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ASK, NOT TELL

....and many other thoughts about facilitation, coaching ( teams & individuals) and learning

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Just the Person

Updated: Mar 27

‘Just the person’


I am reading again the article ‘What is the difference and what makes the difference? A comparative study of psychodynamic and non-psychodynamic approaches to executive coaching’ by Vega Zagier Roberts and Michael Jarrett. Among many others, I am particularly drawn to the finding that the coaching relationship matters more than specific theoretical school or methods.


To be specific, it is ‘the quality of the relationship with the client – how understood and safe the client feels’.


It is not rocket science. It is in fact often highlighted in coaching 101. In a way, it is basic but it is not always well-practiced for 2 reasons.


Collusion - The attempt to establish an ‘understanding and safe’ relationship overshoots and results in excessive collusion with the clients which prohibits difficult awareness and change;


‘How’ instead of ‘Who’ - The ‘relationship’ aspect can be easily put aside when the coaches focus on the method or session outcome instead of the person and the relationship


On reflection, I most probably have been rather disciplined on the 1st issue. Well, in fact, may be too much sometimes – as illustrated by my previous realisation like ‘Zero collusion’ can be equally bad. This also makes me increasingly conscious of my own practice on the 2nd issue. I am now shifting my attention….. If there are only a few things staying in mind before and during a session, they are:


NOT the methods / models….

NOT the hypotheses / ‘games’….

NOT the PRO….

NOT the Competing Commitment / Big Assumption….

NOT the coaching outcome…

NOT me…. or how much I am liked


BUT the PERSON and our working alliance


I love the analogy used by my supervisor – ‘How are you like when you are having the MOMENT with your kids?’ I am just with them. I am just curious. I just feel them.

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