We all know that when it comes to any significant decision to address an injustice (maybe that word is too intense), culturally we have a tendency to swing the pendulum from one extreme to another.
About 15 years ago there started a trend in the arena of life mentoring that excluded the “guidance” part of relationships.  As an american culture we had just started wading through the public revelations of leadership abuse through physical, emotional and even sexual nature.  From the Catholic church to human trafficking – our media based culture started exposing the atrocities of abuse.  We can debate in another blog what led to this depravity, however for this communication I wanted to share what I believe is going to become the new form of life coaching.  My big question is did we move from selfish abuse, to just self-preservation?  Are we keeping the very tools that could help someone grow because of a cultural decision to reduce the authority position of a coach?
The coaching model that came as a response to the fears of abuse in influence and leadership resulted in a systematic shift from counseling to coaching.  The term coaching was redefined with some significant foundational principles:

  • Goal: Improve life and whole health (emotional, physical, spiritual)
  • Path: Here and now application, removing past as a significant contributor
  • Philosophy: Create the environment for self-awareness, self-generated solutions, and self-motivation.
  • Limitations:  Mentor/Coach to not use personal stories, personal solutions as a primary influence, but only as a confirmation to the self-response of the client.

Agreed: Goal – every “helps” based action should be centered around improving the recipient.  This is the basis of counseling, coaching, instructing, and even friendship (or so it should be). 
Disagree: Philosophy – – -With the fear of control or leadership-abuse (understandably), the community of mentor/counselor created a model that limited the influence of a coach in someone’s life.
Personal Experience: To be completely transparent, after serving as an executive for many years I became griped with the focal point of success in any industry to be based on relationships and people, and less on organizational structure…  So, I ventured into leadership development and eventually into a life coaching certification program.

I loved it!

I loved the position of being FOR someone else’s success.  Being in a position to unlock the potential of staff, volunteers, and even leadership in our organizations.  It was incredible and the tools and training were invaluable.

Then the problem came…

The problem – About 2 years into “practicing” this new way of thinking, I started feeling stifled.  I started feeling like all my experiences, and failures (and successes) were being wasted…  Here I was, in coaching meetings with staff and I have answers, I have real tools that could help them.  But the “model” didn’t really have room for being directive.  On top of that, I was a huge participant in the model of Situational Leadership where every leading relationship has two leadership qualities; directive and supportive…  I was throwing away the directive part of leading, and it was slowing down the success of those around me.
The Solution – before I go into what I did, this blog is for conversation.  I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this and would welcome feedback.  I broke into what I would call a hybrid-coaching model.  One where the goal was the same, but the path, philosophy and limitations were… modified.  Here is my model (and it does contain flaws).

  • Goal: Impact and Improve life and whole health (emotional, physical, spiritual)
  • Path: Past, Present and Future are significant contributors and goals
  • Philosophy: Create an environment for transparency and trust – leadership with transparency and accountability creates room for personal growth.
  • Limitations:  Boundaries – coaching will not overstep a person’s personal boundaries, nor a coaches personal satisfaction.  It continues to be a “giving” relationship but with no limitation (actually encouragement to) on sharing personal stories and experiences, being directive for overcoming significant areas of impedance, and developing strategy with accountability.

In my opinion this takes the best of counseling, mentoring and coaching and creates a leadership based, self-motivational growth strategy to overcome adversity.

What will become of life coaching models?

We shall see when this generation become the next leadership.
Comment, let me know your thoughts, challenge me, agree or disagree (we all grow).