Issuu on Google+

A Developmental and Self-empowering Approach to Coaching Rudy Vandamme

Patterns Goal Goal Reflection Goal

Patterns


A Developmental and Self-empowering Approach to Coaching

1


Publisher: Entos Postbus 786, 7400 AT Deventer The Netherlands info@entos.nl +(31) 570 645 077

ISBN: 978-90-77458-08-2

Copyright Š2003, 2008 Rudy Vandamme First published in The Netherlands by Nelissen. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or bij any means, manual, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording,or otherwise,without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. All rights reserved.

2


A Developmental and Self-empowering Approach to Coaching Vandamme Rudy

3


WELCOME YOU ARE ENTERING A LEARNING ZONE

The author Rudy Ch. Vandamme (1958) is a professional trainer and coach since 1987. The International NLP Trainer Association certifies him since 1995, as Master NLP trainer. He is CEO of his own business, Partners & Vandamme, a training and consult team (NLP, coaching and mediation services) since 1995. He has years of experience of training and coaching in big enterprises like Nestlè, Capco, P&V, Teleatlas, Randstad and Duracell. He integrates different perspectives in his work, inspired by his various academic studies (University of Leuven, Belgium): psychology (1980), philosophy (1984) and anthropology (1996). The book you are reading here is a bestseller in Belgium and Netherlands. This manual is used in many colleges and universities. It is a highly valued for its bright methodology. Rudy Vandamme is also author of “Seven steps to Emotional intelligence” (with Patrick Merlevede and Denis Bridoux), translated into seven languages. He wrote eight Dutch books on coaching, NLP, mediation and philosophy (www.coaching-co.nl).

4


Contents Introduction Module 1: The essence of life coaching: discovering yourself as coach Module 2: The entanglement of the individual and his projects: searching for the pattern Module 3: The stages of a coaching session: reflecting the manner of approach Module 4: Phases of coaching: tracing personal development Module 5: Developmental theory: discovering the level of self-management Contents ............................................................................................................................................................... 5 Introduction ......................................................................................................................................................... 6 Module 1............................................................................................................................................................ 13 The essence of life coaching: discovering yourself as coach .......................................................................... 13 1. The family that coaching belongs to: project support ............................................................................. 14 2. The unique characteristics of coaching .................................................................................................... 19 3. Forms of coaching..................................................................................................................................... 38 4. Fields of application.................................................................................................................................. 47 Module 2............................................................................................................................................................ 51 The entanglement of the individual and his projects: searching for the pattern ............................................. 51 1. Personalising projects ............................................................................................................................... 52 2. Tracing beliefs and values ........................................................................................................................ 59 3. Exploring the area of development .......................................................................................................... 70 4. Thematise the area of development.......................................................................................................... 83 Module 3.......................................................................................................................................................... 106 The stages of a coaching session: reflecting the manner of approach........................................................... 106 Introduction: Dual-track coaching.............................................................................................................. 107 Step 1: Define and verify the coaching framework ................................................................................... 117 Step 2: Listen to the initial motive ............................................................................................................. 120 Step 3: Tune in to the client’s manner of self-management and how he wants to be coached................ 128 Step 4: Explore the area of development ................................................................................................... 130 Step 5: Detect the type of process .............................................................................................................. 131 Step 6: Thematise the area of development ............................................................................................... 134 Step 7: Determine the level of self-management....................................................................................... 135 Step 8: Formulate the work goal................................................................................................................. 136 Step 9: Link the work goal to an additional goal in................................................................................... 138 self-management ......................................................................................................................................... 138 Step 10: Ask about evidence of progress and belief in progress............................................................... 138 Step 11: Intervene ....................................................................................................................................... 142 Step 12: Develop projects and decisions.................................................................................................... 143 Step 13: Consolidate the result of the coaching......................................................................................... 145 Module 4.......................................................................................................................................................... 147 Phases of coaching: tracing personal development........................................................................................ 147 Introduction: Well-formedness of personal development ......................................................................... 148 Phase 1: Emotional development and increasing awareness..................................................................... 160 Phase 2: The initial mental aspect of development processes................................................................... 166 Phase 3: Integrating obstacles..................................................................................................................... 178 Phase 4: Breaking through the pattern ....................................................................................................... 188 Phase 5: The critical phase.......................................................................................................................... 191 Phase 6: Convert the whole ........................................................................................................................ 199 Phase 7: Towards unconscious competence .............................................................................................. 209 Module 5.......................................................................................................................................................... 219 Developmental theory: discover the level of self-management .................................................................... 219 1. A model for developing self-management............................................................................................. 220 2. Coaching as a cultural trend ................................................................................................................... 231 Bibliography .................................................................................................................................................... 238

