How Coaches Must Adapt to Move Forward

September 30, 2011 at 12:21 PM

I’ve just watched an interview with Sir John Whitmore (http://changetalks.com/home/changetalk-interview-sir-john-whitmore/)  and been rather surprised by the content.  Having been a fan of his book ‘Coaching for Performance’ which focuses on the workings of the GROW Model, (GOAL,  REALITY, OPTIONS/OPPORTUNITIES, WAY FORWARD) I was struck by what I perceived to be his ‘downplaying’ of the Model and apparent keenness to reduce its significance within the components of a successful coaching conversation.

So why is this?  Whitmore says there’s too much emphasis placed on GROW.  He calls it “simply a chronological sequence of four processes”.   Much more is needed in order to coach effectively, in particular, people skills, the ability to build relationships, and a broad knowledge of what is going on in the world.

Whitmore really emphases this last point.  Whereas in the early days of coaching it was possible to be effective without having much ‘external’ knowledge, nowadays it is vital to be aware, and bring that into the coaching process.  In the current climate, CEOs are often too focused on the short-term bottom-line with little knowledge or awareness of what is going on in their wider organisation, their sector, or industry generally.  Corporate leaders need to be much more agile to react to changing circumstances.  Coaches need to be able to address this and that means not being restrictive by applying the rules of coaching too rigidly.

The coach’s role is changing dramatically because the world is in far more serious trouble than people like to think it is.  Whitmore believes coaches can wake people up about these sleeping issues and enable them to think better and make better choices.  It’s about having the coachee become more aware of external circumstances, and being more self-aware.  Once you get that correct you can then get the coachee to take responsibility for determining their actions.  In other words, you don’t need to tell them what to do.

What else makes a good coach?  Especially one that will continue to add value and help you create your own success moving forward?  Effective business coaching is not just about asking good questions.   Nor should it be likened to sports coaching which is still largely instructive and, according to Whitmore, 30 years out of date.  Coaching is about having the skill to see the real person.  It’s about having the people skills to build a strong professional relationship where open and free conversations without fear can happen.  It’s about getting obstacles out of the way at the start – both internal and external.  It’s about exploring people’s goals to help them realise if they have, in fact, determined the correct ones for them.  And then it’s about getting them to look more deeply rather than superficially at addressing the goals that could make the world of difference to them. 

Finally, Whitmore cautions people to “choose your coach carefully”.  At Plus Partnership we would agree wholeheartedly with that piece of advice. 

 



Tags: Executive Coaching John Whitmore GROW model
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Posted by lizbuckle on
Inspiring and energising description of coaching and the role of a coach in waking the coachee to the seriousness of the changing world. Most of the people we coach are leaders. This ability to 'read' the present and see the future as it is emerging seems to be the important distinguishing feature between our most impressive and least impressive leaders and master practitioners. Therefore (as master practitioners - we hope) it is as true for us coaches as it is true for those we are coaching. Another 'hit' for John Whitmore and I shall be listening...
Posted by Lola on
Hot damn, lokoing pretty useful buddy.
Posted by Executive Coaching on
I have also watched the interview. It Inspires me a lot. Coach is vital in competitive world. Thank for sharing the links and your views.


Executive Coaching
Posted by Kaed on
I don't even know what to say, this made things so much earesi!
Posted by Kaed on
I don't even know what to say, this made things so much earesi!
Posted by Kaed on
I don't even know what to say, this made things so much earesi!
Posted by Roxy on
It's a plesruae to find someone who can identify the issues so clearly
Posted by Roxy on
It's a plesruae to find someone who can identify the issues so clearly
Posted by Roxy on
It's a plesruae to find someone who can identify the issues so clearly
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