Foundationsof coaching


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Foundationsof coaching

  1. 1. “The early 1990s saw the emergence of the literature on coaching, which has introduced coaching theory frames, methodologies, and an important measure of rigor that OD practitioners have never really had within reach before. In that regard, the evolution of coaching has been a major asset to OD.” The Foundations of Coaching Roots in ODBy Matt Minahan I’m not sure that the year 1994 would as an AIDS patient in Philadelphia. It was stand out in your memory, without a birth, also the year that we lost Richard Nixon, death, graduation, move, or marriage in Cab Calloway, Burt Lancaster, John Candy, your life. From a historical perspective, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Tip O’Neill, there also weren’t many unique events and it was in 1994 that Kurt Cobain killed that occurred, but from an OD perspective, himself at 27. it’s the first year that coaching made its Beside a quaint stroll down memory way into the business press and into lane, why all the reminiscing? It provides organizational journals, despite playing us a bit of context, and historical a prominent role in good OD practice for perspective on the field of coaching, years prior. and just how it has come about. In To give you a sense of just how long searching three of the most popular and ago, or how recently, that was, remember comprehensive business and economics that it was also in 1994 that Nelson research databases for the terms “executive Mandela was elected President in South coaching” or “executive coach,” the earliest Africa’s first interracial national election, references refer to athletic coaches and the IRA declared its Northern Ireland cease the manufacture of stage coaches for fire, Jean Bertrand Aristide returned to executives. By the late 1980s, there are a govern Haiti, and thousands were killed in handful of references to the manager’s the Rwanda massacre. role as a coach, rather than a supervisor, of It was also in 1994 that Newt Gingrich employees, including one by OD Network was named Speaker of the House and member Harvey Hornstein. implemented the ”Contract with America,” The first real writing on what we O. J. Simpson was arrested for three would now recognize as executive coaching murders with 95 million people watching appeared in 1989, when there were 3 the white Bronco car chase, four members articles on coaching, followed by none of Al Quaeda were convicted in the World in 1990, 1 each in 1991 and 1992, 8 in Trade Center bombing, and major league 1993, and then 32 in 1994. But even with baseball players went out on strike. a growing number of citations, coaching Also in 1994, ER and Friends debuted didn’t make it into our OD literature until on NBC, establishing NBC’s dominance of even later than 1994. In Organization the Thursday-night lineup. At the movies, Development Classics, the best articles from we were paying $4.50 a ticket to see Pulp the OD Practitioner from 1968 to 1997 (Van Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, Quiz Eynde, et al, 1997), there is no reference to Show and Nobody’s Fool. Steven Spielberg coaching. Which raises the question, was won his first directing Oscar for Schindler’s there coaching before 1994, and if so, who List, and Tom Hanks won his second was doing it, and how? consecutive Best Actor Oscar for Forrest The short answer is a resounding Yes! Gump, after winning in 1993 for his role There was plenty of coaching going on4 OD PRACTITIONER Vol. 38 No. 3 2006
  2. 2. prior to 1994, and 1984, and 1974, and all are 16 references to Marx or Marxism, but change process in the whole, short,the way back toward 1964, if a bit obliquely. that’s Karl, not Groucho!) 110-page book.It was happening in the context of effective The big breakthrough in considering However, the literature in the field mayOD interventions that dealt with the role of the leader’s role in change, laying the not properly reflect the fact that coachingthe leader in a change project. theoretical groundwork for coaching, was, in fact, a central part of good OD as One of the earliest reflections came from the intersection of OD and it was practiced in the 1960s and 1970s.on organizational leadership was The psychology. The Practice of Managerial Blake and Mouton’s The Managerial GridFunctions of the Executive (1934) in whichChester Barnard, retired as CEO of NewJersey Bell, described the organization as Given the dynamics of power and authority that revolve arounda series of communications channels. Healso discussed managerial authority both as the leadership job, one would think that the role of the leadera power that emanates from the leader, would have been a central part of the early OD projects, butbut also as acceptance, which emanatesfrom those being led. Suddenly the there isn’t much evidence of that in the literature. In Theimplications for managerial behavior Planning of Change, the 1969 classic by Bennis, Benne, andshifted from “having enough sticks tomake employees comply,” toward “being Chin, not only is “coach” not indexed, nor is “leader” orable to influence effectively so that “leadership,” or “manager.”employees will comply.” The field’s early focus on group andpersonal development dominated our Psychology (DuBrin) in 1972 has several (1964) was a leadership developmentmethods through the 1940s and 1950s, chapters devoted to leadership and intervention in which line managers fromwith NTL Institute as the center of gravity management development, and a long OD within an organization served as the Gridfor this new philosophy about individuals case study. Laboratory Seminar leaders and deliveredand groups. The strong influence of The Henry Mintzberg (1973) did