The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Failing to reach a coaching goal

The team was discussing a coaching case and trying to assess what had happened. It was one of these situations in which the coachee wanted coaching to solve her problems. She was challenged as a leader to, as she was expressing it, make her team do what she wanted.

However, during the coaching process it showed that she was looking for tools she could put in place easily and focused on having the results she needed urgently. Given the situation she was in, her sense of urgency made sense and the work had unfolded in implementing first solutions and avoiding getting into bigger problems.

It was a situation in which the coachee was receiving what she had been asking for and was satisfied with the progress she was seeing herself make.

However, this type of work didn’t leave enough space for her to look beyond the urgent problems she was experiencing. As time moved forward, she eventually found herself back in one of the situations she had been trying to prevent through the coaching.

Her main coaching goal thus hadn’t been reached. A challenging situation for the coach as well as the coachee.

But none that can be answered with what has been wrong or what has been an error in the work done.

This isn’t a situation in which the coach can be the only person responsible for the outcome. Any coaching relationship is co-created. This means that both coach and coachee stay responsible for their contribution to the relationship.

This isn’t to say that the coach or coachee would be free from any error. And it is a situation that invites the coach to go into supervision to review the work that has been done and learn from the unfolding of the events.

However, it isn’t a situation that allows to search for whose fault the result is.

Not only that it would prevent both from investigating their learnings from the common journey or allow one side to reject their responsibility. It would transform coaching from a process in which a coachee finds support and learning, to a result focused type of work that expects the coachee to be able to reach that goal in whatever possible constellation.



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