Posted in Coach development
It was 'billed' as a timely and provocative book which provides 'a wake-up call to move beyond the limitations of traditional coaching'. There was even a warning page that this was a provocative message with details about the strong reaction to the message experienced by the authors. I was slightly puzzled before and even reading 'Challenging Coaching' as I kept waiting for my personal wake-up call. Eventually I realised that for me personally it wasn't a wake-up call, I was already on-board with the themes here and the key one - coaches need to 'step up' and be more challenging rather than just being listeners and questioners. To think over and above what's presented from the client. I am over-simplifying here so don't take my words too literally. There is a lot more in the book and it's explained clearly.
Whilst reading 'challenging coaching' I did question my own thinking of my role as the coach in a coaching partnership. It certainly made me stop and think. I agree with the underlying message - challenge is key. As an ICF-certified coach, I see it links strongly to the competencies 'direct communication' and 'powerful questioning'. As an ICF assessor the key difference in newer coaches versus more experienced and masterful coaches is that these two competencies are much stronger. The masterful coaches are not afraid to ask the daring questions and to ask them in a way that is not 'directive' rather 'direct'. Coaches also build much more intimacy by taking a risk and ask the daring or challenging questions.
I agree with the principles in the book, my slight concern is in the implementation of it. As the authors highlight there's a distinction between coaching and consultancy and we have to be very careful that the distinction doesn't become blurred. That takes skill and experience.
FACTS mode; - feedback, accountability, courageous goals, tension and systems thinking. Loved it! I think it's useful, practical and pragmatic. Similar to my comments above I think it fits 'on top' of coaching competencies; it builds on what is ideally a solid foundation for coaches. Standalone I would want to be certain that 'tension' is clear and the coach was skilled to determine the 'right' amount of tension for the client and the specific coaching objectives.
I really enjoyed and appreciated the messages and themes within the book. I'd have liked there to be less content so it would be more easily picked up and utilised as I think some coaches won't read the contents fully which would be a loss. 'Challenging Coaching' is definitely a book for coaches to read and reflect on what it means to their own coaching practise and philosophy. It certainly adds to the growing coaching profession.