Who coaches the coaches? by David Goddin

This week is ICF’s International Coaching Week and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate & discuss coaching. So, each weekday I’ll be hosting blogs from a variety of authors exploring an aspect of coaching. Watch out for these posts here & on Twitter #coachingblogs.

The topic for today is “Who coaches the coaches?” which has been suggested by the lovely Barbara Thompson (@caribthompson).

This post has been written by yours truly (@changecontinuum) – I hope you enjoy it!

Who coaches the coaches?

It’s not a question you hear much of is it… Who coaches the coaches? Let me try to answer it by unpicking my own experiences.

Coaching Me

I’ve had a number of formal coaches over the years and have had ongoing supervision. A range of people have coached me and I’m not sure there has been a defining commonality other than coaching skill and a desire to support me.

Stylistically they’ve all been different. Some I felt were better than others. Others I felt better being with than some. They all helped me reflect on my needs and provided challenge when I needed it.

Do you know what though… When I think of the moments when something changed for me, the more recent ‘stand out’ occasions have come from informal coaching conversations. In a way I think this speaks to the power of asking great questions ‘in the moment’ with skill as well as care for me and what I need.

So when I look at who coaches me, it’s varied and it can be both formal and informal. However, it’s always been with professionals with coaching skill who care for me and what I need, not what they want to achieve themselves.

Never Coaching Me

Now I have to confess that my path has come across various people who would try to coach me, whether I like it or not… I suspect that there’s something about being a coach that brings you into contact with other coaches who feel the need to coach you.

I hate it. There’s nothing worse than trying to have a genuine conversation and then to feel the other person actively trying to coach you when it’s not what you want or why you’ve come together. Ironically, strictly speaking it’s ‘in the moment’ yet there’s something pernicious about it. It’s their agenda not yours. It’s unwanted, intrusive attention. Sadly, the coaches who’ve tried this on with me have always been qualified coaches…

I have to confess, it’s now actually a bit of a filter for me and in some cases a bit of a game. If it happens, I let it run just to see how wrapped up in their own agenda they get. It’s interesting how far some people will go. I don’t want to be associated with anyone who coaches like that.

So do coaches need coaching?

Just to wrap up, I’m concerned that there might be an assumption in the question “Who coaches the coaches?” that coaches need constant coaching.

In my opinion, beyond supervision, coaches don’t ‘need’ coaching any more or less than anyone else. They need to have experienced coaching. They need to be aware of when & how coaching could help them as well as others. However, to compel coaches to have ongoing, continuous coaching would just be a farce and probably another destructive opportunity for coaches to make money from coaches…

What do you think?


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