Building on the first three Parts of our mini-series on ‘What is organisational coaching?’, where we previously explored this question in the context of the power of the question itself, our assumptions about definitions and the power of not knowing, in this final Part 4 we’ll explore some of the many different facets of what we have learnt about organisational coaching, something that continues to be an emergent ‘work in progress’.
Organisational Coaching as a Practice
Something that is very important to us as Organisational Coaching is that we practise coaching as an inherent aspect of our organisational practice. What this means to us is we walk-the-talk, and my experience is this comes from the bottom up from our team of talented coaches and facilitators as well as from the top down, from our directors as well – something that is truly exceptional in its humility, commitment, and intent.
Organisational Coaching as a Method
At Organisational Coaching we do not see organisational coaching as a particular method, in the sense that we have Cognitive Behavioural Coaching, Gestalt Coaching, Solutions Focused Coaching or Psychodynamic Coaching. Rather than the potentially preconceived tunnel vision that often accompanies a particular method, at Organisational Coaching we take an eclectic approach where we embrace all methods, but none too much, allowing our team of wonderful coaches and facilitators to make their own choices about how they coach, creating an environment of creative difference, enabling everyone to shine, each in their different ways – yet, always with the shared thread of coaching with the wider organisational context in mind.
Organisational Coaching as a Perspective
Beyond any approach or method, one of the most important aspects of coaching mastery is the importance of context and perspective in any given coaching conversation. With this in mind, our idea of organisational coaching is about keeping an organisation-wide perspective as a steady constant throughout the coaching conversation, something that has a way of empowering value at both individual and organisational levels, optimising client return on investment. And like a pebble thrown into a pond, our approach of holding an organisational perspective has a way of rippling out throughout the wider organisation.
Organisational Coaching as a Way
While many organisations aspire to create a culture of coaching throughout their organisation, experience suggests this is easier said than done. At Organisational Coaching, we see coaching as a way of being, a way of shaping opportunities, ideas, relationships, outcomes, creativity, culture, change, communicating, influencing and the like, where ‘organisational coaching’ becomes a way of life, as a powerful enabler filtering throughout the fabric of the organisational culture.
Organisational Coaching as Discretion
While we mortals tend to fall into the trap of tunnel vision, not seeing the wood for the trees, the wise practice discretion, seeing the particular in the context of the whole. Taking an organisation-wide perspective, organisational coaching is about aspiring to follow the example of the wise and to speak and act with discretion, and to connect the particular with the wider context and organisation whole – and when we connect the dots in this way, sustainable, sensible change happens.
Organisational Coaching as Leadership
Stepping aside from stereotypical ideas about leadership, we see organisational coaching as an incredibly powerful style or approach to leadership, not only in its coaching philosophy, but also in its contextual outlook and the discretion that accompanies it. Alongside visionary, collaborative, directive and the many other styles of leadership, an organisational coaching style of leadership is the shift from a doer-leadership to an enabler-leadership approach, a much-needed outlook that makes a life-changing difference for so many of our clients.
Organisational Coaching as Culture
The challenge of creating a high-performance culture is a strategic necessity for any organisation, something that is easier said than done. Taking an organisational perspective, we believe that culture change is less about identifying a range of words to encapsulate the aspired values and behaviours and more about taking an organisation-wide coaching approach to reflect on what our speech and actions say about our actual culture. The difference is between potentially stagnant words of an aspired culture and the living engagement of an actual culture, and the ripple effect is a priceless emergent journey of continuous learning and evolution.
Organisational Coaching as Wonder
Drawing on the inspirational words of Albert Einstein, we embrace organisational coaching with a sense of wonder, intrigue, and curiosity, never closing it down with preconceived ideas and entry level definitions, instead opening it up with aspired mastery and emergent learning.
Organisational Coaching as an OpportunityGiven all we have learnt and continue to learn about organisational coaching, we see our coaching philosophy as a wonder-full opportunity to inspire and enable us to step outside our comfort zones and step into our stretch zones, in spite of the discomfort that goes with the many unknowns and uncertainties. Practising the humble art of not knowing, we become open to what needs to be known, and insights and foresights that we could never have imagined previously begin to surface within the coaching collaboration.
Organisational Coaching as a ChallengeWe see our organisational coaching philosophy as a challenge to our fledgeling industry, which has a tendency towards preconception and control. Our educational institutions, in their institutionalised outlook, want to tell us what to think, rather than enable us to explore and understand how to think. Until our profession grows up and has the independence of thought to embrace the power of not knowing and the practice of discretion, our capacity to transition beyond entry levels towards mastery is going to remain an unlikely proposition, no more than wishful thinking.
If what you’re read here intrigues and unsettles you and you find yourself wanting to transition your organisation towards its untapped potential, we’d be delighted to hear from you as we align ourselves in our shared journey of wonder and discovery of what organisational coaching means to you and how you’d like it to make a difference for your organisation and your aspired intentions.
While we can’t promise we’ll have all the answers, we can make a commitment to step alongside you into our collective stretch zones and ask the challenging questions of difference – and we have no doubt that our collective magic will begin to happen.