Generational Differences - A Conversation with David Ringwood

The next guest of the OnCoaching Podcast is David Ringwood!

My next guest in the OnCoaching Podcast is David Ringwood! David is a well-known executive coach and assessment specialist.

Currently, he is heading Touchstone Executive Assessment, a faculty member at the prestigious IMD (International Institute for Management Development), and the former VP of Client Development at MRG to name a few things from his rich background.

I have met David at one of the research conferences of EMCC International as MRG has been a supporter of our mission to close the gap between research and practice.

He was presenting about leadership trends (if I remember correctly..) and I was immediately inspired by the wealth of data he was showing us. And the insight that came from them.

I don’t want to look "data freak" or to downplay the importance of small-scale of qualitative approaches in research, but for me, there is a certain magic in numbers and statistics.

You just have to speak their language and ask the proper questions. For me, this is one of the things David excels in.

He is very thoughtful and precise in interpreting the data and drawing conclusions from it.

This combined with his critical thinking and curiosity makes him an excellent and thought-provoking partner for any conversation.

And for this topic, I really needed such a guest as we are talking about something very important. Generational differences! Here is another confession from me: I have never been a fan of these theories. As a self-proclaimed "good psychologist" I did not really pay enough attention to this topic.

Of course, I can see that with the change in technology and for example the economic circumstances people – children – get access to different opportunities than their elders.

But with that in mind, I always put a more significant weight on the importance of family-level patterns, and individual/personality-level differences in what defines observable behaviors.

Dear reader, what is your opinion on this?

So when I got to know that David has his usual "data-backed insight" on this topic, I have decided to face my own demons and have a conversation about generations and observable differences with David.

Because he does not only speak the language of numbers, but speaks mine as well, so I was open to be changed. Besides David’s story about getting involved in coaching and research, our conversation focuses on exploring the nature of differences and the meaning of these.

We talk about the need to be informed, inclusion, predictability, and achievement orientation just to name a few specifics. One of the things that stood out for me is:

"The trends of change are pointing in the same direction. This may mean that we may be observing a societal-level change through the generations. And where those changes will end?"

As a social psychologist (I can hear you booing, that how come that I am skeptical about generations while I call myself a social psychologist) by training this was a point where my mind started to wonder and started to imagine future societies.

For example where inclusion is super-strong. Or where FOMO is super strong. Good thought experiments!

There were other highlights for me, like whether should we use the calendar approach or the age approach to define generations? What is the practical meaning of this research?

I'll let you explore the answers by listening to the conversation here:

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Coaching, Feedback, & Relationships - With Dr Lise Lewis

The next guest of the OnCoaching Podcast is Dr Lise Lewis!

My next guest in the OnCoaching Podcast is Lise Lewis! Lise is an executive coach, coach-trainer, supervisor, and keynote speaker… as we’d say that she “knows all the tricks of the trade”.

Moreover, she is the past president of EMCC Global, holding a professional doctorate in the field of coaching and an author too. Plus, Lise is a friend.

I clearly remember our first meeting, as she did not show up.:)

I was being interviewed for the VP role in EMCC by the board – it was the last round of interviews – and she, being the president should have been leading the interview.

Unfortunately, she got sick at the last moment and could not join the session. I also remember that immediately as she was ready to do so, she reached out to me and I got a warm welcome and later a superb support in integrating into my role.

It was clear to me that she values relationships and is ready to invest in them. No surprise that later she wrote her book on the topic of relational feedback. As we worked together on the board of EMCC I got to know her structured side as well: goal orientation, focus, and high-level thinking.

Well, I am biased so I finish praising her for now. 😊

I had many reasons to invite Lise for a talk!

On one hand, she is a professional with a proper research background and a deep knowledge of her field: relationships, coaching, and feedback. In line with this, we have explored certain elements of her own model in our conversation.

If you’d like to read more then I recommend you to take a look at her book (here it is on Amazon) or you may read her article about it HERE. As there were developments in the model, you should read THIS short addendum when reading the article. Although the topic of feedback seems like a “piece of cake”, Lise’s book uncovers the diverse perspectives we could consider in the process and the importance of self-awareness and interpersonal dynamics that emerge during such an exchange. In our talk, she provides an insight into the key elements of her model.

Lise being the past president of EMCC Global was my other reason for interviewing her. I was eager to show how she got to the top of the organization as I think that her dedication to the cause of professionalizing coaching, and the amount of volunteer work she has done could be an inspiration for all of us.

