April 25, 2023

Introducing my fifth guest: Michel Moral

In this episode, my guest is Dr. Michel Moral, an executive-turned-clinical psychologist – turned coach, who had a great impact on the development of the field of supervision in coaching. Michel is has been active in the field of coaching for long years now, published extensively (this includes more than 10 books for example), and has shared his knowledge actively. In this conversation we reflect on his past, his perspective on the development of supervision and the whole coaching field, and of course some of his research activities.

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: 

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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