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November 2012

Transaction or Transformation?

"Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun”

… Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Spanish painter and sculptor

The term "coaching" seems to have become a catch-all to denote any process of helping others improve their performance and achieve success. So ubiquitous has the term become that you will find hundreds of advertisements for jobs referencing the term "coach" as part of the title or "coaching" as a key ingredient of the role. It seems that coaching is very much the current trend and the expectation is that people in organisations will be able to coach others with little more than a short training course, if that.

Having worked as a professional coach for the past fourteen years, I have been an interested observer of how this increasing use of the term "coaching" is used. This trend has also brought with it a simplification of what it means to coach others. Hence the idea that a little learning about the coaching process is all that is required.

This month, I would like to share with you a more expansive way to define coaching. In our work, we define two approaches to coaching - transactional coaching and transformational coaching. Although these terms may well be defined differently by others, I would like to share our way of distinguishing them.

Transactional coaching relates to the achievement of desired goals and improved performance. It largely involves working with another person to help them develop clearly self-set goals, which are then pursued to success. The development of the skills required to achieve those goals may also form part of these interactions. In our work, we term this approach to development as "first order learning". This appears to be how most people see coaching in an organisational setting. As a result, many organisations establish coaching relationships, whether with an internal or external coach, that have a fairly short life. This makes sense in the context of managing people and helping them become more effective in a specific domain of their work. After all, the vast majority of organisations have a strong focus on financially driven success factors and coaching is seen as a tool to drive that success.

Transformational coaching transcends yet includes transactional coaching. It includes similar techniques, but it relates to personal growth. The term "personal growth" is another term that is well worn and open to interpretation. What we mean by personal growth is an individual's psychological development. Generally speaking, this means an increasing shift from egocentrism to an ethno-centric then world-centric and integral world view. The idea of stages of development is well researched by people such as Clare W. Grave, Jean Piaget, Jane Loevinger and Ken Wilber. This process of development is based on what we term, "second order learning". What underpins second order learning is a simple question, "why do I observe it this way?" With it comes a growing capacity to explore and understand ourselves together with more and more perspectives and, as a result, an ability to deal with greater complexity. In other words, as we move through stages of development, we develop a means to see and deal with more shades of grey. We become less black and white and the result is we can make better decisions in life.

The fundamental difference between the two approaches lies in how the coachee is focused. Transactional coaching starts from the premise that the coachee knows, or will uncover, what they want to achieve based on their existing way of being. As a result, the role of the coach is to help the coachee develop clarity about their goals and then put the strategies in place to achieve them. This can be seen as a process of narrowing focus.

Transformational coaching begins with a different premise. This approach initially seeks to expand the coachee's focus and view the world more broadly as a means of developing goals which address greater complexity before focusing on achieving those goals.

This distinction means that transactional coaching has a short-term and narrower focus, whereas transformational coaching is embraces a longer term view with a dynamic focus that expands and narrows as required.

In coaching, second order learning, and therefore transformational coaching, must involve a deeper understanding of the human condition and a means of interpreting that condition in the dynamic interactions of conversation. Our ontological approach to coaching embraces these ideas. We invite you to explore more articles on being human in our articles section.

If you would like to find out more, please write to us. We would love to hear from you.

Pause for Possibility

"He who has imagination without learning has wings and no feet."

… Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French essayist and moralist

Given our topic this month, we would like to invite you to ask a few questions designed to engage you in some second order learning. Think of an issue that is a current or was a recent challenge for you.

These questions explore only one facet of our way of being. Our emotional state about a breakdown already exists before we begin thinking about it. This can often colour the way we observe a situation and bias the story we have about our situation, which may not be as useful as we think it is.

If you are on FaceBook you might like to check out the Pause for Possibilities Project by clicking here.

Insights from a Master Coach - Chris Chittenden

Like Jacqui, Chris is an Accredited Master Coach with ANZI Coaching. As part of their webinar series, "Insights from a Master Coach", he was interviewed by Megan Leeds-Williams in September 2012 about his work and thoughts on the world of coaching. Chris has been involved in the world of coaching since 1994 and as some unique and interesting ideas of on the world of coaching. If you want to listen to Chris' interview you will find it below.

If you are a coach or an aspiring coach, we encourage you to go to the ANZI Coaching web site and find out more about the value of belonging to ANZI Coaching.

Some Plugs

Webinar: The Coaching Leader

How to lead engagement, accountability and productivity through coaching.

Jacqui and our American colleague, Denver Hudson, will be presenting a webinar, "The Coaching Leader", at the HR.com virtual conference, Developing Organizational Leadership Capabilities, to be held in late January.