Besides her career within EMCC, her global insight into the world of coaching is invaluable – so I have asked her about trends and her expectations as well.

My favourite quote from this part of the conversation is:

“How to distinguish what we as humans can offer? For example AI does not have a heart..”

For me, this sentence clearly shows how a relationship-focused professional reacts to the rapid technological changes in our world.

As a side note, I do agree with Lise on this: AI does not have a heart now. But I have seen some applications that could identify emotions with a fairly high accuracy and this capability could be a step toward an AI that can pretend to have a heart.

And as soon as we get to this point we could run some interesting experiments to explore the nature of “experienced compassion”.

What I admire in Lise, is how she blends professionalism with relational awareness. Being kind and getting things done at the same time. She lives what she teaches.

Needless to say, we had a good time recording this episode. I wish that you enjoy listening to it as much, as we enjoyed recording it!

You can listen to the conversation here:

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Real-Time Leadership - A conversation with Carol Kauffman Ph.D.

The next guest of the OnCoaching Podcast is Carol Kauffman!

My next guest in the OnCoaching Podcast is Carol Kauffman PhD! Carol Carol is an international leader in the field of coaching, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, a visiting professor at Henley Business School, and a senior leadership adviser at Egon Zehnder.  

She has done a lot for the profession of coaching through her work at the Institute of Coaching at Harvard, and she is the founding editor-in-chief of Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice – a peer-reviewed journal that serves as a platform for spreading high-quality knowledge about our profession. (You may check out the publisher’s page here.) 

We have not personally met before, but as an EMCC VP, I had been following her work as I saw her to be a real champion of the evidence-based approach. Besides the overall appreciation for all these, Carol has recently co-authored a book with David Noble: Real-Time Leadership (check out the book’s website here), which has really caught my attention.

I have always been a fan of theories and as a coach, I am constantly looking for frameworks that could describe the challenges of my clients – mostly leaders. And leadership, with all its complexity, is hard to grasp. One of the fundamental challenges is how even subtle changes in the situations – the external and the internal environment – could (and should!) invite a shift in leadership behaviors.

Of course, the good old Situational Leadership model addresses some of these challenges but it is not detailed enough. Communication tools, like PCM, do address a huge part of “managing the moment”, but they seldom talk about the non-personality-related aspects of leadership. This is where I found the thoughts on Real-Time Leadership interesting.

We could all use simple guidance on how to align our goals resources and relationships on a minute-by-minute basis. In our conversation, we took a look at the core concepts of Real-Time Leadership. I was happy to hear these as they resonated with the messages of my previous guest, Nate Regier’s thoughts on Compassionate Accountability, especially the mindset switches.

I was amazed by Carol’s humble presence in our conversation. She was so clear about her previous learnings, about who inspired her to do what, and so on… For me

her story shows the importance of cooperation and openness in shaping a profession...

Besides her work on leadership, we have covered a number of topics. How she got to be the founding editor of the journal and her role in building up the Institute of Coaching at Harvard. We spoke about professional inspiration and theories that shape our work.

My favorite sentence, that stood out from the session was the single question that you can ask yourself at any time in order to connect to your better self:

“Who do I want to be right now?”

I think that we should start asking that question more frequently from ourselves.

Most importantly this was a lively and friendly talk. Before we started the recording, I mentioned that “It is a challenge in the coaching world to not hear about her work” – and I really mean this. With all those great contributions to the profession under her belt, Carol is kind and shares a lot of her stories and knowledge.

You can listen to the conversation here:

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Handling conflicts, drama, and challenging conversations through compassion - Nate Regier

The next guest of the OnCoaching Podcast is Nate Regier!

My next guest in the OnCoaching Podcast is Nate Regier PhD! By background Nate is a clinical psychologist turned consultant who is a founding owner of the global consulting company Next Element.

Plus a university adjunct professor, podcaster, and keynote speaker. I met him through the “world of PCM” – as he is one of the few Certifying Master Trainers of the model – but it was not for his process skills that I started to look upon him. (Truth be told Nate is quite tall, but we are almost at the same height 😊.)

So fun aside, the first time we met in person was at a PCM Master Trainer meeting, a forum for knowledge sharing and skills practice. He presented the boundaries of the model, and common misconceptions that we should be aware of, and handle in our practices.

