Coaching is a professional relationship between an experienced trained coach and a client (the client maybe an individual or an organization) with the goal to enhance the client’s professional and or personal life, their leadership or management or their personal and professional development.
Coaching is a supportive, integrative approach to solving problems, resolving dilemmas, restoring order and creating space for change and forward movement. Coaching can also be useful for individuals who want to make positive changes, including a wish to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
There are many different types of coaching and their associated models. In the systemic tradition, the most valuable thing we bring as a coach is our presence. Presence is the essential ingredient that enables and underpins the other pillars of the systemic stance.
These pillars are:
- Inclusion. This way of working is on ‘everyone’s side’ and is committed to holding all people with regard and respect, without judgement.
- Non-intentionality. This means we work without the intention of achieving a fixed outcome. This does not mean we work entirely without intention; to be present is an intention that supports inquiry into the truth.
- Balanced Exchange. This means that the help given by the coach to the coachee needs to be good for the coach also. When the exchange is balanced the benefit for both is far greater.
A Solutions Focussed Approach
Steve Schazer developed solutions Focussed Therapy (SFT) in the 1970’s. Some of its key principles are integrated into Life Therapy.
A solutions focussed approach understands that change is constant – so it is not change in itself that we need to focus on, but the amplification of change that is useful. SFT discovered that people could get better without any problem analysis whatsoever. A detailed understanding of the problem does not usually help with arriving at the solution. Furthermore analysing a problem typically draws us into the mind-set that created and supported the problem.
It is far more beneficial to move to the places where the problems are not lived out. Rare as these occurrences may be they do exist and there are always clues to solutions in the present, which can be found and nurtured to support change and growth. A solutions focussed approach moves through dialogue to a place where the solutions have already arrived.
Neuro Linguistic Programming NLP
Neuro – a paradigm of how the neurological system processes information through the five senses
Linguistic – how verbal and non verbal language is processed and given personal meaning
Programming – the effect that neuro and linguistic have on behaviour
NLP was co-created in the 1970’s at the University of California, Santa Cruz, USA by Richard Bandler and John Grinder through exploring, modelling and testing the techniques of effective communicators and therapists such as Fritz Perls – the founder of Gestalt Therapy, Virginia Satir – the founder of Family Therapy, and Milton Erickson – considered by many to be the most influential hypnotherapist in the 20h century.
NLP is a pragmatic school of thought – an ‘epistemology’ – that addresses the many levels involved in being human. NLP is a multi-dimensional process that involves the development of behavioural competence and flexibility, but also involves strategic thinking and an understanding of the mental and cognitive processes behind behaviour. NLP provides tools and skills for the development of states of individual excellence, but it also establishes a system of empowering beliefs and presuppositions about what human beings are, what communication is and what the process of change is all about. At another level, NLP is about self-discovery, exploring identity and mission. It also provides a framework for understanding and relating to the ‘spiritual’ part of human experience that reaches beyond us as individuals to our family, community and global systems. NLP is not only about competence and excellence; it is about wisdom and vision. (R.B. Dilts, 1999, 2011).
In summary, NLP is about the ‘How’ and not the ‘Why’. Knowing the structure of the problem makes it easy to break and build something new.