Posted & filed under Team Coaching.

thanks to our coaches

From systemic coaching and constellations to ontological and somatic – our coaches have cut through the jargon with their interpretations…

Somatic coaching

Explained by Beverley McMaster.

What it is

The word Soma comes from ancient Greek, roughly translating as ‘the body in its living wholeness’. It speaks to the belief that we are already one whole system – brain, body, mind, spirit, and not a ‘bag of bits’ to be integrated into a one.

Why it is different

A Somatic Coach will contest that for new, competent and effective action to be possible we have to invite the life of the body into the equation. We do not learn the relational and confidence skills we need for life and leadership through intellectual learning.

How it helps

Built on the premise that we want to learn new habits and behaviours for the sake of what we are committed to, a coaching session will be oriented around:

  • discovering what is present (thoughts, sensations, feelings, emotions) through a combination of conversation, putting attention – or interoception – in the body and simple movement practices
  • re-organising our presence around a practice of centre and ground, and exploring what is really possible and needs new practicing for the sake of new embodiment.

Ontological coaching

What it is

Ontology is the study of being. Ontological coaching supports and challenges individuals in a reflection of who they are. ‘Way of Being’ is a dynamic interrelationship between three areas of human existence – language, emotions and body.

Andre Riberio explains more:

  • Language: Ontology uses the premise that language is a process that generates reality; humans are languaging beings that continually create what is real for them by the specific ways they use, and do not use, language.
  • Emotions: Emotions shape our way of being or our capacity for action. Emotions pre-dispose us to act or not act in different ways.
  • Body: The body (postural, alignment, movement, muscle tension and breathing) is crucial in perception, learning and change. Long-standing moods and unhelpful beliefs are embodied (stored and codified in the body).

Why it is different

Unlike other approaches, the coaching involves language, emotions and body which has the potential to be transformative. It can generate profound learning and deep constructive change.

How it helps

An ontological coach can support and challenge by developing different ways of using language, emotions and body to generate a more constructive reality.

Transformational coaching

What it is

In simple terms, transformational coaching is focused on enabling self-actualisation by diving deep into an individual’s psyche, focusing on who that person is and desires to become. Transformational coaching is therefore an ontological approach, because it is about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’. Baz Hartnell explains:

As leaders move into more senior roles a shift in their way of being becomes essential, given that they need to show up with a strong sense of self, if not to be buffeted by the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) in the leadership landscapes they operate in.

Why it is different

Transformational coaching asks ‘who do you choose or need to be?’ and what makes the process transformational is learning and doing what it takes to grow into the embodiment of that choice of being. All coaching approaches foster self-awareness, but transformational coaching goes further—it enables people to attend to the structures which underlie their sense of self (who they believe they are) and then, through an exploration of their being, who they desire or need to be.

How it helps

A transformational coach supports people to dive below the surface and immerse themselves in self-exploration, to examine their beliefs, egoic images and interpretations about who they are and their purpose and place in this world—it is all of these which give rise to their existing way of being and examining all of this then sheds light on why coachees experience life as they do.

Systemic coaching

What it is

Systemic coaching gives priority to the system rather than only the individual. We all live and work in unconscious reference to multiple relationship systems – our cultural, professional, organisational and family relationship systems. Claire Palmer explains:

A systemic constellation is a spatial, relational model of the invisible dynamics within an issue or challenge in a system of relationships. It’s a kind of ‘living map’ of your client’s inner image of their issue or challenge, an x-ray of the system dynamics. That map, made of people in a workshop or objects in one-to-one coaching is, through a facilitated process, illuminated, disentangled and brought into balance through the application of the insights, principles and practices of this work. A ‘systemic constellation’ is often simply referred to as ‘a constellation’. In the context of coaching and organisational health they are referred to as ‘coaching constellations’.

Why it is different

A coaching constellation – simply a systemic constellation applied in coaching – provides an opportunity to explore a wide range of leadership, team and organisational development issues, business and relational challenges by creating a ‘living map’ of the system in a way that illuminates the hidden dynamics beneath the presenting issue. Used in combination with other models and frameworks, constellations free clients from their familiar attachments and offer new paths to resolution and fresh energy for action and change.

How it helps

A constellation is likely to be a useful intervention when:

  • there is no apparent path to a solution or a fresh perspective is useful
  • you need to illuminate a large or complex system or issue in a manageable way
  • you have a sense that there is ‘something else’ in this client’s system that is affecting their ability to be present or to perform
  • a client has an enduring and difficult relationship with a boss, peers or direct reports that have hidden dynamics blocking resolution
  • there is something hidden or secret or when something ‘just doesn’t feel right’ about the client’s issue but the source, or truth, isn’t clear
  • there is a need to illuminate or clarify the coaching agenda
  • the restoration of balance and the flow of organisational energy or leadership needs attending to
  • a preferred theory or model for working doesn’t seem to apply or work
  • the client is attached to their own ‘story’ and a fresh perspective would be a useful step towards a more ‘whole system’ view

Coaching constellations

explained by Andy Matheson:

What it is

This approach involves making a visual representation of a challenge or situation. For example, when working with a team, I have a large box which contains many wooden figures and blocks. I explain that these can adopt any meaning and ask the team to use them to create a visual representation of how the team works in practice.