What was impressive for me is how clear he was about the theoretical boundaries. He was not criticizing any of the concepts, just drawing the lines till where it was OK to use the concepts. In that meeting, I was just a candidate to become a Master Trainer, and as such I was a full-blown fan of PCM. His presentation helped me to take one step back and re-engage my constructive-critical thinking while retaining my enthusiasm for the model. I think that...

"in the world of buzzwords and pseudo-science, we need more people like Nate, who highlight the boundaries and help us in reviewing our interpretations and how they reflect the intentions of our educators".

Nate writes extensively, you may wish to take a look at his blog HERE. His blog posts then become books. He has already authored four pieces: Beyond Drama, Conflict without Casualties, Seeing People Through, and the latest: Compassionate Accountability.

In my eyes Nate – and the team at Next Element – are creators and researchers. They explore client challenges or face certain limitations in their professional assignments, then start to think and then develop a concept that solves the issues at hand. Till now it sounds like a regular “consulting company” approach. What I appreciate in their way of working is that they take the next step (next element 😊): collect evidence, work with the feedback and fine-tune their solutions to make sure that they are really fit to be used by others.

The assessment tools they have developed (e.g. the NEOS tool that it used for outcomes measurement) are practical and focused. The team of Next Element develops new materials, tools, related quality assurance-focused certifications, and trainer development resources with the goal to make a broader impact on the world.

As a professional with TA and PCM as my “native languages” in understanding human behaviors I was really curious to interview both John Parr (listen to the episode here) and Nate as well. I wanted to understand the reasons why they started to create their own tools and concepts, and how these relate to, and expand the offerings of PCM.

In this episode, we talked about a lot of things. How Next Element was born, the reasons and the process of them developing their series of tools, and Nate’s vision of making an impact on the world. We explore the concepts of his new book “Compassionate Accountability” in detail: we talk about definitions of accountability and compassion and the mindset that supports the handling of challenging conversations.

You can listen to the conversation here:

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Engineering mindset behind Emotional Assertiveness – a conversation with John Parr

The next guest of the OnCoaching Podcast is John Parr!

I am a lucky person as in my coaching journey I have met with great people who mentored and supported me. John is one of them. We met more than fifteen years ago when I was attending my first-ever TA (Transactional Analysis) seminar series around coaching and organizational work. As a part of the program, he was teaching us about PCM®.

That was the first time I ever heard about it. The clarity of the content and John’s calm presence, his embodied “OK-ness” made that seminar a life-changing experience for me. As a psychologist I have been looking for a toolkit that could provide me a blueprint for interventions: “You see this – you do that”, and I got exactly this. Since then, John has been there for me in my professional journey, certifying me first as a trainer, then later as a master trainer in PCM®.

During these years together, I made one big mistake: I have not realized how experienced and talented he is in all the other walks of his professional life. I guess I had so much to learn from him as a PCM® mentor. However, as my practice grew, and my client cases became more and more complicated he gave me further guidance in TA, then I found out about his work around Emotional Assertiveness too.

What I have always admired in our conversations, is his clarity, and his ability to grasp – and explain – the core elements of complex challenges. A nice thing to have in a mentor 😊. I invited him for this conversation to talk about his past and to explore some of his ideas for working with emotions.

John is a seasoned international executive coach and trainer.

He is certifying master trainer of PCM® and the founder of the Emotional Assertiveness Model. John brings a wealth of experience to the conversation. During his career, he served in the Royal Navy, was a probation officer, was an HR manager, and is a past president of EATA (European Association for Transactional Analysis) … he is a trained psychotherapist too.

In this conversation, we talked about his career experiences and how he got to this point. We had some important side stories about submarines (or have we edited them out? 😊) and spirituality – how love and religion influence how he helps professionals. We talked about how he uses his wide knowledge and his experience in multiple theories of psychology to support his clients and of course, we covered Emotional Assertiveness as well.
From all the inspiration I got I really came to appreciate how John works with joining thinking and emotions. As a bit of an overthinker myself I could immediately relate to his experience about

Clients being either too distanced from their own emotions to be guided by them, or are too overwhelmed by these emotions – so their thinking becomes clouded.

With a short example, he has shown a technique for starting to join these two – equally important – processes.

This episode is special in the sense that John and I frequently have conversations, and I am happy that I can share a piece of my experience with the world through this episode.

You can listen to the conversation here:

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Kierkegaard and Coaching - A conversation With Reinhard Stelter

The next guest of the OnCoaching Podcast is Reinhard Stelter!

