August 18, 2017 § 1 Comment
December 6, 2016 § Leave a comment
During 2016 I took the Academy of Executive Coaching’s Practitioner Diploma, and on successfully completing the programme I am now an Accredited Associate Executive Coach.
The AoEC is recognised as a coach training institution by the International Coach Federation, the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, and the Association for Coaching.
May 30, 2016 § Leave a comment
Coaching is a professional relationship between a trained coach and a client (who may be an individual or a group) with the goal to enhance the client’s work or home life, their leadership or management or their personal and professional development.
As ever, it’s the verbs which tell the story – in this case, “enhance”. In my experience of coaching, stretching back to the early 2000’s, most people exploring coaching begin with “How…?” questions. “How do I manage myself better in this upcoming situation, How do I free myself to find a better way of …, How can I better lead this colleague…, How can I improve the team’s performance?”
It’s the opportunity created by having time with an experienced independent practitioner who is dispassionately and wholly on your side: questioning, supporting, reflecting, encouraging, challenging; and all with a view to enabling you to find new understanding or new ways of ‘How…’.
Coaches need coaching too!, and I’ve been skillfully supported by Penny Kay in recent years – and we’re delighted to announce our associate relationship. We are working together as joint coaches where there is a pair, group or organisation who want a coaching approach.
As Penny writes, “Coaching is a lovely integrative method of problem solving, resolving dilemmas and discovering a way forward. Here is a nice summary from ILM that shows how the development of a ‘coaching culture’ in an organisation can be beneficial. But coaching can also be very useful for individuals who want to make positive changes, including their wish to improve their overall health.”
The ILM report that Penny cites shows how many organisations and companies, large and small, have used or are turning to coaching to change cultures and enhance professional development.
December 18, 2014 § Leave a comment
This is likely to be in London in the first quarter of 2015 – a two day programme, focussing on core skills and on advanced techniques for influencing change in those you supervise. Please e-mail me to register for advance booking notification. Not in London? Let me know, as I aim to deliver these courses in locations according to local demand.
May 29, 2013 § 2 Comments
Do you prefer your goals to be about learning or about performance? And phrased in concrete terms, or more abstract?
Setting goals is inherent in our culture and in our practice – whether they’re an organisation’s mission aims and objectives, or how we manage ourselves through the to-do list each day.
From my own experience, I know that both short- and long-term goals can inspire me into effective action; but they don’t always work.
So I enjoyed very much a recent lecture for the Quakers and Business network, David Megginson, Emeritus Professor of Human Resource Development, Sheffield Hallam University. He shared some interesting emerging evidence, that goals in themselves may be unhelpful in certain situations; and that different kinds of goals may suit different temperaments .
For example, goals may be unnecessarily limiting if they are too specific, carry too heavy a penalty for failure (in organisational terms, or for my own self-esteem), or if I don’t have a say in defining them, such as a goal given to me by my manager, or if it is an organisation-wide goal inappropriately translated for my own work priorities) . I meet goals like this sometimes in my coaching practice, if someone has been ‘told’ to come to coaching to remedy apparent defects in performance.
So to the questions in the title of this piece. If you think about a goal or a hope you set yourself recently, how does it fit these categories:
- Was it a goal which could be reached in time or achievement (proximal) or further ahead in the future (distant)?
- Was it a concrete, specific goal; or was it phrased in more abstract terms?
- Do you see yourself as approaching your goal (“The ideal livelihood I want is…”); or is the goal phrased as avoidance (“I want to overcome feeling underconfident when I’m meeting the Board”)
- Are your goals about performance (How do I…); or are they about learning? 
You may find that goals of a specific type work for you more times than not – for example, goals that are distant, concrete, which approach an desired outcome and which are about performance.
Or you may find that different types work for you in different situations – between personal or professional goals; or goals for daily achievements alongside a longer-term hoped-for change.
One other factor also to take a moment to think about.
If you have consciously used goals in the past, what has been your experience? Did they work; or not? (remember that goals that work may lead to effective action and valued outcomes, even if they were not the intended outcomes).
And in addition to whether goals have worked for you in the past, Professor Megginson has identified some other factors which influence our progress towards our own goals:
- How strong is my motivation – how important to me is achieving this goal?
- How good is my contextual awareness: how accurate is my picture of external factors that may help or hinder achievement?
- Is this goal mine? Who shares it with me or has a stake in its outcome?
- Do I believe that I can see, feel or touch the outcome?
- Will I be able to measure or assess the outcome?
- Is the goal aligned with my personal values: does it have inner “sense of rightness”?
I am finding it helpful to critique my own goals in the light of my own learning about what kinds of goals work best for me; and finding – as I believe it does for my coaching clients – greater commitment to the right kind of goals in both professional and personal contexts.
 See Susan David, David Clutterbuck & David Megginson, Beyond goals, 2013, Aldershot, Gower (forthcoming).
 Ordóñez, L.D., Schweitzer, M.E., Galinsky, A.E., Bazerman, M.H. (2009). Goals gone wild: The systemic side- effects of overprescribing goal setting, Academy of Management Perspectives, February,6-16
 Grant, A.M. (2007). When own goals are a winner. Coaching at Work, 2(2), 32-35.