June 11, 2024

Changing professions and professionals - A Conversation With David Clutterbuck

In this episode of OnCoaching Zoltán Csigás talks with Prof. David Clutterbuck – founder and now special ambassador of EMCC, coaching- and team-coaching pioneer. The conversation is the extended version of Prof. Clutterbuck’s keynote that was delivered at EMCC Hungary’s annual Academy conference of 2024. The conversation covers a wide variety of topics, including the boundaries between coaching and mentoring, the future of the profession in the light of AI developments, competency systems and even more!

The next guest of the OnCoaching podcast is David Clutterbuck!

Special occasion a special guest and not just food for thought, but a whole menu for thought! This episode of OnCoaching podcast is again a unique one.

My guest is Prof David Clutterbuck who I think needs no introduction in the coaching world. A prolific author of more than 50 books, a founder – now special ambassador – of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, coaching- and team-coaching pioneer, just to name a few things about David.

The occasion and the setting of our conversation was special as well. David was invited to be the keynote speaker at EMCC Hungary’s annual Academy program to talk about the changes and the challenges of the profession. As the organizers were aware of the technical challenges that we may be facing, so they have decided to have a pre-recorded discussion with David, “just in case” technology turned against us. This is how I got the opportunity to interview David.

My invitation from the board of EMCC Hungary was to do a 20 minutes conversation, but things got a bit out of control and we ended up talking for almost 40 mins and it was not an easy thing to finish there either. 😊

(Un?)fortunately there came to be an issue at the event so it was nice to have a recorded material with David at hand. We have shown an edited and a cut version of the conversation there, and now here comes the full one. So you are invited to listen to the “extended keynote speech” of David Clutterbuck that was partially delivered at the conference.

David is really a masterful mind with insights built on decades of practice and research, and his thoughts and important not just as reflections on the current state of our profession, but as guidance on the future(s) we are facing as coaches and mentors.

Unveiling the Boundaries of Coaching and Mentoring

As the topic of the conference was the alliance of coaches and mentors – and other helping professionals  - in the development processes of our clients, our first topic with David was the relationship of these fields. How far away are they? What makes them different? He reflected both on the perspective of the professionals and on how the professional growth of coaches and mentors change these perspectives. One of my favourite quotes from this conversation was when he talked about the clients’ perspective on the distinction of the professions:

They don’t care!

I couldn’t agree more. Just like in the field of sales coaches and mentors are still frequently stuck in selling their products: “coaching” and “mentoring”. But just like in the other business sectors clients want to obtain solutions: personal development, solution to a leadership problem, relief … you name it. They don’t care, and they are not trained to make a difference between the vehicles that are used to deliver what they want. Why do we want to maintain the boundaries of the professions?  A good question to consider… who benefits from these boundaries?

The Role of AI in Coaching and Mentoring

Another important topic that we have talked about was AI – something that you can’t really miss these days – and of course David has an opinion on this as well. Without unveiling the details, what I liked are the follow-up thought: how can we integrate AI to our services? And even more importantly: how can we support the non-ai coaches in speedy development? And what happens if we can not give proper support? What would that mean for the future of the profession?

He also made a note on competency systems of the big coaching associations. The great question that David raised is: how does the best-practice – thus eventually a “past based” – system is capable of guiding us into a quicky, and unpredictably changing future? Will we (or our clients) expect the same things from the coaches of the future as we are expecting them to today?

Future Orientation in Coaching

An overall important conclusion for me from the conversation was that coaches (mentors etc.) and the whole profession itself should be more future-oriented, just like the services we are providing. And we should not stop at just thinking about what it is to come, but our future orientation should be reflected in the systems and processes of the profession itself.  

Let me not share more details from the session, and let you explore the thoughts of David by listening to the conversation.

For me it was a great experience to interview David. We have known each other for a long time, and we already had a number of research-focused conversations back in the time when I was the VP of Research at EMCC International. But every conversation with him can bring in great new thoughts.

What I really liked is that this session happened in the context of a conference. Meeting my fellow coaches at EMCC Hungary’s event was a real joy: good exchanges, friendly conversations and honest laughs were spicing up my day. Thank you EMCC Hungary for making this happen!

(If you are not an EMCC member then you should really consider joining, even if you are already a member of another association. It is always better to have more company than less… Plus an EMCC Global conference is coming up soon in Eindhoven so you could join us there as well!)

I'll let you explore the answers by listening 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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Written By

Zoltán Csigás

Executive Coach
I am a Coach, psychologist, podcaster and Official curious person. Supporting you in reaching relational leadership mastery.
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