Like all the coaches I am pretty curious about the future of our profession. With all the hype around generative AI, developments in online coaching platforms and coaching apps the future isn’t just knocking on our doors, but it is already here. As an “armchair futurist,” I know that the best scenarios of the future are based on the signals of the past and the present: the knowledge of history and the awareness of events that don’t fit the main narratives.

These historical perspectives and development-focused thinking was the thing that I have enjoyed the most in Reinhard’s conference speech in Budapest last year, where he was presenting about the future of coaching, and after a brief chat, I invited him to join me for a follow-up conversation.

What to know about Reinhard Stelter

Reinhard Stelter is a full professor, head of the Coaching Psychology Unit, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports (NEXS) at the University of Copenhagen. He has a practice as a coach, mentor, and supervisor and is an accredited coaching psychologist (associate fellow at ISCP). He has also been a visiting professor at Copenhagen Business School since 2009.

Two of his books that are more than recommended to read are “The Art of Dialogue in Coaching” – which won the “Coaching Book of the Year 2019” award from Henley Business School, and “A Guide to Third Generation Coaching”.

Previews only - not for use!!

We have covered a number of topics in this conversation too. Where are the boundaries of coaching? How does identity come into play in coaching (here is a hint: everywhere) and the challenges of “getting to the identity level” as a coach? How do we contract for that? Of course, we took a look at the research of Reinhard and his thoughts around the future of coaching as well! Will there be a fourth generation of conversations in our profession after the third one?

We talked philosophy as well, and I got an important reminder:

In the interdisciplinarity of coaching, there can – and must – be a place for various fields of sciences: psychology, philosophy, leadership studies… and more.

From all the inspiration I got I really came to love the phrase “conversation holder”. Yes, we used that for the coach, in order to avoid using the coach word.

For me, this phrase opens up the boundaries of the coaching role – enabling more of the “content of the coach”, and a deeper reflection on the issues of the client. It also highlights the essence of the coaching process: a conversation. A dialogue that involves two full people in a partnership, an exchange that creates a next-level of self-awareness and understanding for the participants.  

I was amazed by the deep thoughts that emerged and I felt that we were really on the same wave, I guess being a psychologist myself helped to get to that point. What I admire however that Reinhard was simply clear in his messages and there was no need to rely on our shared knowledge to get his ideas.

You are welcome to share your insights and ask for your comments on LinkedIn! 

You can listen to the conversation here: 

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A Conversation on Mental Toughness With Doug Strycharczyk

The next guest of the OnCoaching Podcast is Doug Strycharczyk!

I have always been fascinated by the question “Why”? As a kid, I read a lot, and I was asking all the questions about planets, galaxies, animals, and everything. As I grew up to be a psychologist and a coach my questions focused more on the whys of the people around me.

Why do they change? How come they don’t change? (If I had not been taught not to ask “why” questions too frequently as a coach, I’d be starting all my conversations with these…) This curiosity laid the foundation of my love of psychological models, as they try to explain the driving forces and the inner logic – or inner mess – of my fellow humans. One of my favourite models describes how people maintain a high level of performance even under harsh conditions, under distress, and distractions. The key concept is Mental Toughness, and Doug is a leading authority in this field. 

Studies show a strong link between Mental Toughness and performance. It accounts for 25% of the variation in performance.

What to know about Doug Strycharczyk

Doug leads AQR International, a global consulting company that focuses on the development of the concept and the associated measurement instruments. He works closely with well-established scientists, like Dr. John Perry and Professor Peter Clough in this long-term project. He has edited and co-authored a number of pieces around the topics of resilience and Mental Toughness.

You can find his works in books like: Psychometrics in Coaching (Kogan Page, 2009) and Developing Resilient Organizations (Kogan Page, 2014) A former HR leader – turned consultant – turned research lead Doug has a unique overview of his field: Research results, personal stories and business insight combined. In this episode, we explore the concept of Mental Toughness and its implications. 

Mental Toughness deals with our thinking patterns, and our internal monologues – some important “whys” that define our approach towards challenging situations. It is a (meta-)cognitive personality concept which describes how people think when something occurs or when they anticipate its occurrence. 

Our first meeting was an accidental one...