__

5


Introduction A few years ago a new term entered the English language: life coaching. It is surprising how quickly a new word or term can lead to new sorts of conversations between people, and alongside that how a new form of interaction attaches itself to the word. The word brings with it the new form of interaction, and that in turn supports the word. Behind the word is of course an idea, but what is that idea? Sometimes of course it is just old wine in a new bottle and does not go any further than what we already know: supporting, monitoring, listening, asking questions, giving advice, interpreting. But I am enough of an anthropologist to look a bit further, and one can see that coaching combines different values in our culture: the independence of the individual, the focus on achievement, self-management, increasing consciousness, the value of nonjudgmental methods of support work, and lifelong learning. Life coaching is ripe for our times. It is the synthesis of a number of good methods, but at the same time is a whole new idea in itself. It provides a new archetype for relationships, counselling and interaction. Let me guide you through this. I want you to see what is new about coaching and I want you to see how important it is. In this book I will define coaching and methodically argue the case for it. You cannot coach dogs

This is not a beginner’s book on coaching. It does not deal with basic counselling methods, such as listening, empathising and paraphrasing. It is not about the importance of a good relationship between client and counsellor or the need for a mandate to coach someone. It is not about problem solving or monitoring how someone approaches their problem. And it is not about team building. It is about the fact that you cannot coach dogs, but you can coach people. On an obedience course for dogs, you would do a number of things that you could call training – all within a friendly relationship with the dog. So there is friendship with the dog, but the guiding principles are based on conditioning. Coaching a dog would mean that you could call on its involvement, its ability to formulate goals and understand how something works, as well as its ability to guide itself and control its behaviour. Coaching is all about encouraging the capacity of the client to think and guide himself. A dog does not have the capacity for self-reflection. It can communicate with people and have a relationship with them, but one cannot have a meaningful conversation with a dog or come to any form of agreement.

6


In communication between people there is also an aspect of conditioning and obedience. “You can’t do that. Do this. No, not like that, like this. Well done.” But this form of coaching is not what this book is about. Life coaching is about the fact that people have the capacity to guide or manage themselves based upon self-reflection, and it is that capacity that we awaken in order to help someone achieve his goals. But the aim of coaching is not so much that people achieve their goals – although that is part of it – but above all that they realise their own capacity to manage themselves according to their goals. A computer user is more than a machine

Coaching is necessary the moment one’s capacity for self-management is lacking, and it is not difficult to see that this is often the case. There are many things that we are simply not aware of, and so often we end up doing something quite unconsciously. If we do have a goal in mind, we frequently just make up the path as we go along, we do not stop to think about how we are going to tackle the problem. If after a while we become aware of something annoying us or a goal we have not yet achieved, only then is our capacity for self-reflection activated. Coaching supports and activates an increase in consciousness. It helps you to see where your self-management is failing and how the way that you function is entangled with the activities that you do. Let’s look at an example from my own life in order to understand what I mean by entanglement and so immediately come to the essence of coaching. After many years of working with computers, I still had the feeling I ought to have some lessons. I noticed that little problems would crop up in programs and that I only made very limited use of my computer. Now and then it would crash, much to my annoyance, but most of all I had the feeling that I simply did not understand how the thing worked. So I went to a computer school where they had open lessons. We each had our own study plan and the teacher called himself a “coach”, which meant that he gave me a checklist to see what I already knew and then came up with a personal study plan for me. I worked in a classroom with eight other students, and the teacher-coach sat at the back watching over our progress and ready to give help if asked. I went there three 7


