Coaches need to step up to the challenge, says John Whitmore

We can’t avoid the challenge of change even if we want to. Global instability will be with us for a lifetime anyway, so what are our roles and our goals as coaches? In the immediate term there are fewer clients in the market for most of us, and yet the need for what coaches have to offer is everywhere. Never has there been more urgency for people, all people, to take more personal responsibility for their lives. Is that not a principal outcome of coaching? The failures of leadership in banking, in politics and in Copenhagen are all too apparent, […]

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4 replies
  1. says:

    I don’t think that taking the the wider system into account is incompatible with honouring the organisational and individual’s agenda. Surely this polarised “either / or” thinking is the very type of thing that we as coaches use our skills to expose and to then help the client replace with something more intelligent and useful ? In all the best philosophical systems the world has produced, society only functions correctly when its subsets i.e. organisations, family units and ultimately the individual also behave in accordance with what is correct. Surely the whole can only ever be the sum or its parts? So there are responsiblities at all levels and we simpy cannot cop out by saying that we can only model behaviours that our client will approve of because they are paying, when those behaviours are obviously not taking responsiblity for their wider impacts. Cathy Williams

  2. says:

    The choice as I see it is a choice between a hedonic existence (the pursuit of happiness through pleasure alone, include Louis V and 4 x 4 in this) or a eudaiemonic existence (the pursuit of happiness through becoming the best that we can be). Hedonic habituation means that we can never achieve happiness through hedonism whereas the exploration of how we can maximise our potential is a sustainable and rewarding proposition.
    The pursuit of excellence is a noble cause but the blind pursuit of excellence without taking cognisance of (a) sustainability and (b) the common good has led us to the economic mess we are now in.
    There is a common agenda that we all share and that’s the well-being of ‘the whole’ we as coaches should challenge behaviour that is not aligned to this common agenda….who are we not to!

  3. liz
    liz says:

    To what extent do we or should we as coaches take into account the wider system? And how far do we go? Sir John takes this to the highest level- the world. Others argue that we should honour the individual’s agenda or the organisational agenda if that’s who’s paying. Things certainly hotted up at a panel debate at the EMCC UK’s annual conference earlier this month (May)- with various schools of thought on how wide we should take our agendas. Read the results in the forthcoming issue (July/August). And let us know what you think at Liz Hall, editor.

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  1. […] would argue that there is no greater calling than that (see Sir John Whitmore’s blog at ) while others are adamant that we have no place or right whatsoever other than to serve the agenda […]

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