Why it is different

The process forces a unique perspective. Clients step out of the problem and look down at the whole. The materials themselves help create a safe way to discuss sensitive areas such as communication, connection, alignment or power. They enable an objective discussion around team strengths and development needs.

How it helps

It brings a team together quickly and it is a fabulous way to summarise the key issues in team development. Having mapped the current, I ask them to map the future but with a flip chart standing by to capture all the actions.

Gestalt coaching

Phil Jackson, a famous American basketball coach, once stated that ‘being aware is more important than being smart’. This sense of the importance of awareness, both cognitive and emotional, is central to Gestalt coaching. Andrew Sims explains more:

What it is

Gestalt is a German word which is hard to translate into English – it means ‘pattern’ or ‘whole’ and its origins are in psychology, where Gestalt aims to explore how meaning takes shape in human perception. In Gestalt coaching, the emphasis is on the coach relating to you as a whole person.

Why it is different

Many coaching approaches focus on achieving some desired future goal. Gestalt coaching doesn’t ignore this but puts more emphasis on focusing on what is ‘now’, rather than what should be. Gestalt’s ‘paradoxical theory of change’ states that change occurs when you become what you are, not when you try to become what you’re not. This is transformational because it supports you to access more of your potential.

How it helps

Gestalt coaching can incorporate very experiential approaches that help the coachee gain new insights and perspectives through, for example, offering ‘creative experiments’, such as the ‘empty chair’ exercise. Many coaches find Gestalt invaluable in helping clients to deepen their awareness, find meaning or work with interpersonal conflict.

Cognitive Behaviour Coaching (CBC)

explained by Kelly Bartlett:

What it is

CBC is an evidence-based approach which can help individuals to identify beliefs or emotions which they may have or experience. These beliefs or emotions may be preventing them from achieving specific goals. Working with the coach, CBC enables coachees to recognise their goal, the belief or thoughts which they may hold about the goal and the potential consequences of these. Working with the coach, CBC enables coachees to consider alternative beliefs or thoughts and to come to an agreed approach to help achieve their goal.

Why it is different

CBC does not advocate positive thinking as a solution nor does it promise quick wins to all presented goals or challenges. Whilst there is an established model coachees work within, there are additional CBC models which coaches/coachees can work with to identify beliefs and thoughts regarding coachee specific goals.

How it helps

CBC can offer an insight into what may be preventing different, desired behaviours. CBC can sometimes give coachees a moment of clarity or realisation which they may not have been expecting. CBC can be used when themes emerge within the coaching such as procrastination, sensitivity to feedback etc.

Acceptance and Commitment Coaching (ACC)

explained by Kelly Bartlett:

What it is

ACC is an evidence-based approach which can help individuals change their behaviour. ACC involves a range of ‘strategies’ such as mindfulness and becoming aware of one’s values. This should enable coachees to take more effective actions and be better placed to respond skilfully to their thoughts and feelings.

Why it is different

ACC may stand out from other coaching models in its acknowledgement and acceptance of feelings of discomfort. ACC recognises that as individuals work towards values-based goals a wider range of emotions may be experienced.

How it helps

As with many coaching models ACC helps coachees who want something to change in their lives. ACC offers coachees the opportunity to develop an ability which they call ‘psychological flexibility’. This should stay with coachees beyond the coaching relationship.

Narrative Coaching

explained by Carole Pemberton:

What it is

We all carry narratives about how we should behave, what is allowable for us, and what we are not able to do. Many of these are unconscious but powerful.  When leaders enter coaching it is often their narratives about self that merit examination. In doing so, they can develop new narratives that are of more value to them in their role, and also reflect who they now are.  Important narratives are developed in childhood and early adulthood. They are developed to make us feel safe and to sustain important relationships, but as our lives change so should the stories we tell ourselves.

Why it is different

Without entering therapy, the question, ‘Where did you learn to behave like that?’ can open up a conversation which leads to both recognising their existing narrative, and being able to develop one which supports them in the role they now hold.

How it helps

Examples of where this approach has proved valuable include when someone has achieved beyond what would have been expected for them, where they have strong messages from their culture of origin about their behaviour, or where they are avoiding parts of their role through fear.

 

If you would like a conversation with any of our coaches please contact kate@azizcorp.com or call 01962 774766

FURTHER READING:

  1. The Power of Coaching
  2. What Makes Coaching Successful
  3. Systemic Team Coaching