times to try to perfect my computer skills, but after that it just dropped away. Like so many other people, I only made very limited use of what a course had to offer me. The teacher-coach could have offered something extra in two areas of entanglement. The first is to do with content: examining my attitude towards computers. For me computers and acquiring the latest technical knowledge are not top of my list of hobbies. I enter that world only reluctantly and even then I cannot summon up the patience to learn what I need to properly. My overriding feeling is: “A computer is simply a tool and should do what I want it to, as quickly as possible and without any problems. A person can make mistakes, but a machine can’t.” When a problem does occur I get angry. Alongside that there is my self-image, which says, “I am a psychologist, I work with people and have no understanding of technical matters.” These underlying feelings are rarely taken into account when people follow computer courses, and that is a shame, because learning about computers could be a great opportunity to get to know yourself and to look at how computer technology can change your view of the world and your vision of life. The teacher could have given some attention to these feelings during the admissions interview, he could have noticed the signals during the course, or he could have reflected with me what computers mean for me. After the course I began to think about it myself. I began to see that there is not much point in getting angry with a computer if it crashes, and I realised that my relationship with computers is a good mirror for all my relationships with such technology. Now instead of starting from the point of view that such technology is my slave, I am beginning to learn and respect the rules I have to observe and to see how much I can enjoy using it as long as I follow the rules. So, through the process of using a computer – which I do for about four hours every day – I have learnt much that has been of benefit for my personal performance. I learnt this because by nature I have the tendency to reflect upon myself. I coach myself. But many people do not do that, and therefore person-centred coaching could be integrated into existing services. It is guaranteed that you would keep students on a computer course for much longer if you also offered coaching. The second area of entanglement is to do with the level of self-management. The first time I entered the computer class, I still had no clear idea what I was going to do there. I just thought, “I’ll do a computer course and then my problem will be solved.” You could say that the task or the project I had before me was reduced to following a course, which is pretty poor. At the very least such a project should involve some preparation, the course itself, and some thought about the way I am going to work with what I learn afterwards. There was no plan behind what I did; it was all emotion and action. During the course I thought, “Wow, I am happy I am learning this,” and I made a list of fifteen things that would really help me improve my use of the computer. But what happened afterwards? I used just one or two tips, those that most fitted with my daily work. It was a bit of a waste of money really. The point is that at that moment I had no self-management; I had not made any plan for a complete study programme. Because we all often start with dysfunctional selfmanagement and project definition, it would be helpful if our service providers brought 8


our attention to that fact. The computer teacher could have supported my selfmanagement by checking what my goals were, finding out what my style of learning is, inquiring into my motivation, by for example asking what my criteria of satisfaction were, and finding out how I deal with setbacks. It is obvious that many people would not be able to give answers to all these questions, so it is the task of the coach to give form to their self-management. Who is this book for?

The main group of people I envision benefiting from this book are all those who support others, people who give a service to others professionally. I include here all the diverse forms of service: carers, nurses, doctors, paramedics, psychotherapists, esoteric therapists, dieticians, social workers, family support workers, supervisors, mediators, architects, lawyers, teachers, trainers, tour operators, account managers, salesmen, consultants, executives, team leaders, managers and so on. Typically your work involves helping people in a specific area of their lives and your contact with them is limited to the area in which you specialise. For you the question is simply: to what extent do you want to make use of coaching? A second target group are the many people who are interested in helping others outside their normal work. Often these people start with an interest in their own selfdevelopment. They feel that coaching can add something that will improve the quality of all their interactions. They are people who want to communicate better with their partner, their colleagues, their parents, their children, their friends. A third target group is people who choose or want to choose coaching as their main profession. I am thinking of free-lance consultants or people who work as a coach independently, as well as others who want to include coaching as a part of their training. What this book provides: • • • • • •

Inspiration to be more creative in your communication and coaching. Guidance in your process of learning to become a coach. An aid to help you observe what successful coaches and communicators actually do. A generic and socially-critically founded vision of coaching. An aid to help you use the tools of coaching in recruitment and for creating job profiles and evaluations. A textbook for everyone who gives training in coaching.

