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Why Do You Coach?

In the coaching profession we often talk about the benefits of coaching, to the individual, teams and the organisation. Little or no consideration is given to what a Coach/Mentor gains from Coaching or Mentoring, 'What's in it for me?’ Is it just a selfless act, is it a 'want' to help and share with others or something else.

If you are a Team Manager, the reason for coaching may be more obvious, helping to improve performance. Coaches may also see coaching as a way to connect others to a personal stand, commitment or purpose enabling the enrolment of others, but what about other scenarios?
Here are some personal thoughts gathered from three professional executive coaches on why they coach:

“My personal thoughts are that a coach/mentor gains a great deal from their client. I learn more about my style as a coach, build skills and knowledge from flexing my approach to meet the needs of my clients. There is huge satisfaction in watching somebody develop and achieve their goals as well as the privilege of working closely with talented individuals.”

“I would say for myself as an internal coach in the NHS what I get from coaching is being able to support front line staff to deal with their high pressure roles. Ultimately hoping this will affect the quality of patient outcomes; quality of patient care is a core value, for anyone working in the NHS regardless of whether their role is medical, clinical or in administration.”

“I believe it is about the Gandhi quote “There is no other question in life except what are you doing for others". What this means for me, is that whilst coaching has an element of altruism it is also about what makes me feel connected to my core values, which are about supporting other people to be the best they can be as well as developing my own self insight.”

In addition, we asked some of JMJ’s coaches, their responses included:

  • Joy of seeing someone grow and develop,
  • Enjoyment of being fully present and mindful during a coaching session,
  • Enabling others to achieve breakthrough results,
  • Engaging others and enabling people to do their best thinking
  • Jointly creating openings for new ways of being and being in action,
  •  Enabling others to connect head and heart.

Looking from an Integral approach (Ken Wilber) and neurological perspective, there may be other clues to why people coach. Ken Wilber discusses the stages of individual development. As individuals develop awareness, we are largely self-absorbed in the ‘me’, Egocentric. We then begin to learn culture's rules and norms, becoming concerned about the tribe, group, clan or nation and interested in ‘us’, this is referred to as Ethnocentric. The next stage in development he calls World Centric; this is about ‘all of us’, an individual's identity expands this time to include care and concern for all peoples.

“I believe that individuals that coach do so because they are at the World Centric stage of their own personal development.”

From a neurological point of view, feeling good involves the release of serotonin and oxytocin which are neurotransmitters. Serotonin is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. It is also involved in the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. It has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning. Oxytocin is involved in social recognition, pair bonding, anxiety, and maternal behaviours. Higher levels of oxytocin are involved in how we relate to others and our feeling of connectedness. This could be a clue to why we coach.

Why do you coach? We’d love to hear from you…

By Lynne-Marie Eccleston at Friday, 22 June 2012




5 Steps on How to Have a Fulfilling Purpose & Career

So why are we here? What’s our purpose?
These questions, or ones similar, occur to many of us at some point during our careers.  How a person defines purpose has as much to do with his or her mind-set as it does with personal, philosophical, cultural, religious and scientific beliefs.

The Purpose of Knowing Your Purpose
Defining purpose in work, life and business is not about the daily tasks, it’s about the reason for the tasks in the first place – the "why", not the "what". Discovering purpose allows a person to create the vision behind the tasks, and knowing that vision can dramatically change results.
For example, a chef’s purpose is not to cook food – that’s a task. The reason for this task is to help people enjoy life by having a good time with loved ones around a meal they didn’t have to prepare (or clean up) themselves.
People who are fulfilled at work know how the work they do supports the company’s vision, values and goals whether it’s their own company or someone else’s.

Knowing your purpose helps:

  • Give meaning to everything you do.
  • Guide you through tough times and difficult decisions.
  • Encourage you to follow your instinct instead of following the crowd.
  • Motivate you on your journey even (or especially) when you encounter failure or rejection.

How to Fulfil Your Purpose & Make a Living
We’ve been talking about finding purpose in the work that you’re already doing. If you want to envision a career, based on your life purpose, try the following approach.

  1. Determine your strengths: Life purpose is directly related to personal strengths and talents e.g. if communication is your strength then your purpose may be found in that area.
  2. Determine your passions: Passions are the things you love to do - with or without external rewards (like money or recognition).
  3. Determine your causes: Identify the causes that matter to you. Is there a condition in the world that makes you feel discontent or compels you to action?
  4. Find the sweet spot: After determining your strengths, passions and causes find the overlap between them. That’s the sweet spot, where you’re likely to find the most fulfilment in your work life.
  5. Your mission, should you choose to accept it... Based on the information above, write a personal mission statement – it can help guide you throughout your career transition.
    It’s not (necessarily) about the money!

