I am reading again the article ‘What is the difference and what makes the difference?’ A comparative study of psychodynamic and non-psychodynamic approaches to executive coaching – by Vega Zagier Roberts and Michael Jarrett. Among many other things, I am particularly drawn to one conclusion that the coaching relationship matters more than specific theoretical schools or methods.
To be specific, it is ‘the quality of the relationship with the client – how much the client feel understood and safe’.
It is not rocket science. It is in fact often highlighted in coaching 101. In a way, it is basic but it is not always well-practiced for 2 reasons.
Collusion – The attempt to establish an ‘understanding and safe’ relationship overshoots and results in excessive collusion with the clients which prohibits difficult awareness and change;
‘How’ instead of ‘Who’ – The ‘relationship’ aspect can be easily put aside when the coaches focus on the method or session outcome instead of the person and the relationship.
On reflection, I most probably have been rather disciplined on the 1st issue. Well, in fact, may be too much sometimes as illustrated by my previous realisation like ‘Zero collusion can be equally bad‘. This also makes me increasingly conscious of my own practice on the 2nd issue. I am now shifting my attention….. If there are only a few things staying in mind before and during a session, they are:
- NOT the methods / models….
- NOT the hypotheses / ‘games’….
- NOT the next killer question….
- NOT the PRO….
- NOT the Competing Commitment / Big Assumption….
- NOT the coaching outcome….
- NOT me….or how much I am liked….
BUT the PERSON and our working alliance
I love the analogy used by my supervisor – ‘How are you like when you are having the moment with your kids?’ I am just with them. I am just curious. I just feel them.