This webinar poses the question and explores some answers as to “How coaching applies to leading?” This webinar highlights the importance of "The Coaching Leader", looks at the parallels between leading and coaching and includes some practical coaching applications that can be readily applied to leadership.

This highly practical session will offer you new perspectives on leading others as well as easy to apply coaching tools designed to increase engagement, foster accountability and boost productivity that you can use straight away.

Jacqui and Denver will share with you a paradigm shifting coaching approach to leading that allows you to pinpoint fundamental causes of disengagement, unreliability and low productivity. They will then share some ideas about how to create the conditions that cultivate enjoyment, responsibility and achievement.

The webinar is being held on Tuesday January 29th 7.30-8.30am AEDT.

To register for this complimentary webinar all you have to do is register on the HR.com site. To find out more simply click here.

Public Workshop: Solving the Accountability Puzzle.

Do you find that:

If these situations sound familiar to you, then you are not alone. They are common problems arising from poor organisational accountability.

Accountability continues to be a recurring theme in our work. Indeed we believe that accountability, along with engagement and productivity, form the big three areas of concerns within organisations today.

Creating a "culture of accountability" is NOT about creating a culture of punishment. When correctly understood and applied, accountability not only creates greater efficiency and therefore productivity, it provides for reduced stress and better working relationships.

Our 2012 accountability workshops have been fantastic and a great success and we will be running our next “Solving the Accountability Puzzle” workshop in March 2013.

This workshop is designed to give you a straight-forward and practical approach to addressing your accountability concerns and is ONLY $125.75 inclusive of booking fees and GST. This is remarkable value for a half-day workshop.

The workshop is on Wednesday 6th March between 8:30am & 12:30pm. Due to the highly interactive nature of the session, seating is limited, so get in quick!

You can find more information and check out what attendees at previous sessions have had to say about their experience by visiting our web site page on accountability.

Alternatively you can go straight to EventBrite and register today.


The Monthly Diversion

This month, some perplexing questions...

Why does rain drop but snow fall?

What disease did cured ham have?

What's the difference between unique and very unique?

We put in our two cents, but only get a penny for our thoughts. Who gets the extra penny?

When do you become important enough to be considered assassinated and not just murdered?

Can you cry under water?

Who decided that a round pizza should be put in a square box?

When you get to heaven, are you stuck for eternity wearing the same clothes you were buried in?

Why did we put a man on the moon before we realized it would be a good idea to make luggage with wheels?

Why are actors IN movies but ON television?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast?

Why does grass grow where you do not want it and not grow where you do?

Why do we say we slept like a baby when they wake up every two hours?


"I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by."

… Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English novelist and author of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"


Talking About Coach Training

Augment Your Coaching Skills

If you want to learn more about how to become more effective as a transformational coach then you need look no further than Talking About's approach to ontological coaching.ANZI

Most coaches are keen to continue to enhance their coaching skills. It seems this is almost innate for people who have chosen to be a coach.

Over the years, we have noticed two distinct approaches to learning. The first, which seems to be adopted by the majority, is to explore a variety of different skills to develop a "coaching toolkit". This approach seems to be favoured by people who are predominantly "coaching practitioners" and see learning as developing their craft.

They are predominantly looking for new and improved techniques.

The second approach favours the idea of learning in depth. This approach invites learners into the space of second order learning and the idea of developing the foundations of learning on which the coach's artistry is aligned and built. Given the nature of our approach to ontological coaching, this is what participants learn in our program. In doing so, we bring together a number of concepts and help participants create alignment in their thinking. Through this approach, you will learn:

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

To us, coaching is more than just a process. Great coaching involves a deep understanding of the human condition and the way we relate to each other.

Finally, one of the great benefits of undertaking our program is that, in addition to all the learning, you get your own coach for the period of your enrolment in the program. Added together, we believe that this program is an ideal way to help develop you as a "transformational coach".

We are very proud of our program and the quality of the graduates we produce. So if you are interested in finding out more then we invite you to visit our web site or write to us at info@talkingabout.com.au.

Join Us Online

Do you want to explore some of these ideas in more depth? Then, we invite you to join our LinkedIn or Facebook group depending on your preference and share any insights you may have. You can find us on LinkedIn by clicking here or on Facebook by clicking here.

Want to Read More?

Since the formation of Talking About in 2005, we have published our e-zine every month. Before that, Chris wrote regular newsletters and e-zines with Gaia Consulting dating back to 1995. If you would like to explore more of Chris' ideas then you can access our e-zine archive and view any newsletter written since 2005 by clicking here or to look at all the articles Chris has written over the years simply click here.

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