one of the the seminars to managers from a diagonalTavistock Institute among educators and earliest ethnographic studies of leadership, slice of the organization, followed by teammanagers emphasized the themes of power observing five executives in the process of development, concluding with stabilization,and authority in the organization. doing their work. He found that executives’ which included individualized support, or During the 1950s and 60s, the Ohio work didn’t fall neatly into planning, what we’d recognize today as coaching.State Leadership Studies helped flesh out organizing, controlling, motivating, Richard Beckhard had very strict termsour understanding of leadership as a blend and coordinating as Drucker believed. under which he would agree to take on aof consideration and initiating structures, Instead, he found that managers played new client, beginning in the early 70s.with about 1800 examples of leader ten different roles, falling into three broad He required a 5 year commitment bybehavior underling the Leader Behavior categories, interpersonal roles, information the organization, regular offsites of theDescription Questionaire (LBDQ). The roles, and decision roles. He further found senior management group, and aMichigan Leadership Studies explored that managers engage in a large number of personal relationship, that we would nowtask-oriented behavior, relationship-oriented brief activities, where half of their activities recognize as a coaching relationship, withbehavior, and participative leadership. were completed in less than nine minutes, the leader. By the early 1960s, when Herb only 10% took more than an hour, and Our understanding of the role of theShepard and Dick Beckhard invented what most were at the initiation of others. In leader and manager – and our ability towe would now recognize as OD consulting, 1976, Harry Levinson’s classic Psychological coach within the context of OD – tookthey expanded the application of these Man devotes more than half of the book another major leap forward in the 1980s,group approaches to organizations. to the manager’s role and impact on the as consultant-coaches integrated the two Given the dynamics of power and organization. broad themes of competency-based leadershipauthority that revolve around the leadership By the late 1970’s , Beckhard and and principle-based leadership from thejob, one would think that the role of the Harris devoted a whole chapter to The management literature into their work.leader would have been a central part Demanding Role of the Manager in their Richard Boyatzis dissected the managerialof the early OD projects, but there isn’t book, Organizational Transitions: Managing job into 16 competencies, which, alongmuch evidence of that in the literature. In Complex Change that emphasizes the with the derailment studies at the CenterThe Planning of Change, the 1969 classic multiple constituencies and demands of for Creative Leadership, provided theby Bennis, Benne, and Chin, not only is the outside environment on the manager. foundational theory frames for leadership“coach” not indexed, nor is “leader” or Surprisingly, they don’t touch on development programs throughout the“leadership,” or “manager.” (Notably, there the role of the manager or leader in the 1980s and beyond. They provided one The Foundations of Coaching: Roots in OD
  3. 3. particular framework within which OD that have influenced the practice of OD necessary for their success and that of theconsultants were able to coach their clients. and the coaching that occurred within overall change effort.” (Jones Brazzel, The other major theme, principle- that context. Today’s OD consultant, like 2006, p. 23)based leadership, had two primary sources her predecessors, would have a hard time So, what’s the relationship betweenwhich informed consulting and coaching doing an effective OD intervention without coaching and OD consulting today? Thepractices. Eastern and Christian influences a heavy dose of leadership or executive Gestalt figure/ground concept may apply.underlie the concept of Greenleaf’s servant coaching. When the OD project is the ground, it isleadership (1977) that calls on leaders to Executive coach, trainer of coaches, easy to see executive coaching as one figuresubordinate themselves to the needs of teacher, friend, and OD Network member among several, including action research,their followers, similar to Jesus’ washingthe feet of his disciples. Strains of thatsame theme predate even Christ by 6 But the truth is that these are just some of the major themescenturies in verse 61 (formerly 17) of the and theories that have influenced the practice of OD andTao Te Ching: Preeminent is one whose subjects the coaching that occurred within that context. Today’s OD barely know he exists . . . . consultant, like her predecessors, would have a hard time When the ruler’s trust is wanting, There will be no trust in him . . . doing an effective OD intervention without a heavy dose of When his work is completed and leadership or executive coaching. his affairs finished, The common people say “We are like this by ourselves.” Diane Hetherington says that coaching is strategic planning, organization design, job an intervention at the individual level of design, culture change, business processThe other advocate of principle-based the organization, and therefore, coaching design, and team development amongleadership was Stephen Covey, who’s 7 doesn’t have the systemic component of a others. When coaching is the ground, it isHabits writing (1989) was integrated into true OD intervention. However, there are not so easy to find OD consulting in thethe Franklin Day Timer, and expanded into a number of organization-wide coaching frame.a full range of