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.