Edited in part by Kathy Norwood, EdD
Contributing Authors: Kathy Norwood, EdD, Mary Ann Burke, EdD
Paperback: 438 pages
Publisher: Fielding University Press, April 27, 2020
Fielding Monograph Series (Book 14)
“This important volume will be a valuable tool for leadership coaches and coach trainers who are shaping the next generation of leadership coaches.”
Dr. Damian Goldvarg, Past Global President, International Coach Federation
“If Coaching is what you do and a Coach is who you say you are, this book connects the dots. It distinguishes the journey of how coaching began and the human science of why coaching is so powerful. It elevates the understanding of why coaching seems simple in theory and why is it so difficult in practice. The reader will be captivated by the marriage of deep research with evidence-based coaching practices; practices that hold the potential to elevate the thinking, insights and behavior of the coach and thus impacting and supporting clients. Each chapter of this book is a unit of study in itself. It reconnects us to the giants who influenced this profession and the scholars and practitioners who inspire and energize our continuous professional journey of growth and development.”
Kathryn Kee, PCC; Vicky Dearing, PCC; Results Coaching Global
“While several chapters specifically address leadership coaching, the scope of the book extends beyond this to explore fundamental aspects of the coaching relationship, the transformative power of coaching and systemic perspectives on both individual and organizational coaching.”
CB Bowman, MBA, BCC, CMC, MCEC – CEO Association of Corporate Executive Coaches (ACEC); CEO MEECO Leadership Institution
“The field of evidence-based coaching is young and growing quickly. This book provides a solid bridge between the gaps that scholars and practitioners always describe. I encourage anyone to scan this book, because my experience was that I could not put it down. I read a few chapters. Took some notes. Then read a few more chapters. Then shared ideas with clients. We all need provocative chapters that inform our practices.”
Doug Gray, PhD, PCC is also an engagement manager and executive coach with CoachSource
“The team at Fielding University (a graduate school in Santa Barbara, California) can justifiably feel proud of this ample and informative tome, packed with evidence and insights for practitioners and researchers in coaching psychology. Its 27 contributors have produced 19 full chapters opening up a very full agenda for our work as coaches.
Taken together, this tackles what I sense is a key question for us. How do we coach? If we broadly accept that we’re trying to build the self-efficacy of our clients towards their accomplishing certain agreed-upon goals, how on earth do we manage this when what actually occurs in our coaching engagement, for better or worse, remains locked away within the four walls of a meeting room. When coaches are really honest, they struggle in the heat of the moment to steer the encounter with their clients. After those moments, it is impossible for us to deduce for certain the difference we have made, because the impacts play out over an extended time in our client’s system where every part and every relationship is living, moving and constantly changing. Looked at this way, the practice of coaching is a mysterious and risky, hit or miss activity. It is quite perplexing when serious questions emerge in the heat of our practice. Of course, this shows us why we need research.
This book can support our foundational training, our coaching research and our ongoing reflective practice. The subject matter is clear, unconventional, challenging and up to the minute. From our ancestors (Freud, Jung, Frankl, Reich, Rogers, Maslow, Perls, etc.) we gather a set of root concepts that underpin our talking cures. We find out how broad and deep we might go with our client leaders to transform the social processes in their organisations and communities, remembering that without such transformation they will be ineffective and caught with their colleagues in today’s stressful VUCA environments. It is helpful that we are given various models (Adult Learning Theory, Appreciative Inquiry, Adaptive Leadership, Immunity to Change etc…) and we are pointed to tools (such as listening to emotion, shifting the abrasive leader’s behaviour, use of self, neuroscience, mindfulness, cognitive bias, meaning making) to advance our understanding of this work.
I freely admit that reading this was a deep dive for me, like snorkeling in the Red Sea, swimming amongst exotic and burgeoning sea life, not all of it friendly. I began casting my mind back 32 years, when I began selling my services as a coach and little of what’s written here was known or available to me. I did not know then that we are part of a ‘human evolutionary spiral’ or that most of the world’s population lives on a first tier called ‘mechanistic’. But it makes a lot of sense to one who has been busy exploring a second tier, that is described here as ‘Quantum Coaching’ (in reference to Werner Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle that brought us to a new, post-Newtonian science in which we choose what to observe and we recognise that the act of observing changes what happens). I was one of those practitioners who wanted to explore the subtle dynamics between the helper and helped. It seemed vital to grow awareness of what happens beneath the skins on both sides of the coaching encounter. Don’t we all y earn to discover how we can create that particular quality of interpersonal exchange that unlocks the intelligence, creativity, capacity and the will to bring about change. The book underlines that as we develop this ‘inter-subjectivity’, we can begin where our client is and really trust the value of their varied perspectives as they grapple with the wicked complexities that hobble and snare them. With this foundational sense of who we are ‘Being’ in a coaching encounter, we can grab hold of the available tools (such as the metaphors, symbolism, life story, archetypes and somatic resonance referred to here) better to connect with our clients and co-create new realities.