What you will not find in this book: • • • • • •

Anything about coaching teams. Anything about the basic skills of a coach (empathy, paraphrasing, asking questions, listening techniques etc). Anything about the attitude and personality of a coach. Anything about specialised methods (advising, feedback, suggestive use of language, metaphoric use of language, reframing of beliefs and so on). Anything about project management and project-oriented skills of selfmanagement. References to scientific literature. 9


You can just flick through the book if you like, but if you really want to get something from it, then it is necessary to study it. Take a marker pen and adapt the book to your needs. How far do you want to go?

The models and techniques in this book have been chosen to stretch you, so that you can add the essence of coaching to your service or communication. If you take coaching seriously and want to combine it with helping people, then you will have to use a little bit of psychology. You will have to call on new thought patterns and methods in order to facilitate processes and above all increase awareness in other people. If you want to go further with coaching, I assume that you are interested in people and ready to learn how you can help someone using counselling methods. Deep conversations are no quick fix. Coaching needs an investment in learning how to deal with people. That is why this book is best suited for people who want to make a serious pursuit of it. Models and techniques can be useful… but they can never replace your own spirit of investigation and hours of counselling experience. I assume here that you have already studied elementary counselling methods in other books or that you do these things naturally anyway. If that is not the case, you will find suggestions for further reading in the bibliography. There is not much point in attempting person-centred coaching unless you are already comfortable with elementary counselling methods and forms of working with people. Some people say that I make coaching too difficult. “It will become yet another specialist subject,” they say. My answer to that is this: everyone can do what he can. One person might limit coaching to active listening and support, whilst another might try some intervention. It depends on your competence, your motivation, the context, and the mandate you have for how far you can go. I do not see any basic reason why you should limit yourself in a session if you CAN help. It is like cooking. There is a big difference between a snack bar and a chic restaurant, and the same differences are there in the worlds of counselling and consultancy. Often you are satisfied with ordinary cooking, but if you begin to yearn for more and better, then you need a teacher. This cookbook is one possibility. In it you will find inspiration, and it is complex enough to keep you busy for some years.

10


Modules

Module 5. Developmental theory: discovering the level of self-management

Module 1. The essence of life coaching: discovering yourself as a coach

- A five-level model to develop self-management - Coaching as a cultural trend

Module 4. Phases of coaching: tracing personal development

- Five unique characteristics of coaching - Six forms of coaching

Learn coaching

Module 2. The entanglement of the individual and his projects: searching for the pattern - Questions to promote personalisation - A model for uncovering beliefs and values - A checklist for explorations - Twelve methods for thematisation

Coaching in seven phases that run parallel to the personal development process and are based upon gentle management skills

Module 3. The stages of a coaching session: reflecting the manner of approach - A two-track model: content and self-management - Twelve chances to help the person get a bird’s eye view of his manner of approach

The book is split into modules. Each module is an independent part of the whole, but they are all necessary to begin coaching. At the heart of each module there is a practical model that will help you to give structure to the complexities of the theory. The five modules together will enable you to realise a development-oriented concept of coaching. Module 1: The essence of life coaching: discovering yourself as coach. The ability to awaken the coach in yourself is a prerequisite for coaching. The more in touch you are with the essential attitude of coaching, the easier it will be to model this in a session, and so the more your client will gain from it. This task can be realised in three ways. Firstly, by looking at which family coaching belongs to. Secondly, by understanding the essence of a coaching session. And thirdly, by differentiating between different forms of coaching. In the following four modules, models will be given that can help a client to better manage his projects. These models are the answer to the central question of this book: what models can a coach call on to systematically promote the self-management of an individual? Module 2: The entanglement of the individual and his projects: searching for the pattern. The first way to help a client help himself and to help him manage his projects better is to lay bare the patterns that are at the heart of his current way of doing things. You do this by uncovering what he is overlooking. In coaching what the individual overlooks is not sought for in terms of faulty technical knowledge, but in terms of the way in which he manages himself and his projects. Tracing the pattern that blocks progress is realised in three ways. Firstly, by the personalisation of projects, so that they come under the guidance of the ‘I’. Secondly, by tracing commitments and values which define behaviour. And thirdly, by detecting and exploring the developmental themes which have to be realised in a project or which could be better manifested within a project.

