Coach as a Change Catalyst
Increasingly, the issues and the challenges that the individual, organisations and the society as a whole are in global scope. Geo-political instability, economic down turn and recession, technological advances and phase of change, war and terrorism, cross-cultural diversity, ecological changes, social media and the whistle blowing is redefining the context that a coach and a client operate. In my view, coach as a catalyst of change has to grind their nose to change and transform them in to higher order of consciousness in dealing with clients from such context.
While appreciating all other organisational development and human resource development interventions, let me draw your attention to coaching. Referring to the world’s one of the biggest professional body of coaching, the International Coach Federation’s definition, “ Coaching is partnering with individuals in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential”. In other words, coach connects with the client, build trust and facilitate the client’s positive thinking to come out from his/her dilemma and move towards the desired results. Thus, it’s a personal and professional responsibility for a coach to develop him/her self towards a mastery level (George Leonard).
Stages of Development and Coach
While developing the coaching skills and competencies, one must transform themselves to a mastery level in what they do. George Leonard, in his book Mastery describe the transformation process, and he explains that growth happens in steps, and a break through happens after a plateau, where an individual learn though continuous practice. This is a fact for a coach too, that is why professional coaches need to practice recommended number of hours of coaching to get accredited as a master coach. So, my suggestion for new coaches is that you’re diligent, patient, persistent and playful practice advances you to your desired outcome.
Consciousness as the Core
Thich Nath Hahn said, “Mindfulness must be engaged. Once there is seen, there must be acting. Otherwise what is the use of seen?” Current dilemmas, challenges and issues faced by the individuals or the organization demanding a higher level of consciousness from the coach and the client. Thus, I urge you coaches, to be more vigilant and act fast to gain the required level of awareness and wisdom. “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” I’m sure you agree that the above Albert Einstein’s quote is ideal for the current context that we operate. Therefore the coaches’ level of consciousness about his or her thinking and feelings or cognitive state are important as the behavioral skills or individual external skills as a coach.
What is Transformation for a Coach?
Robert Kegan is perhaps the most noted authority in the stages of development research. His Stages of Development framework and the numbering goes as (0-2)Egocentric,(3)Reactive Self,(4)Creative self,(5)Integral Self,(6)Unitive Self.
Ego, a shadow character that comes in to play when a coach coaching could be unstoppable, but the level of awareness and internal control would make the coaching impactful and real. Coach as an adult should shed ego, which is primarily focuses on the self and not the needs of the others or the client. Furthermore, coaches could not act as, “My way or highway”.
Some of us coaches may have developed ourselves to the stage Kegan state as “(3) reactive stage” In the development adolescent to a well-functioning effective citizen, a new structure of self could be articulated as “I am in my role” or “socially acceptable role”, I’m defined from the outside in”. I’m responding to the external factors in an overly ambitious way, become more defensive and fear gets n the way. My suggestion for coaches our consciousness here to spot reactive nature and focus on helping your client.
Coach as a Creative Self
Major transition in adult life happens when an individual achieve creative stage of development. From this point onward and individual shed reactive nature and move forward with self-expression and corporation. This stage of development of self and above as Kegan mentioned would be ideal for a coach to play an impactful role and expect the clients to come out with realizations, their own interpretations and aha moments. A coach developed himself towards a spiritual level will create very powerful unbiased dialogue with the client or clients in a group to by creating a platform ware each client to see themselves and their worth towards bring in solution.
Coach should be Coachable
In conclusion, you may have noticing that coach is also in stages of development and they need to continue to develop themselves to achieve Mastery levels.
Article By, Jayantha Fernando, Executive Coach – PCC, ICF