After all, co-creating new realities is what our work is really all about. This book makes it delightfully clear through two case studies that when our clients are having difficulty changing things, whether these things are inside them or surrounding them, it is painful that the way forward is hidden and impossible for them to grip. This is not easy to see or to speak about and the obstacles are embedded in social processes that occur in relationships of every kind. One case study explores why so often women and minorities fail to thrive in the construction industry. We are shown an un-named conspiracy of silence that everyone plays their part in maintaining, despite the harm to all concerned.
In a second case study, ‘Equity In Education’, we find out how coaching that is intended to be transformational in ironing out inequalities, runs up against so-called ‘hegemonic barriers’ put in place by those in charge (i.e. what is declared as ‘non-negotiable’ and closed to discussion). We are shown how, in such circumstances, well-meaning people are compelled to make hurtful and hateful choices. When the roots of their inequitable behaviours are masked under a dark shadow of fear, shame and anger, it becomes the coach’s job to shine a light and try to liberate those who are locked down in that harmful inequity.
Here is a revealing clip.
Coach: (When you said) ‘Their children clumped in with our children’ … What does that mean?
Teacher: Well, you know, the refugees. I mean, we have 37 languages spoken in our district. Many new students are coming in with deep levels of emotional trauma.
Coach: That sounds difficult. You mentioned that as a teacher you have always felt competent. How have your current experiences impacted you as a professional?
Teacher: Oh boy, I don’t think I want to talk about this…
[Coach Considerations: At this point the ‘detective’ coach is becoming aware of language: district beliefs, their children vs. our children, longing for the good old days, etcetera… that limits her choices and… her sense of efficacy and ultimately impacts her students negatively. The coach is beginning to get a headache….]
We are shown how this coach enters the emotional soup with the teacher, ready to grapple with the hegemonic system, knowing there will be an onslaught of emotions, yet confident she will survive it. How can she be so confident? Her education and reflective practice trained her to self-monitor, listen to her emotions, notice her assumptions, expose her self-deceptions and steer through the emotion. She moves skillfully through the roles of detective, awakener, witness, shaman and muse, to release the teacher’s repressed anger and restore her coherent self. In conclusion, this book makes a substantial contribution to bring its readers to the forefront of the emerging field of 21st century coaching psychology. Over the last 20 years, this field has swiftly evolved and matured, from a few loose models (like GROW for example) to include a far richer and more complex mapping of what really matters between coach and client. The book calls this ‘post-modern’ while I have heard it called the ‘soft stuff’: it is relational, qualitative, experiential, reflexive and dynamic.
At over 400 pages, I won’t deny this is lengthy and, in places, repetitive. Chapters presented as academic papers are bound to be less digestible to practitioners like me than the ‘ready to cook’ style we are more used to. Yet I find it reassuring that the soft side of our work is so well captured and it is valuable to find this gap being filled. Here, established researchers can find out where to direct their future studies, while practitioners may be stimulated to further develop their craft. For those newer to the field, this will broaden and deepen your understanding of how coaching really works beneath the skins of coach and client.”
Tony Page, Peer Practice Group Coordinator, SGCP, Coaching Psychologist Vol 16, December 2020 (See Full Review on Pages 71-73)
About the Monograph
Innovations in Leadership Coaching: Research and Practice offers a multi-disciplinary, scholarly, and post-modern perspective on coaching in the twenty-first century. In this volume, scholar-practitioners present innovative theories, models, and practices in coaching which are aligned with a new generation of coaching that is relational, experiential, reflexive, and dynamic. The chapters in this monograph examine the people and events taking place in a time and place which is characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Using evidence from theory and research, the chapters offer an evidence-based grounding for the work of head and heart that is coaching.
Responding to complex environments and individuals, several chapters offer integrative, multi-disciplinary coaching models and strategies. These models explicitly address the whole person of both the coach and coachee in the coaching conversation at deeper and more integrated levels. The Core Competency Model, as updated by the International Coaching Federation, incorporates new elements which address the importance of cultural, systemic, and contextual awareness. Implicitly, this emphasis on the coach’s embodiment requires evidence of coach-client interactions that are grounded in theories and models which specifically encompass coach-client dynamics, coach presence, self-awareness, and depth of engagement.
The five sections of the book address this expanded perspective in various ways.
Part I lays the groundwork with an overview of the “ancestors” of coaching whose theories and practices have informed coaching from its beginnings.
Part II consists of five chapters including research, theories, and models that inform coaching with leaders and executives.
Part III includes four chapters focused on a variety of theories, research, and techniques that enable transformational change with coaching clients.
Part IV includes four chapters focused on coaching in an organizational or group context.
Part V includes three chapters covering research and applied theory for educating and developing professional coaches.
This volume is intended for practicing coaches, researchers, coach educators, and students of coach training programs. Researchers will enjoy reading about current studies using both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies applied in multiple coaching contexts, including corporate, nonprofit, and education for both individuals and groups. Coach practitioners will appreciate innovations in coaching theory and methodology that have immediate practical application with their clients. Coach educators will find fresh perspectives and new reading material to include in their training programs. Students will gain a deeper appreciation of the theories underpinning evidence based coaching, which serve as lenses through which we work with clients as evidence based coaches and scholar-practitioners.
Dr. Mary Ann Burke – Chapter 15
Dr. Kathy Norwood – Chapter 16