Following on from other contributions on the topic of competence, Bob Garvey argues for a return to the values of humanism   Discourses are employed in order to shape social contexts. Coaching, located within a business context, is influenced by that context and the main discourse of business management is the ‘rational pragmatic’ (Garvey & Williamson, 2002). This means certain ways of thinking and behaving are valued and others are not. For example, the management discourse values a reductionist perspective and is concerned with simplification of the complex and celebration of the practical. Arguably, many professional bodies are populated by […]


Is your coaching all about happy endings? Probably not – and nor should it be. For most of us, the real success happens in very small increments Everyone loves a happy ending. It’s the basic assumption that we all have when reading a story or watching a film, and as writers we know that’s what our readers expect. However, that doesn’t reflect real life and it got me thinking about how the coaching community describes its own success. I hugely appreciate the effort people make in writing books, but it’s these examples I’m pointing a finger at in this column […]


What ideas and themes has Brexit brought about in the behaviour of groups and individuals? Is there anything we can create out of this chaos? By Rachel Ellison Shock. On both sides. Then the drama of the unknown. Britain voted out. On 23 June 2016, 52% of the electorate voted to leave the European Union (EU); 48% voted to remain. Within hours, the British Prime Minister resigned. So did the Brexit leaders. There was dismay, as the disruptors and leaders of the Out Campaign, Boris Johnson (Conservative Party) and Nigel Farage (UK Independence Party) abandoned their followers, no longer convinced, […]


The value of ethics By Magdalena Mook The International Coach Federation’s Code of Ethics doesn’t tell its members what to avoid ethically. Instead, it tells them how to be as an ICF member   As more people across the world turn to coaching for personal and professional reasons, it is increasingly incumbent on this thriving community to raise awareness of professional coaches’ integrity, commitment and ethical conduct. It’s equally important to be consistent in how we reflect who coaches are and what they stand for. In addition to developing a definition and philosophy of coaching, the International Coach Federation (ICF) […]


This issue, a male view on the gender debate: how can we move past masculine/feminine expectations in organisations? By Neil Scotton Complex issues rarely have simple, singular answers. There are many causes, forces, players and implications. It is, by definition, complicated. Our culture doesn’t like complicated. It wants simple. Digital. Good guys, bad guys. It asks: are you for or against, in or out, guilty or not guilty? It’s divisive. Often at the heart of a complex issue is a paradox; opposing perspectives that somehow are both true. For example: “We’re all different, and we’re all the same.” When the […]


In the 1999 film The Matrix, the red pill represents truth, the blue pill illusion. Coaches should take the red pill and accept life is messy, says Dr Paul Ballman What is your coaching philosophy? I’d be amazed if there’s any reader of this publication who has never been asked that question. Whether as part of coaching accreditation, to get on a list of coaching suppliers for a big organisation, or just in passing by colleagues, it’s a question to which we’re all expected to have a well-rehearsed answer. While there may well be as many answers as there are […]


Strengths-based coaching is a growing, positive force, argues James Brook in response to a recent Harvard Business Review article slamming the approach   The recent article in Harvard Business Review, ‘Strengths-based coaching can actually weaken you’, by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, has received a lot of coverage and generated a great deal of debate surrounding the strengths-based approach. I believe there is a fundamental lack of understanding about this approach to coaching, how it is applied and the well-established science behind it, as I explore below.   The evidence for strengths coaching is well-established The author’s first point is that there is […]


Our clients gain power when they find optimism to temper their pessimism. But take care to ground the former and use the latter to be pragmatic By Stephen Burt One of the most powerful things that we coaches can do with our clients is to help them engage with what is real in their lives. Outside the coaching conversation, they often have to pretend, keep part of themselves hidden or respond to others’ agendas for them. In engaging with the real, we help them create a platform for sustainable change or action that can withstand set-backs and disappointments. To do […]


As robotic process automation grows, people management will become even more important says Neil Bentley, chief knowledge officer, ActiveOps By Neil Bentley   No longer the preserve of science fiction, the impact of robots in the workplace has been subjected to intense debate in recent months, with a new study by the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford and accountancy firm Deloitte ( warning that more than a third of jobs risk being lost to automation over the next 10-20 years. From screen classics, such as Blade Runner and Ex Machina, to the thought-provoking TV series Humans, a […]


VIEWPOINT JANE KENYON Girls need role models that inspire them to lead, and a workplace that values female talent Having spent the past 10 years working with women and teenage girls from all walks of life, my learning curve on female empowerment has been fast and furious. My conclusions, however, are not always pretty or comforting. Our classrooms are not bursting with girls excited at the prospect of a corporate job. Even the bright ones destined for blue chip careers are ill-prepared for the misogyny of university life or for the first rung of the ladder, where they will earn […]