Our job as coaches is to support the coachee declare their "Impossible Future" and then take them through an incredible journey of new discovery. "masterful coaching is about intervening in people’s context so as to produce alternation in who they are being" (Hargrove 2008).
Learning models and loop theory support a non-directive coach approach. Learning that is internally motivated is more likely to compel change, instead of temporarily changing actions to comply with externally imposed requirements. Understanding how someone learns and how they see the world can provide information to facilitate said learning.
A coach can help each individual uncover their unique triggers that cause them to close the portal to this constant flow of exploration and openness that is difficult to maintain due to biases, blind-spots and blocks. Encouraging clients to take-on a beginner's mind, learn how to learn and avoid the phrase "this is how I've always done it" (Vaill, 1996).
Learning as way of being promotes a holistic approach, maintaining that it should be an intrinsically-motivated, reflexive, and personality-changing activity. Unlike institutionalized definition of learning, the principles of learning as a way of being offer executive coaches an opportunity to adopt a personalized approach to help his/her clients.
As Hargrove says "Nothing happens without personal transformation". If we start with the coachee's desired impossible future we can map out who they need to be as a leader to achieve it. To get there, they likely need to change. Maybe they see it today, maybe they don't. We all have a personal perception of who we are but often this is not aligned with how others perceive us.
As coaches, we have to find a way to create triple loop learning so that our coachee's perspective becomes aligned with that of others; to help them see who they need to be as a leader goes a long way to helping them achieve their impossible future. Tools such as 360 assessments can help us gather the data to facilitate a perspective shift for our coachees.
1. Hargrove, Robert A. (2008). Masterful coaching: Inspire an "impossible future" while producing extraordinary leaders and extraordinary results (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA; Chapter 7: Masterful Coaching is Transformational: Triple loop learning
2. Vaill, P. (1996). Chapter 2 excerpt. In Learning as a way of being: Strategies for survival in a world of permanent white water (pp. 56-86). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass