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Profile: Professor Paul Brown

The limbic leader

Neuroscience expert Professor Paul Brown speaks his mind, and it’s our minds he’s passionate about. He tells Liz Hall why the neurobiology of behaviour is the future of coaching

With Paul Brown’s penchant for challenging the status quo, it seems fitting that we meet in London’s Reform Club, birthplace of many of the ideas, ideals and political activity expressed in the UK’s Great Reform Act of 1832.

Members of the former gentlemen’s club have included Winston Churchill, E M Forster, Henry James and H G Wells. Admission is not based on background, but character, talent and achievement – and Professor Brown has all three in abundance.

If anyone can convince me it’s coaching, rather than any other profession, that should carry the baton of neuroscience in the occupational arena, it’s Brown. Not only is he eloquent, charming and irreverent, he has an enormous wealth of expertise and knowledge at his fingertips.

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Rising Tsars

Coaching in Russia is at a much younger stage of development than in the UK. It lacks focus and regulation, and is poorly understood. Yet, coaching is beginning to find its place in the Russian business psyche, reports Lena Smirnova Business coaching classes may not require students to swallow pills, don ear muffs and wriggle into straightjackets, but for some Russian business people it’s a novel practice akin to a psychological experiment. And it’s one they’re often reluctant to take part in. In the 15 years or so that business coaching has been available in Russia, established psychotherapists and psychologists […]

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Welcome to the January 2013 issue of the newsletter

Welcome to the January 2013 issue of the newsletter And so another year begins, with snow in the UK, a helicopter crashing in London and not much in the way of economic recovery in much of the world. The UK economy contracted by 0.3% in the last three months of 2012, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). And here in Spain, where I’m currently based, the second EU bailout of 1.865 million euros is set to arrive by the end of the month. Some six million are out of work, many of my friends received […]

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Welcome to the December 2012 issue of the newsletter

Welcome to the December 2012 issue of the newsletter As we come to the end of 2012, the creation of the Global Coaching & Mentoring Alliance (GCMA) is emerging as Coaching at Work readers´ top choice for achievement of the year, according to our annual survey. We´re still gathering responses to the survey, which includes questions on your predictions for next year. Please take part here. Coaches have broadly welcomed the move to form the alliance by three of leading professional bodies, although there are some concerns in some quarters. We explore this latest development in a news analysis in […]

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Alliance: a unified voice for coaching?

News of the alliance of the International Coach Federation, the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC) and the Association for Coaching, broke at the EMCC’s annual conference in Bilbao in November. But is it a key milestone or the thin end of the wedge? Liz Hall finds out what you think… The creation of the Global Coaching & Mentoring Alliance, between three of coaching’s leading professional bodies, is exciting news, although it remains to be seen exactly what impact it will have. On the whole, coaches have heralded the development as a good thing, hoping it will finally bring desperately […]

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Welcome to the November 2012 issue of the newsletter

Welcome to the November 2012 issue of the newsletter I’ve just returned from the annual European Mentoring & Coaching Council’s conference in Bilbao in Spain, home to one of the Guggenheim museums. I was struck by how architect Frank Gehry has succeeded in creating a structure which is innovative and surprising yet which blends in beautifully with its environment- from the shallow moat which gives the impression it is part of the river, to the many curves and sheets of metal which reflect light and the structure’s surroundings. Within its walls are numerous galleries including one exhibiting Egon Schiele- further […]

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Welcome to the October 2012 issue of the newsletter

Welcome to the October 2012 issue of the newsletter I’m filing this newsletter from Kansas University’s Global Summit on Coaching, in Lawrence. The town was established in 1854 by anti-slavery advocates and saw much bloodshed when it became a target for the nearby Missouri-based pro-slavery faction. Campaigning for change runs deep in its veins. And today too, Lawrence is a site for innovation. The Kansas Coaching Project, headed up by Jim Knight, has pioneered ‘instructional coaching’ (IC) in the field of education. Described as “on-site professional developers who teach educators how to use proven instructional methods,” Knight admits instructional coaches […]

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We say kia ora…

Coaching that ignores the cultural heritage of non-Westernised clients is ineffective at best. Coaching psychologists in New Zealand understand this and are now required to adapt theories to suit Māori clients. Lisa Stewart reports

Tītmatanga o te matauranga
ko te wahangū,
te wāhanga tuarua ko te whakarongo.

The first stage of learning is silence,
the second stage is listening.

Māori Whakataukī (proverb)

Most coaches and coaching psychologists would agree it is important to adapt our theories and methods to suit our clients, and to respect and value their cultural world views and ways of being. But how often do we do this? In New Zealand, such adaptation is required for coaching psychologists. The New Zealand Psychologists Board1 acknowledges that “the practice of psychology in Aotearoa New Zealand reflects paradigms and world views of both partners to te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi”.

Registered psychologists (including coaching psychologists) must demonstrate “awareness and knowledge of their own cultural identity, values and practices”, and those of their clients – especially of Māori (the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand) as their Treaty partner. One of the reasons for this approach is to reduce the persistently poorer socio-economic, justice, health and employment outcomes for Māoris.

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Interventions must increase credibility through evidence-based results

By Ros Soulsby Coaches need to be more systemically minded, more challenging and more evidence-focused. In her opening address at the conference, Caroline Sandler, head of Sandler Consulting Executive Coaching Practice, underlined the importance of accountability – both for the individual being coached and the organisation commissioning coaching. She said that in spite of the economic climate, coaching programmes and practices were very much alive in business. However, clients were becoming more discerning and demanding of intervention results. Sandler found this raised three key points: coaches should be more systemic in their thinking, more challenging with clients and more evidence-focused […]

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Team GB uses “key values” to reach gold off the track, too

Engaging and consulting team members on key values with plenty of lead-in time contributed to Team GB’s shining performance off and on the track, said Sir Clive Woodward. Team GB won 65 medals, including 29 gold, at the London 2012 Olympic Games, but also performed impeccably at other times. Sir Clive, director of sport for Team GB, said this was because there was 100 per cent buy-in on values from all the athletes. “We had the whole of the British press chasing for scandal, but although there was lots of partying, nothing happened…This was the first social media event… we […]

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