11


Module 3: The stages of a coaching session: reflecting the manner of approach. A second way in which you can systematise an improvement in self-management is to regularly reflect back to your client during each session. Reflecting the way in which somebody deals with something is an integral part of a coaching session. In this module, as well as the classical stages of a coaching session, you will find a step by step plan outlining twelve opportunities to shift up to the level of reflection. Module 4: Phases of coaching: tracing personal development. A third way to improve self-management is to look at how an individual develops a project over a period of some months or years. This is realised in a seven-phase model in which the contribution of the coach is not just seen in a sequence of actions, but also in the personal development of the client, which runs in parallel with the implementation of a project. It is an aid to self-management to see the individual as a whole person and to take into consideration how he evolves as a person. Furthermore, you work towards an ideal of ‘gentle management’ skills. In people-projects the only chance for success is if the client and the coach work together in an ecological and person-friendly way. Module 5: Developmental theory: discovering the level of self-management. A fourth way to improve self-management makes use of a multi-level model. What are the levels that an individual goes through as he becomes more competent in selfmanagement? In this module a five-level model will be presented, in which you will learn that there is more than just a thematic approach to a problem. In this module I widen the perspective and invite you to share in a development-oriented vision of coaching, in which human values are given priority. Coaching is more than just a job, it is a vehicle through which we can facilitate a cultural shift in the way in which we help and counsel people. Voila, that’s the start.

12


Module 1 The essence of life coaching: discovering yourself as coach

You can define the essence of coaching, and more precisely what person-centred and development-oriented approaches to coaching are, in four ways. The deeper your insight into the essence of coaching, the more you will be able to get in touch with the coach in yourself and the easier it will be to initiate a coaching framework in dialogues during sessions. 1. The family that coaching belongs to 2. The unique characteristics of coaching 3. Forms of coaching 4. Areas of application

13


1. The family that coaching belongs to: project support A case study: Wear a yellow T-shirt

Mary decides to do something about her situation. She has been complaining about her boss for a long time and dreaming about working for herself. At work she has the feeling she is just a hardworking nobody. She takes no pleasure in her life any more, although she used to enjoy it so much. Nobody seems to notice her or value her. She is approaching forty and she thinks, “It is about time to make a decision. If I wait any longer, maybe it will never happen.” Time slips by, but still she hesitates. So she goes to an advice bureau to get information on starting up her own business. They give her the information, but in the months afterwards she still does not come to a decision, because the information she receives is not what she needs to help her make a decision. Therefore she goes back to the bureau and asks if they can assist her further. No problem – they can call an expert who will work out a plan in minute detail. Still Mary hesitates. So she talks about it with her best friend, who pushes her and says, “Mary, you are not the sort of person who can work for somebody else, you should work for yourself.” Her friend is patient, but still it takes a long time. Mary continues to dream and remains dissatisfied. Nothing comes of it. Neither the bureau with all their advice and planning nor her motivating friend are able to help her. But because of her lack of motivation at work, she starts to get problems there, and so she ends up one day with a coach. Initially the coach was brought in to talk to Mary about her poor performance at work, but by looking a bit further, the coach discovers that her lack of motivation at work is to do with the unresolved issue of her wish to work for herself. The coach decides that it will be difficult to solve her lack of motivation at work if Mary does not get clearer in herself about how she stands with regard to her dream. In the session the coach discovers that Mary is afraid to lose her secure income, but on the other hand she expected more from herself in her life than what she has achieved up to now. Mary realises now that at this moment it is important for her to get more out of life. She thought that this would happen mostly through working for herself, but maybe there are other ways. This realisation in itself is quite something for Mary. The session gives her the insight that the problem is actually not about the conflict between being an employee or working for herself, but has more to do with what she wants to get out of life and what to do with her dormant talents. Nothing is decided, but Mary goes home with the question: “What can I do with my talents and what do I want to do with them?” Two months later the coach has another session with Mary. He is curious. And indeed, most unexpectedly Mary has taken up an old hobby again and made all sorts of new and interesting contacts. She says that she thought a lot about her youth, how she used to be and what she enjoyed doing. At work she tried out an experiment – one day she wore a bright yellow T-shirt and suddenly all her colleagues noticed her. She got a childlike enjoyment out of their reactions and is planning to do more things that bring her joy. It is not yet clear if she is going to start working for herself, but one thing is certain: she has got back her zest for life. Her life and her pleasure are once again under her control. Moreover Mary is busier than ever with the question of what is important in her life. 14


