Coaching in the era of changes

I have recently seen among my colleagues more and more interest in coaching; and generally, programs which are developed to enhance coaching skills are more popular. And yet, the interest is not directly proportional to the willingness to apply such skills.

How do you assess your coaching mindset? Or simpler: how can you be present, mindful, aware?

From my perspective, having a “coaching” mindset means having a growth mindset, goodwill, and a pinch of bravery. In business, we are facing difficulties that we haven’t experienced for a long time, and it seems very hard to keep up the motivation of our colleagues: people are angry and disappointed and, let’s not deny the truth, the decision making of companies on this matter has been often poor. But this should not give a reason to give up.

In his work ‘Coaching for Performance’, John Whitmore (1937-2017) theorized that “coaches are midwives at the birth of a new social order, one in which compassion for all people and caring for all of nature and our only home form the core theme“. Before him, only Socrates (IV century BC), the Greek philosopher, proposed a similar vision. Alas, millennia have passed, and I do not see this vision realized yet: although corporate and startup companies are more and more oriented toward coaching, such tendencies often look like fried air.

“We may not be able to stabilize the economy, but we can find personal stability within economic instability”.

Sir John Whitmore

Do not get me wrong: this doesn’t come from the organizations alone, but from each of their essential parts: people. Individuals do have a hard time understanding that there is no such “era of stability” anymore; rather we are in an epoch of continuous transformations.

If the natural human behavior is to be accustomed to habits, then mankind might be in need to rework that aspect, because the one thing that is stable, as of now, is the dynamics of changes. The resistance, together with lack of resiliency, is itself the limit to adaptation within many of us. No change can be realized effectively if it doesn’t first happen within ourselves, with both mind and heart. (With regards to good habits, that is).

Coaches are there to help; but out of their support and their skills, it is up to each of us to have the right mindset and move forward. Since “the more relevant point for coaches now is how much they need to know about wider issues and what they do with that knowledge”, what coaches need to do now is to lead the transformation, support the assessment of strategical skills and, at the same time, encourage people to embrace the reality.

If we do not like something, we can decide whether to complain about or change it. Now, here is where the coaching mindset comes in handy: people often need to be listened to, but hardly they decide to actively play a role. Coaching should be that lever to motivation where power management failed us – and it did, given the circumstances. Even if people seek for advice, they may have already thought of excellent alternatives.

You don’t need to be a certified coach to do that. Everything starts from the simplest: and so, let’s simply try to be available to listen and understand, because your role is to clear the path where thoughts aren’t organized yet. When you are looking for a change, make it clear within yourself and give focus on the otherwise blurred picture. Coaching (and self-coaching) works like with muscles: it takes time and practice, but your dedication will bring results.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

Published by Andrea Paviglianiti

I practice coaching, I love reading, and I work as a data scientist. I also recharge my batteries with meditation, martial arts, and video games. I perform career and skills coaching – thus I define myself as a “cognitive” coach: I help people improve their learning experience to succeed where they want. My method is based on behavioral analysis, psychology of learning, philosophy of dialogue, and classic literature. I write about how to get better at learning, the best books I read, and my personal philosophy of coaching. And I will not lie to you – I can get verbose at times! I’d be happy if you stick around and read more of what I have to share!

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