We were guests of the same roundtable conversation at a Polish coaching conference and we were to talk about theories and models in coaching. Right before the session the organizers introduced us to each other and left us with some coffee to warm up for our appearance. The third panelist did not show up on time so we quickly got into the depths of our favourite topics. Doug was so engaging that I quickly hooked up on his ideas, and this conversation soon led to others, then those led to me becoming a master trainer in the use of the Mental Toughness Questionnaire. Fun fact: I almost canceled my participation at that conference, so it was really a touch of fate that we met.

In these conversations, I started to admire Doug’s passion for the topic of MT. He shares his huge knowledge in a humble manner, engages in professional debates with curiosity and respect, a real thinking partner!

Let me recommend reading his books, especially the last edition of “Developing Mental Toughness” published by Kogan Page. 

In this conversation, we take a look at a number of different topics. How he got to where he is, the general concept of Mental Toughness, and some fascinating research results around the application of this framework. 

You are welcome to share your insights and ask for your comments on LinkedIn! 

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)

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Introducing my fifth guest: Michel Moral

The next guest of the OnCoaching Podcast is Dr. Michel Moral, a key expert in the establishment of the practice of supervision in France. Formally what needs to be said about Michel is that he is a former IBM executive who took part in a number of huge international projects and gathered considerable expertise in the world of organizations. After earning a doctorate in clinical psychology and leaving the company theatre he did not go too far: he created his own coaching and supervision practice and he is busy with teaching and developing the field. He published 11 books on coaching and supervision and has been contributing extensively to the world of coaching and supervision. Not just by his book, but as a member of EMCC International, and other organizations.

I got to know Michel personally when I took my office as EMCC International VP of Research, and he was recommended to be “one of the first people to talk to” by my fellow board members. Michel has a great presence, somehow he manages to combine the “wise man” with the “playful French guy” and adds a subtle flavor of the “multinational high-flyer” to the mix.

He is approachable and wise, but he easily shares critical thoughts as well. So I have to admit I was a bit anxious before our first meeting (which took place at a conference..). What I remember from that first conversation clearly is when he talked about the needs and interests of French coaches, and I asked: “Don’t all the coaches have the same interest?” I guess I thought about general needs, like learning, doing good business, etc. His answer was a clear “no”, with a smile. Then he shared a few things about the different levels of maturity in coaching markets and differences between local EMCC organizations.

I quickly got the point: I need to think in more detail. There was no lecturing in those moments, just good inspiration for me. Nothing frightening had happened, I just got a good set of ideas on what could be a good starting point for my activities. And I went back to Michel for some of these “good starting points” over my years at EMCC.

This detailed thinking and his systemic perspective are what I have always admired in him. An approach that he takes both in his coaching and supervision sessions and in his writings and scientific work as well. I can definitely relate to systemic work. As a social psychologist by education (have I ever written about that in any of my posts?) and as a transactional analyst by practice, I am in love with systems and the idea of “high-level connections”.

Another thing that I highly appreciate when working with Michel, is his practicality. He always has a few good examples to highlight the dark corners of theory and has some tricks that can make a difference in a situation.

This conversation with him had a good flow for me. At some points, it became a bit too personal that we even had to edit out some of our comments😊. (I guess it is not a surprise for you to hear that these are edited recordings.) We talked about his background, systems perspectives, models and trends on the market, boundaries, and responsibilities when using systems thinking and emotions as well! We touched on stories of “finding someone’s tribe”, and the reflections on the time when supervision started to become an important element of our practice.

To give a quick insight into his research Michel has shared an article with us – the one he references in the conversation regarding defense mechanisms. You can find and download the article HERE. EMCC Global has given permission to share it too, as the original article got published in an EMCC Conference publication.

Interestingly Michel’s thoughts were inspirational for me – again – not just on the professional level. Recently I have been going through a challenging period. I kept telling my friends in the last few months that “small things eat up my life”. (You may have noticed that there was a break in the usual flow of the episodes.) Talking with him helped me to find a systemic lever – personal energy – that I have been mismanaging recently. So, I have left this conversation with a renewed commitment and plans for my own well-being!

You can listen to the conversation here: 

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Some reflections on our conversation with Bob Garvey

If you have missed the conversation, then you can listen to it here.

Publishing this piece took a lot more time from me than I have planned. Lots of things were going on for me that diverted my attention from OnCoaching. A throat inflammation that left me literally speechless in the middle of a training session for example. (It will be another story to tell you how I managed that situation 😊) Then rescheduling and re-organizing all the assignments that I had to skip… So when I sat down to write I had to realize that my initial notes regarding the session with Bob did not give me the full picture as I looked at them. I knew that we had a goon conversation but I needed to listen to it again.