Commentary: •

The first observation is that Mary cannot get out of this problem by herself. Her self-management is failing. Both her thoughts and her feelings fluctuate. She acts, but whatever she does is just one action amongst many. There is no clarity about what exactly the problem is, because something is missing: there is no structure in her approach to her problem. Neither the question of working for herself, nor her lack of motivation at work is the central problem in Mary’s life. The problem lies at a “deeper” level. For Mary it is to do with the fact that she does not use her talents to the full and feels dissatisfied with that. So it turns out that the original issue did not go to the heart of the matter. Coaching means going into dialogue to investigate what the central issue is. That should enable her to get a deeper insight into what her problem is and therefore a better understanding of how she can arrange her life according to what she wants. The advisor at the bureau does not offer the right help. Mary gets good advice and help with planning, but the problem goes deeper than that. There is still something wrong and the advisor does not really go into that. His professional field limits what he offers. Coaching is more than just practical help, more then help making plans and monitoring the implementation of a project. Experts are mostly useful if the client’s problem is only to do with implementation of a project. If a client only asks for technical help, then coaching is not necessary. But often clients only ask for technical help, even though there is a deeper issue underneath. The friend has good intentions, but does not really help. Coaching is more than just friendly support. Interest in someone is the basis of coaching, but there has to be something on top of that: expert help.

In the diagram below, you will find the main elements of Mary’s situation:

Vague unhappy feeling

Project: want to work for yourself

Work for yourself

Advisor

Demotivated at work

Evaluation

No joy at work. The need for financial security. Cannot work for a boss. Feeling unappreciated

Zest for life. Take life into your own hands

Business coach Initial Motive Area of development

Developmental theme

Replace the feeling of nobodyness with a zest for life; be seen

Work goals

Investigate whether working for yourself is for you

Change your behaviour at work; yellow T-shirt

Projects

The failure of a project – in this case to start working for oneself – is often the motive to go for coaching and to look further than the project. Rationally seen a project only begins after you have first explored what exactly the problem is, so that your project is a realisation of a need. But we are not rational beings. We often either do not deal with things thematically or we come up with the wrong solutions. 15


If your progress in your pursuits or projects does not live up to your expectations, and if this cannot be remedied with technical advice, then it is sensible to look at what can be learnt about your personal way of functioning. By looking with a wider perspective, you discover new possibilities. A coach promotes self-management in a person by looking at the relationship between her and what she is involved in or what she wants to achieve. This is the essence of the message: by looking further, looking at the relationship between your activities and yourself, and by investigating how you deal with something and how you think about it, you promote your self-management. Personal areas of learning or issues have to be acknowledged in order that your life and your activities can run smoothly again. What’s in a name?

Socio-culturally seen, life coaching is not yet firmly established. The term as well as the practice covers the most diverse areas and there is a lack of clarity about what exactly coaching is. You should not be too quick to think that you have understood what it actually is. You have to search for the idea that stands behind it. It is not easy to define the soul of a whole new method, but only once you have got the idea, can coaching really find its feet. • • • • • •

What do you actually do when coaching? What are the unique foundations of coaching? What is the difference between coaching on the one hand, and monitoring, therapy, advising and training? How is the idea behind coaching realised in a specific method? What should coaching involve in order that it contributes to a cultural renewal? When is coaching worth the investment?

