Taking control of your own professionalisation

Very important task of the coach to really have the tools at hand.

Taking control of your own professionalisation

Part 2 – Learning to navigate

The second part of the coaching training was about getting to know, classifying, applying and reflecting on useful tools for coaching practice.

Finding your way in the coaching landscape

Similar to a view from the summit into the distance, there are landmarks that can be used to determine where we are in the coaching landscape. Often these are prominent peaks that we are already familiar with or have heard of. Some are close to us, others are further away. While there is a lot of talk about systemic coaching in Germany, I also went into the second module with the question in the back of my head which approach is taught at Henley, in order to be able to classify where we get the coaching tools from.

There are various tools that facilitate the assignment of peaks. In the mountains they are boards, maps or apps and in the coaching landscape they are:

  • relevant literature (e.g. The Coach's Handbook by Jonathan Passmore, e.g. chapter 4),
  • videos (e.g. the Gloria Tapes),
  • lectures (e.g. online via the Henley Live Community) or
  • the coaching trainings themselves, with the Henley Psychology Wheel and the exchange with experienced coaches being particularly valuable resources.

The answer to the question about the classification of the coaching approach satisfied me: At the PCEC we are guided by an eclectic and integrative approach. The basis is a variety of psychological approaches, whereby we do not fixate on one approach. From the consideration of several psychological currents, an approach that is suitable and coherent for the coach is developed individually. Positive aspects for me are that the approach is not too dogmatic, is psychologically sound, incorporates findings from research and also takes the coachee into account by adapting to his/her needs. It is therefore important to plan and follow one's own path from the approaches that I have now become acquainted with.

The necessary equipment

Coaching has many advantages and can be very helpful in finding solutions to personal and professional challenges. However, the downside should not be completely ignored. Carsten Schermuly points out common side effects that can occur in coaching sessions: for example, that the underlying problems are not dealt with or that the coachee's original goals are changed (Schermuly 2020: 73 ff.). Regarding the fact that coaching can also have side effects, it is of great concern to me to have a virtuoso command of a basic set of coaching tools. My goal is to support and help the coachee without doing any harm. This requires both: the application of the tools and the reflection on this application. Yes, it needs repetition and practice. This happens in many small sessions directly in the module and more extensively in coaching practice sessions between modules. But application alone is not enough. In a guided reflection process, the exercises and one's own coaching sessions are reflected upon in order to continuously develop. For this purpose, ways of reflection are shown (e.g. the Henley Eight, Reflective Writing according to Jenny Moon) and the importance is emphasised through assignments. My learning here is that reflection is something you have to do consciously.

One insight from my reflection is that it is a very important task of the coach to really have the tools at hand. This means that the procedures must be internalised so that attention can be fully focused on the coachee. Nancy Kline also emphasises this in her book "Time to Think" when she talks about (fruitful) attention. If I as a coach am too busy taking notes, thinking about which step to take and this doesn't come automatically, I notice less on the outside. In my opinion, I only succeed in noticing what else is there and is not being said if I have security on the application level of the tools.

Despite possible side effects, research shows that, overall, coaching is an effective tool in human resource development (Schermuly 2020: 275).

I think that the approach in PCEC of application and reflection can enable exactly that, to learn the tools to keep side effects low.

Jan Hinzmann

Consultant bei Cevey Consulting GmbH