Professor Robert – Bob - Garvey is one of Europe's leading academic practitioners of coaching and mentoring and an experienced coach/mentor. A prolific writer with a number of books under his belt, one of the original founders of EMCC, the European Mentoring and Coaching Council and an exceptional researcher. He was the MBA director at Durham University, Director of the Coaching and Mentoring Research Unit at Sheffield Hallam University. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and of the Royal Society of Arts… and even more.
I was lucky to be involved in a research project „The Becoming of a Coach” together with Bob, where I had the chance to experience what is it like to work with him. (As I am writing this intro I am just realizing that we have not touched upon this joint project in the conversation. If you are interested in taking a look at it you may visit the LinkedIn page or the project on this link.)
Bob is a free thinker, a real open mind who brings a vast experience of research to the table. He is always ready play with some of the ideas, to explore and to disagree if needed – a real thinking partner in building up the project.
His openness really came through in our conversation as well and the lightness how he moved from topic to topic eased the conversation. We started off by taking a look at coaching and mentoring, then moved to take a look at his own research regarding the dimensions of contracts in the professional helping relationships. One of the highlights for me was when we discussed the coachee, a sometimes neglected (how ironic 😊) participant of the coaching research, and how their skills could play a vital role in the outcomes of the process. In most of the coaching research I have been engaged with we focused on the activity of the coach, or on the coaching relationship. But have you ever thought about the coachee? Another key point in the conversation for me was the “truth positions” of research. Approaches that do influence your research and how you engage with your topic, even if you are not aware of them consciously. Finally, we talked about the discourses regarding coaching – how the perception and framing of the coaching profession shapes our experiences on the field and in research.
Bob is a joy to talk with. Period.
I enjoyed how he moved between different levels of abstraction, citing examples here then “taking the helicopter” to provide an overview of the truth positions or about the ways how we can understand our profession. Next to all these insights he – gently – raised some strong provocative questions as well, for example about the “data everywhere” life we are experiencing or about professional organizations as well.
Let me finish this introduction with a quote from the conversation:
“There is no profession without research.”Bob Garvey
You can listen to the conversation here:
I am happy to hear your reflections and comments! Commenting is available under my LinkedIn post of this episode. Reach the post through my profile here)