If you are in career transition, instead of focusing on a money goal, try setting goals that “add value” - a goal that improves the quality of people's lives or of the earth. Whether you’re a bricklayer, a coach, a CEO or a solopreneur, it’s ultimately through helping others that we all achieve our life purpose.
We’d like to thank Karen Mason, EMCC UK Company Secretary. The article was adapted by Karen Mason from content used under license © 2011 Claire Communications.


By Karen Mason, EMCC UK at Friday, 18 May 2012




SUPERVISION PART 2: A Shift in Behaviours

Our Faculty recently attended ‘Supervision in and of teams and organisations’. The module focused on working with, an individual, the team and organisation in question through to working with or supervising a full team.

The key focus was to shift from looking at an individual or a group of individuals, to attending to the spaces in between, i.e. the relationships. This fits with The School’s coaching model wherein the relationship ‘between us’ and the context ‘around us’ are a key part of coaching. We examined the basics on whether the groups we were working with were actually teams with a common purpose, a collective endeavour, or simply a number of individuals in a work group. An obvious point but surprisingly often neglected. At the other end of the scale we explored focusing on stakeholders and actually helping the team ‘feel’ them in the room through stakeholder mapping and physical team sculpting tools and techniques.

A question for us all to ponder, whether we are coaches, consultants, mentors or supervisors is “what is the shift that has to happen in me to shift the individual, team and ultimately the organisation?” What shift have you made in your coaching recently and how is supervision helping you to have the courage to make that shift in service of the client organisations?

This enlightening and challenging module was led by Peter Hawkins, who will be running a one-day Alumni Masterclass ‘Leadership Team Coaching’ at The School of Coaching on Tuesday 10 July 2012.

>Read More

By Sandra Purucker at Friday, 11 May 2012




Mapping the Mind: The Threat State

Following on from last week’s blog, the second presenter at the EMCC’s symposium, ‘Mapping the Mind’, Chris Samsa lead an engaging workshop, ‘NeuroScience in Coaching’. He demonstrated how even the tiniest suggestion of a threat can impact performance. The amygdala (part of the brain sometimes called the ‘Freaker’), limbic and sympathetic nervous system response triggers the release of the stress hormone, cortisol into the body and this is usually referred to as the ‘fight and flight’ syndrome.

This ‘Threat’ state is fast acting, and we have the propensity to stay in this toxic state for long durations, way beyond the time taken to remove the stressor or threat, it is also likely that dopamine and adrenaline (feel good hormones) are lowered.

By comparison we have lower propensity to be in the opposite state, one that he termed the ‘Reward’ state, this is slower to activate, milder, shorter lived, less common and feels good as adrenaline and dopamine levels are higher.

This raises the concern that given the levels of uncertainty within many workplaces; our coachee’s have a higher likelihood of arriving for a coaching session in a ‘threat’ state. The work of Dr. Herbert Benson determined that it takes a minimum of three minutes of breathing, meditation or relaxed movement to stimulate the relaxation or parasympathetic response to access the ‘Reward’ state. The ‘Reward’ or relaxed state is probably akin to ‘Self Two’ in Tim Gallwey’s Inner Game, where both coach and coachees do their best work and thinking.

So how can we as coaches combine the latest findings from neuroscience to help clients improve their quality of thinking and achieve sustainable performance and results?

Firstly noticing the coachee’s state and kind acceptance of that state (that is not pushing it away or perceiving it as unwanted or negative), for example, noticing a client is late and apologetic; the coach acknowledges and says ‘thank you for apologising you must be really busy and have a lot on at the moment’. This appreciation and awareness will do a lot to calm the coachee’s ‘threat’ or stressed state.

Secondly, use movement within a coaching session; moving the body uses up and burns off the cortisol (stress hormone) and engages areas of the brain involved with movement rather than those involved in ruminating thoughts (negative thoughts also trigger the amygdala) and helps us become more attentive and engaged. Something as simple as walking to the kitchen or water cooler for a drink, moving rooms or chairs will help, if your client is up for more, try coaching on the move, walking in a park has an amazing effect!

Dr. Herbert Benson: An Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Behavioral Medicine section of the New England Deaconess Hospital. He is the founding president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute and author/co-author of over 100 scientific papers and more than 80 books, including the ground breaking and bestselling title; The Relaxation Response., published in 1975

Tim Gallway's Inner Game: A phenomenon when first published in 1974, the Inner Game was a real revelation. Instead of serving up technique, it concentrated on the fact that, as Gallwey wrote, “Every game is composed of two parts, an outer game and an inner game.” The former is played against opponents, and is filled with lots of contradictory advice; the latter is played not against, but within the mind of the player, and its principal obstacles are self-doubt and anxiety.

