Integral coaching® takes a holistic approach to personal and professional development by taking into account the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of a client – so that true insights arise and lasting growth can take place. Other forms of coaching may only focus on one aspect of a person – e.g. your career – and work on that area in isolation.
The break between each programme allows for an important ‘soak in’ period during which new learning can be practised and fully absorbed.
The Centre for Coaching is a joint venture between the Centre for Coaching (Pty) Ltd and the UCT Graduate School of Business – one of Africa’s leading business schools. The Centre is located at the UCT GSB campus and integrates seamlessly into that institution’s activities.
The Centre for Coaching collaborates with New Ventures West on course design and to develop appropriate programmes for the South African market.
Coaching is still an emerging industry and therefore still lacks standardisation – particularly here in South Africa. Accreditation ensures that programmes are internationally recognised and of a high quality – and sets practising professional coaches apart from ‘chancers’ attempting to enter a largely unregulated industry.
Coaching is a skilful methodology for developing self and others so that the leader is more effective and fulfilled. It involves the development of increasing competence in the person being coached. One of the key ways in which this is done is through enabling a coachee to notice how their ‘way of being’ enhances or hinders what they want to accomplish.
It is perhaps easier to start with what does not happen: you will not get advice; you will not be given a solution; you will not be told what to do; you will not receive suggestions on what to do; you will not be guided.
What will happen is that your coach will work with you in a specific way so that you develop the insights necessary to see new possibilities that you were previously unaware of.
Once you have seen the situation in the light of these new possibilities, your coach will work with you to develop practices and observations that will enable you to build your competence such that you can find the solution to or resolve your challenge or problem yourself.
A practice is a small exercise grounded in habitual behaviours, which is designed to enable you to practice some new skill or competence. E. g., a sitting practice is designed to develop your ability to sit still for a while every day, to become more mindful of your body and to just stop for a while.
An observation is where we start in building your self-awareness – or rather, your ability to observe yourself in the moment, whilst in action. An example could be to notice, in the meetings you attend over the next month, how often you speak in comparison to others. Your coach would ask you to jot this down and to reflect on this at the end of each day, but NOT to take any action. Just to observe your habitual behaviour when it comes to speaking.
Ask a coach how long they have spent learning, studying, researching and practicing the art of coaching. How many training courses have they attended? Who are these courses accredited through? Developed by? Run by? What previous experience does the coach have? At what levels? In which industries? How do they feel about the work that they do? What has their previous work experience exposed them to?
In some respects the power of coaching lies in its simplicity:- An integral coach® would explore your current situation, your way of being in the world, and would Dialogue around what you wish the outcomes of the coaching programme to be. These outcomes need to be clearly articulated and agreed upon by both coach and coachee. Once this is done, work starts on the way in which these outcomes can be reached.
The recommended minimum time is 6 months and many people choose to work with their coach for 9 – 12 months. Ideally, the length of your coaching programme depends on the depth and complexity of the challenges you wish to work on. A minimum of 6 months is recommended to, for example, develop a new competence such as handling performance assessment sessions constructively. A longer period of 12 months or more is required for addressing issues of fundamental change such as a questioning of your life purpose.
If you are experiencing a particularly turbulent or challenging life period, then you might well need a coach for 12 – 18 or even 24 months. But if, after 24 months you find you are still feeling the need for a coach, you might well wish to ask yourself if there is a chance that you are becoming dependent on your coach. This could happen if, for example, your coach was blurring the boundaries between coaching and mentoring or consulting. In this case the coach might be taking the role more as advisor and expert guide instead of coach. Then by all means, if you receive valued advice, and wish to continue, do so – just don’t call it coaching!
Most South African coaches prefer face-to-face coaching, with one session every two weeks for a minimum of 6 months to a maximum of 12 months. Each session lasts one to one-and-a-half hours. For those clients living futher away, one can mix telephonic and face-to-face coaching, and for more remote and international clients, coaches do all sessions telephonically, barring the first one or two, which are face to face.
We believe that it is important to have at least established a personal chemistry between coach and coachee, as well as a visual image of the client to work off for the remainder of the programme.
Only you can decide if you are ready to be coached. You have to want to do this, because your coach is going to need to ask you to apply your attention to areas of your life which you may have ignored or avoided in the past. Ideally, you are ready to be coached if you are curious about yourself and your relationship with the world around you; curious about how you learn, grow and develop. Most importantly, you need to be open to new thoughts, concepts, feelings, ideas and possibilities in all areas of your life.
On a physical and emotional level you need to realise that coaching can be emotionally and spiritually draining at times. Ideally you should have the physical and emotional space available to be able to invest time and energy into your coaching programme.
You will sit down with your coach and agree on what the desired outcomes of your coaching programme are. Whilst you might initially start off with a fairly generic notion such as “I want to improve my relationships”, your coach will assist you to boil this down into observable behaviours so that you can both recognize when this outcome has been achieved. For example, the comment above might be broken down into areas such as:
I will reduce conflict levels with my line manager
I will participate constructively with my team
I will manage to express myself honestly but without offending others
I will experience less conflict at home.
Yes – there are several ways of doing this. Some coaches encourage their clients to do a 360-degree appraisal at the start of the programme. This achieves the following:
the coach gets a grounded view of how the client is seen and experienced by those around him or her;
the coach and the client can identify additional strengths and development areas to work on;
the coach is able to design a more grounded and comprehensive programme.
One can then also encourage clients to do the same 360-degree appraisal at the end of the coaching relationship, in order to find out if other people have noticed a change and how they feel about this.
There is no accepted universal code of ethics for the coaching profession as yet. COMENSA has designing and set one up, to which your coach ought to subscribe. If your coach is a member of the ICF, then there is also a clearly articulated code of ethics to which all member coaches need to subscribe. All points are important in this Code, but the one which most clients fret about is that of confidentiality. All coaches, and our trained integral coaches in particular, take confidentiality extremely seriously. It is the bedrock of a successful professional career as a coach – some coaches’ commitment to confidentiality is to follow the code of ethics for the psychology profession in this regard.
Although usually the organization pays, a coach ought to consider their primary client to be the individual. This should always be cleared up front with the organization.
A coach might turn down an assignment, for the following reasons:
Coachee not ready or open to coaching.
Any assignment where it was felt that the organization expected an inappropriate level of disclosure or discussion with regards to the coachee.
Any coaching assignment where the coachee was not engaging with the process.
If the coach was required to coach a hierarchical relationship – e. g. , a boss and her subordinate. This would not allow trust to develop.
Each client is special and one shares wonderful moments. Here is a story from one coach:- One memorable case involved a time when I was working with a senior executive who was an extremely driven, technical, impatient, Alpha Male type. Nevertheless, he decided to throw himself fully into the coaching process. Any practice, observation, reading or task that we agreed to, he did meticulously in the fullest possible way. His insights came to him thick and fast – every session with him was a revelation for both of us. Whole new worlds opened up for him in his personal life, his family relationships, work relationships, team buy-in, and his relationships with his Board improved dramatically. So much so, that he was offered a huge promotion and international transfer with the comment that they could not consider him previously for this because of his non-existent EQ.
Each situation is unique. Often the presenting issue or reason for coaching is not the actual one. The most preferred is the situation where the coachee engages 100% with the process, no matter the context.
Least preferred is when the coachee has to receive coaching because, for example, it might be part of an organizational roll-out, but they don’t really want to do it and do not engage with the process in any way – they don’t do the things they commit to.