We see executive coaching and mentoring as conversational processes through which we seek to facilitate change in and through the manager. These coaching and mentoring conversations are part of the ongoing process of conversational interaction through which organization is enacted.
Executive coaching can be a valuable resource in supporting leadership development, organizational change, and business performance improvement. And this can be carried out either as a separate intervention or informally, in support of an ongoing consultancy relationship. Much of our work in this area falls into the second category.
Coaching conversations offer managers a structured opportunity to adopt a reflective and reflexive stance in relation to their own practice, in a challenging and supportive environment.
In our own coaching, we aim to help managers identify, and where necessary shift, those patterns of perception, interpretation, evaluation, and or behaviour, that they judge are preventing beneficial movement in their own thinking and practice.
It is important to recognise that, from our wiggly world view of organization, we cannot ‘stand outside’ the conversation – as an objective observer and reflector of the manager’s words and behaviour. We are necessarily active participants in those conversations.
In 2002, Chris successfully completed an Advanced Coach Training Programme in Executive Coaching.
Where formal coaching programmes are established, these tend to be time-limited and focus on a specific personal and/or organizational issue or objective. In contrast, mentoring is more about establishing a longer-term ‘learning’ relationship.
This involves the provision of vision, support, and challenge through ongoing dialogue. By “providing vision” in this context (as we stated in Informal Coalitions in relation to leadership practice) we mean “helping the manager to ‘see better’”. That is, enhancing their understanding and/or shifting their perspective, based on the sharing of our expert knowledge and/or relevant experience in the specific area being considered.