By Lynne-Marie Eccleston at Friday, 20 April 2012




‘Mapping the Mind’ a Journey of Discovery

The European Mentoring & Coaching Council’s (EMCC) conference ‘Mapping the Mind’ a journey of discovery for coaches and mentors was held in London on the 6 March 2012. The day focused on the psychology of coaching and mentoring and neuroscience in coaching and mentoring. The event was designed to create new thinking and new approaches in people’s coaching and mentoring practices.

The event was well attended with around 50 people from organisations and independent coaches. Organisations represented included NHS, Cooperative Society, Ernst & Young, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, BDO LLP and many more.

The first of three presenters, Catherine Sandler discussed the ‘Psychology of Coaching’, specifically the psychodynamic relationship between the coach and coachee. She explored the role of the coach, to bring to consciousness the invisible drivers of the coachee’s behaviours.

Catherine works with clients to understand their current work environment and perceptions of ‘what’s so’ or in GROW terms their reality. She then develops a hypothesis to inform her work with the coachee, bringing in questions that raise awareness, in a similar way to appreciative enquiry. This enables the coachee to become conscious of drivers for their current behaviours which previously lay just below the field of their conscious awareness.

For example a client Catherine worked with had recently been promoted; he displayed lots of drive and ambition to get things done but lacked the collaborative skills to forge new relationships will fellow board members. Catherine facilitated a meeting with the clients manager and the client to convey feedback about the ‘what’s so’.

Catherine then explored previous team and group relationships with the client, he became aware that he had always formed part of an ‘alternative’ group, never part of the main group. On reflection he noticed this occurred at college and school where he always set himself apart in some way. Exploring this allowed him to decide and make informed choices about the behaviours he wanted to adopt in his new role. He decided to be more collaborative with board members focusing on building cohesive team relationships.

During the presentation, Catherine commented that often ‘what gets you there, won’t keep you there’ in her reference to the behaviours that get employees promoted are not always the behaviours required to sustain performance at senior levels.

Catherine’s coaching style might be more directive than The School of Coaching’s and at the same time a nice fit with raising awareness and ‘awareness being curative’ Tim Gallwey; Inner Game. As with all coaching techniques the rapport and relationship the coach develops with clients is imperative for success, as well as contracting around feedback.

Catherine also mentioned the importance of work being undertaken in the neurosciences, the subject of the second talk, more about this next week.

By Lynne-Marie Eccleston at Friday, 13 April 2012




Getting the Edge

Have you ever left work in the evening on time, with zero mail in your inbox, acknowledging yourself for getting through your to do list and getting to meetings on time, calm and prepared?

I can hear the response… Up until yesterday I would have said the same, a resounding ‘never’ well at least to two of the above. So if as coaches we can’t answer yes to all of the above, what chance do our clients have?

Does this sound more familiar? As professionals most of us start each day with a parade of email, paperwork, interruptions, and responsibilities. All too often the pace of work and life cannot keep up with it all. Things start slipping through the cracks. Stress takes over and by the end of the day we're wondering: What have I forgotten? How did my to-do list get longer?

On Wednesday this week, our European Community spent a day with Robertt (yes two ‘t’s) a productivity specialist from ‘The Effective Edge® , and pretty much we all left work that day having emptied our inboxes, with a system of self management in place using some of the powerful, and up until now (at least for me) hidden tools in Outlook. We returned to work on Thursday with a life-changing philosophy to increase productivity and be effective!

One interesting fact which was shared by Robertt was it takes 4 minutes to re-focus after each interruption, for example, your focus is diverted every time you scan through a new email.

The payoff

  • One additional productive hour per day and increase output by 15-20%
  • Management of day-to-day tasks efficiently and seamlessly
  • Creation of a tracking system to keep work moving
  • Review and design of projects for maximum impact
  • An email protocol
  • New skills to stay focused, relaxed and empowered

What we now need to do is practice an hour a day for the next 90 days to embed new skills and ways of working and turn one day with Robertt into an unconscious competence. This programme has fundamentally changed my perspective to emails. Emails no longer manage me, I manage my emails.

To find out about The Effective Edge®

By Lynne-marie Eccleston at Friday, 9 March 2012




Economic Worries Dominate 2012

The top agenda for coaches in 2012 (according to the readers’ survey, Coaching at Work) is responding to economic challenges and demonstrating return on investment (ROI) and value for money.

Nearly half of respondents (49.2%) said helping clients to cope with the uncertainty that the economic downturn brings and making sure coaching is fit for purpose will be priorities for 2012.