As young as it is, coaching is already caught in a game of comparison. Every child is compared with one of its parents from whom it derives its provisional identity, whether it be in this case meetings, therapy, consultation, training, or personal development. And every child tries to differentiate itself from its parents. It has to prove itself in its own identity. Well, nobody has come forward yet. Who can the parents be?

 16


The family line

Coaching belongs to the family of support work. Let’s try to understand exactly what this family of work entails. All forms of support work have the purpose of intentionally contributing something to the life of another person. The term “forms of support work” in this context is taken in its widest form and refers to intentionally wanting to help somebody. In the narrow sense many of these forms are not support work at all – training involves imparting knowledge, medical therapy is prescribing treatment, caring involves taking over, managing and advising mean saying how something should be.

Forms of Support Work Therapy Care work

Advising Training Management Coaching

A characteristic of this family is that the interaction is played out in a triangle, made up of the individual (or group), the expert, and the project (or subject matter). It is always about a more or less clearly defined something. The expert helps the individual with the implementation of a specific activity. Person

Expert Goal

Project

The term “project” refers to the goal-directed activity the individual is occupied with – they want to achieve something or finish with something, so their activities have a direction. For example, Mary wants to work for herself. Her first action is to find out what steps she has to take in order to become self-employed. Normally after that there would be further actions. A project is a goal-directed sequence of events. I use it as a general term to describe the actions of someone who is implementing something to do with a certain subject.

17


Therefore a project could also be moving house, or maybe you want to prepare a delicious meal, improve your relationship with your partner, or learn more about coaching. Every day consists of many little projects that are all parts of bigger projects. We do not call them projects because they are mostly just routinely dealt with, but they become projects the moment you approach them more consciously, the moment that you want to make a difference. Literally everything can take on the explicit character of a project at a given moment. It becomes explicit when you become more conscious of what you want to achieve, a goal that until then you have not achieved. The characteristics of a project are: • • • •

The subject matter is clearly defined and thematic. You want to achieve a goal. You have the intention and the motivation to progress. You do something towards that goal.

One finds well-structured projects in the business world. People hold meetings to draw up projects so that they can provide the optimal approach to a specific task. A project is characterised by an initial motivation, analysis of the situation, the stating of a goal, a plan of action, definition of means, the implementation of action, and adjustments to that action until the goal is achieved. If you look at different sectors, you will see that a lot of work is done within projects, but people call it by different names. Someone follows a “course of treatment” by a physiotherapist, students engage in a “learning process” with specific course requirements, an architect helps his client to build a house, a divorce lawyer leads a couple through a divorce, a dating agency helps someone find a new partner, a dietician guides the implementation of a “diet”, a social worker devises a “support plan” to help someone integrate into society, sportsmen and women prepare themselves for a competition with a coach, a nurse helps someone through “rehabilitation”, a careers advisor helps someone find a new job, a crisis manager helps a company move out of the red, parents help their children with their homework. An individual practices and progresses in self-management by turning all experiences and actions into projects. For the large majority of our projects we do not need any help – you buy food in the shop, you clean your home, and you look for work, for example. If you do need help, then according to the content of the project, you can get advice from a specialist, someone who is expert in the sort of project you are involved in. A dietician knows everything about nutrition and will make a diet plan and monitor your progress with you. A supervisor in an educational institute knows everything about the skills that his students have to acquire on their work placements and will discuss those requirements with the students. Coaching is part of this family. You give help in the form of thematic assistance, grounded in a supportive relationship. You help your client with a certain experience, activity or project. You help him turn a certain desire into a project and you monitor him during the project. The focus on the project is in contrast to daily conversations that are not centred on a specific subject, because people often just babble back and forth, over this and that. But what is unique about coaching? 18



A Developmental andSelf-empowering Approachto Coaching