There was so much content in what we have been covering, that on the second hearing I thought that we could have done two sessions out of this recording. So, you dear reader, may consider listening again as there is a chance that you have missed some wise words from Bob.

"Coaching is a way of relating – not just a set of tools in a box”

I could not agree more. But on our way to see (and experience) coaching like this, we certainly go through some phases where this way of relating is learnt. So for some of the helping professionals out there coaching – and mentoring and so on – may be something less than that, and may be a bit more than just some communication tools. When I held trainings for would-be-coaches and we defined coaching we always talked about the different conceptual layers of it. Coaching can be understood as a toolkit that we use. Then we can talk about the skills – or competencies – of the coach with which those tools are used. Then it can become a mindset, a way of relating to our partners. The coaching mindset is taught even on the first days of coach training programs, but the tools and “tricks” usually provide the confidence, the “ammunition” to experiencing being a coach, and experiences will eventually lead to the development of a well-lived coaching mindset. We have not talked about this development with Bob, but I’d be interested in his opinion.

A second thing that got me thinking was the “where are your questions coming from?” question. We coaches quite often refer to ourselves as “masters of the process” who have nothing to do with the content. “Trust the process”.. we say frequently.

However, our process-shaping questions have to reflect on the content of the conversation. They have to come from somewhere! Our previous knowledge, experience, intuition – name it – is the at least unconscious source of our curiosity. I have been trained in non-directive methods but I still think that in a number of cases this approach does not work. For example, in business coaching, or in skills coaching it is essential to offer some content, new perspectives to the coachee to work with.

So don’t hold back. Be proud of your questions!

As Bob said, the client will likely to translate whatever they hear to a question that they’d like to answer. (But you should still stay away from suggestive questions. It is cool to have a background as a coach, but it is not cool – and not effective on the long term – to create a solution instead of a coahee.)

The whole “what do you put into the relationship as a coach” question is important for me. Not just the source of my questions, but the level of my presence is related to my content as a coach. Trust depends on the content that I bring into the relationship. So how is that created if we don’t put any “content” into it? How do we create trust if we don’t share anything about ourselves? My guess is that we can not create it this way. Component theories of trust claim that honesty or integrity – speaking the truth, doing the right things – are essential elements of trust. So something must be said. When meeting with new clients we usually talk about our training and track record, this crosses out the “competency” element of trust: we show that we can do the things right. Sometimes we share a few stories about family and our “non-professional lives” and with that goodwill or with a bit of luck honesty can be crossed out as well from the list of trust building qualities. So here is my invitation for self-reflection: how do you introduce yourself, what do you share about yourself to create the initial level of trust in your coaching relationships?

Creating trust and using your (not just process related) knowledge well are crucial for the success of coaching. And I was so glad that Bob brought in the concept of contracting around these questions. A good contract, that is solid in all the dimensions that Bob has highlighted from his own research, serves as the foundation for the coaching relationship.

“Without a contract there is no accountability. Without accountability there are no clear roles. Without clear roles there is no clear coaching.”


It enables trust by providing safety through confidentiality and clarity regarding the “rules of engagement”. For me these rules – the professional contract – is the most important.  In my opinion a lot of things can happen in a coaching relationship (e.g. sharing of knowledge, teaching, reflecting, provocation…) that could serve the needs of the client. If we have a good contract, that lays out clearly the function of these and the process how these interventions could serve the client then why not have them?

A last thing that I wish to highlight from our conversation in this piece is the dilemmas around the outcomes. Is it a good thing to use data and measures to capture the expected coaching outcomes? If yes then what kind of data, and how can we assess if the coachee (or the stakeholders) will like these outcomes? Bob said that some people are motivated by goals and some are not. How true is that! One of my favourite tools measures the goal-orientation of clients and of yes, sometimes I do meet clients who are open to change, have the curiosity, the commitment but freak out from goals. Goals are not for everyone!  (Of course this raises a number of questions around the directionality of the coaching, on what a good contract is etc…). My experience is that goals help us in framing a conversation. Without them it is challenging to assess whether we are moving in any direction at all. Without goals we may not have the motivation to start the journey at all. Reaching the set goals however may not be necessary.

Sometime it is valuable to just have the conversation. Sometimes the meaning is all what is needed.

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Introducing my fourth guest: Bob Garvey

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)

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