For three years running in the survey, and high on the agenda again in 2012 is the evaluation of coaching effectiveness, ROI and value for money.  This was similarly stated in the ICF Global Coaching Survey in their initial Executive summary two weeks ago.

Other trends from the survey; coaching is seen to be changing, becoming more aligned with business needs and more integrated into other initiatives.  In addition standards and accreditation, health and well-being coaching and team coaching were all on the agenda for 2012 according to Coaching at Work Readers.

Mentors can respond to the current climate too. Some feel the current crisis is a crisis of leadership. Mentoring priorities included talent management, responding to the economic climate and working with youths. Specifically upward mentoring from junior people about flexible working and better ways of managing was suggested.

>To Read Coaching at Work Article

>To Read ICF Global Coaching Survey 

By Lynne-Marie Eccleston at Friday, 24 February 2012

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Set Your People Free Part 2

Most conversations about the development, performance and learning of another happen or should happen within the work place between managers and team members. 

Gaining the competitive edge, in Mike Taylor’s (an Alumnus of the School) experience, the most exciting benefit comes from leaders across the business becoming internal coaches and mentors. Open, trusting conversations are rare in corporate life. Google thinks so too!

The New York Times reports on a project carried out by Google called Project Oxygen. The aim of the project was to find out what the best managers at Google do, to have teams with individuals that perform better, are retained better, and are happier. The project team gathered more than 10,000 observations about managers — across more than 100 variables, from various performance reviews, feedback surveys and other reports. They then looked for some preliminary patterns in the data and formed hypotheses. 

They then gathered additional data by systematically interviewing managers to test these hypotheses. Finally, they analysed the data and drew conclusions. The conclusions were summarised in 'Google's Rules' which consists of a set of eight good behaviours and three pitfalls of managers. They bring many wider benefits for the business including more effective decision-making, positive and earlier resolution of different views, difficult issues and conflicts, higher confidence levels and even faster budget setting. 

>To Read Google’s Rules: Eight Good Behaviours and Three Pitfalls of Managers 

By Lynne-Marie Eccleston at Friday, 17 February 2012




2012 ICF Global Coaching Study

In June 2012 the International Coach Federation (ICF) commissioned an ambitious piece of industry research into coaching. The research was completed by PricewaterhouseCoopers and responses were completed by over 12,000 coaches from 117 countries in 9 languages worldwide.

Out of these, 7,700 responses were from ICF members, 52% of these were based in North America and 16% in Western Europe. The initial executive summary highlights the following :

  • From the research and extrapolating the figures it is estimated that there are 47,500 professional coaches worldwide.
  • Coaches seem to be most active in the higher income regions of North America, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand and as such are not evenly distributed around the world. 
  • Outside the higher income regions coaching is experiencing rapid growth for example in Latin America and the Caribbean. 
  • The slowest growing region appears to be Western Europe.
  • Overall positive balances in the trend indicators clearly point to a profession that is continuing to grow through difficult economic times. 
  • From the study, the report estimates global coaching revenues to be close to US$2billion, this excludes any associated consulting or training revenues that may also provide professional coaches with income. 
  • The report states Coaches are looking confidently to the future, with expectations over the next 12 months of increasing demand (clients and sessions) leading to growth in annual revenue and income from coaching. 
  • And the ‘key issues for the future include tackling obstacles such as untrained individuals who call themselves coaches and availing of opportunities to increase awareness of the benefits of coaching in terms of return on investment (ROI) and return on expectations (ROE).

The full report is due in the coming weeks. 

ICF Global Coaching Study: Executive Summary


By Lynne-Marie Eccleston at Friday, 10 February 2012

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Supervision: What is Disconnected That Needs to be Connected?

The School of Coaching has always placed a strong professional emphasis on regular supervision and in our continuing commitment three of our Faculty (Executive Coaches) are undertaking further development and certification in Supervision. We would like to share their learning journey with you on such an important coaching topic over the coming months.

The Supervision Foundation course re-emphasised the ‘Seven Eyed Model of Supervision’ that is introduced and used in The School’s Coach’s Programme for peer supervision. During the course we disassembled the constituent parts of the model, became clear on intent and reassembled to supervise holistically. A timely reminder; was to provide the supervision that the coach needs and not the supervision that the Supervisor wants to give, a perfect mirror of the School’s ‘following interest’ approach. A major theme of the training programme is to be alert to what is disconnected that needs to be connected whether that be within the coach, the coachee, the client organisation, the supervisor and the relationships between them, with the intention of raising performance in all parties. 

Watch out for our future blogs as our training continues and in between time we would like to hear any thoughts or questions you have in relation to supervision.

By Helen Atkinson & Sandra Purucker at Friday, 3 February 2012

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