December 2018 Coaching Report

December 2018 Coaching Report

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December 2018 Coaching Report
December 2018 Coaching Report

Who do YOU choose to be?

As we approach the close of another tumultuous year - with devastating fires, floods, school shootings, political drama, re-emergent cold wars, economic gyrations — it feels fitting to step back for a moment, breathe, and perhaps reflect on a question for our times: who do you choose to be as a coach, as a human being, in these volatile times? I'm hoping that best-selling author, Margaret Wheatley, won't mind me borrowing this question from her powerful book: Who Do We Choose to Be? Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership, Restoring Sanity in A Turbulent World. 

Wheatley calls for leaders to be steadfast, trustworthy and present in these challenging times. And so too, as coaches, we need to continuously build our capacity to be fully awake — centered, compassionate, and courageous — in our work. We may not be in positions of direct leadership, but the science is clear: coaching has impact. In fact, as IOC Harnisch grant awardee Sean O'Connor's research indicates, there is a 'coaching ripple effect' whereby coaching has influence, not just on the client but on the whole system in which it is embedded. 

Recently, I collaborated with Senior Instructor, and Lead Executive Coach at ESMT, Andreas Bernhardt (see this month's featured CoachX), on a workshop to help coaches elevate their impact in high stakes situations in the C-suite. Reflecting on how we show up as coaches, Andreas and I identified three 'P's of coaching agility: Presence, Perspective, and Persona. We asked the attendees to reflect on the following: 

  1. Presence: What is your physical, emotional, and mental state as you enter the coaching space? Are you self-reflective, grounded, centered, and ready to listen? Do you trust the process? Trust the client? Trust yourself? Are you focused on having the answer or planning moves? How do you integrate mindfulness practices into your work? 
  2. Perspective: Are you aware of your own biases or personal agendas as you coach?Are you aware of how your training as a coach, consultant, psychologist, or business person may influence your listening? Are you continuously looking to expand your horizons for listening - with curiosity? Open-mindedness?
  3. Persona: Are you aware of the multiple roles you play when coaching? Are you an advisor? Healer? Teacher? Parent? Expert witness? As Tatiana Bachirova demonstrates in her research, we all have multiple mini-selves that emerge in the coaching dynamic. We (and our clients) are much more than a singular self. The key to success: become aware of the multiple roles you play — and more conscious in choosing who to be, and when.

I hope the questions above inspire you to reflect on your practice as this year winds down. For a deeper evidence-based dive into the topic of presence, our Research You Need to Know this month includes Roger Noon's dynamic, relational C2 Model, from his work on Presence in Executive Coaching Conversations. Our book selection this month, Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness and Humanity, by Ronald Epstein, M.D. borrows from another helping profession — where the choice of how to be can have life and death consequences. Dr. Epstein's reflections on how physicians' attend to their patients is beautifully analogous to how we aspire to be present with our coaching clients. 

Finally, please join us to hear from one of the most important voices on leadership and coaching of our time: Margaret Wheatley. Meg will present a webinar for the IOC on December 11th, and she will surely remind us that in times like these, "we are all called to step forward, hold our ground, and support the human spirit." 

Season's Greetings,


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