clients own understanding, open up possibilities and develop options for action that meet immediate and long-term needs.