Just the Person

‘Just the person’

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 understood and safe the client feels’.

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.    

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