products for managers and programs for executives that claim to In the end, where you stand on thisconsultants. have a systemic impact in part because of issue likely depends upon where you sit. By the early 90s, when coaching first their wide reach within the system. Many If you sit with the “coaching is a new areashows up in the professional literature, of the best OD practitioners today are of inquiry and practice and isn’t reallythere were three other major themes participating in them. OD” folks, you will likely have coachingthat OD practitioners were using as the The early 1990s saw the emergence as the ground. However, if you’re amongbasis for coaching within the context of the literature on coaching, which the thousands of OD practitioners whoof consulting. Meg Wheatley (1992) has introduced coaching theory frames, have been, and are currently, doingbrought the hard sciences and complexity methodologies, and an important measure coaching, you’re likely to see it as a figuretheory to the practice of leadership. In of rigor that OD practitioners have never – one among many – on a busy portraithis work on Emotional Intelligence and really had within reach before. In that of the field of OD. Just as it’s hard tolater Primal Leadership, Daniel Goleman regard, the evolution of coaching has been imagine Herb Shepard and Dick Beckhardbuilt on Boyatzis’s competency research a major asset to OD. taking on a major corporate client andand Howard Gardner’s work on multiple That’s also becoming evident in the not coaching them on their role in theintelligences. And, appreciative inquiry OD literature as well. From a period in the organization, it’s hard to imagine one todayfound its feet in the 1990s, with its roots 60s and 70s, when coaching wasn’t even as by the Case Western graduate mentioned in the literature, to as early asschool (Cooperrider, 1996) and NTL 1995, there are more than 12 mentions of References(Watkins, 2001). it in Practicing Organization Development Long time OD practitioners may look (Rothwell, Sullivan, McLean). Marshak Beckhard, R., Harris, R. T. (1977).through these last several paragraphs includes as a professional role for the Organizational transitions: Managingsimilar to a long-lost family photo album, OD consultant, “the skilled executive complex change. Reading, MA: Addisonwith a pang of “Oh, gee, I remember that!” coach, able to advise, support, and where Wesley:and “Can you believe we actually did those appropriate, constructively confront Bennis, W. G., Benne, K. D., Chin, R.things?” client system managers, executives, (1969). The Planning of Change. New But the truth is that these are just and members to encourage and help York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston:some of the major themes and theories develop the skills, behaviors, and attitudes Blake, R. Mouton, J. S. (1964). The6 OD PRACTITIONER Vol. 38 No. 3 2006
  4. 4. Matt Minahan, Ed.D., is president of MM Associates, a small consulting firm specializing managerial grid. Houston, TX: Gulf Tao Te Ching: the classic book of integrity and Publishing Company. the way by Lao Tzu. (1990). (V. H. Mair, in strategic planning andBoyatzis, R. E. (1982). The competent Trans.) New York, NY: Bantam Books organization design in the manager. New York: Wiley and Sons Van Eynde, D. F., Hoy, J., Van Eynde, Washington, DC area. He teachesBradberry, T. Greaves, J. (2003). The D. C. (1997). Organization development OD and systems theory and use emotional intelligence quick book: classics: The practice and theory of change of self in the OD Program in the Everything you need to know to put EQ to – the best of the OD Practitioner. San Business School at Johns Hopkins work. New York. Fireside Francisco: Jossey Bass.Cooperrider, D., Sorensen, Jr. P., Watkins, J. M., Mohr, B. J. (2001). University, coordinates the ODNet Whitney, D., Yaeger, T. eds. (2000). Appreciative inquiry: Change at the speed email discussion lists, and is Appreciative inquiry: Rethinking human of imagination. San Francisco: Jossey- a member of NTL. Matt earned organization toward a positive theory Bass his doctorate from The George of change. Champaign, IL: Stipes Wheatley, M. J. (1992). Leadership and the Washington University. Publishing new science: Learning about organization He can be reached atCovey, S. (1989). The 7 habits of highly from an orderly universe. San Francisco: effective people: Restoring the character Berrett-Koehler ethic. New York: Simon Schuster Yukl, G. A. (1989). Leadership inDrucker, P. F. (1973). Management: Tasks, organizations. Prentice Hall. Englewood responsibilities, practices. New York: Cliffs, NJ Harper and RowDuBrin, A. J. (1972). The practice of managerial psychology: Concepts and methods for manager and organization development. New York: Pergamon Press.Goleman, D, (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam BooksGoleman, D., Boyatzis, R., McKee, A. (2002). Primal leadership: Learning to lead with emotional intelligence. Boston: Harvard Business Review PressGreenleaf, Robert K. Servant Leadership. New York: Paulist Press, 1977., B., and Brazzel, M. (2006). The NTL handbook of organization development and change: Principles, practices, and perspectives. San Francisco: Pfeiffer:Levinson, H. (1977) Psychological man. Cambridge, MA: The Levinson Institute.Mintzberg, H. (1973). The nature of managerial work. New York. Harper and RowRothwell, W. J., Sullivan, R., McLean, G. N. (1995). Practicing organization development: A guide for consultants. San Francisco: Jossey Bass/Pfeiffer:Rowe, A. J., Mason, R. O. (1987). Managing with style: A guide to understanding, assessing, and improving decision making. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. The Foundations of Coaching: Roots in OD 7