Coaching 101 – Part 4

The Coaching Profession And The Future

“People often ask me what the true value of coaching is. In other words, what sets coaching apart from going to a conference, taking a course, or reading a book? Here’s my answer: coaching is about being seen. A good coach can see their client’s potential. They can see where their client is holding back. And they can see who their client really is. Everything changes when someone feels seen. One of the biggest changes is that they start following through on the things they commit to. And that changes the results they get in their life.”
~ Greg Faxon

In this fast-changing, dynamic and increasingly integrated world, like any other profession, the coaching profession is not exempt from risks and opportunities. Some risks and opportunities are truly context-dependent while others are of a global, generalized nature. It is up to each professional coach to observe, interpret and generate meaning from these development for themselves and their practice. I’m sure each generation feels this way, but this is truly an exciting time to be alive just on a human level and secondarily, on a professional level. The pace of technological development, the increasing awakening of the human race through social media and other communication platforms provided by the internet make for a complex but interesting world. If you flip the same coin however, as with most things in life, there are risks and threats to social cohesion, authentic identities, feelings of alienation (paradoxically in a virtually connected world where I can chat to Greg Faxon at the click of a mouse all the way in the West Virginia, USA), rapidly changing workplaces where some careers won’t even be here 10 years from now because of Artificial Intelligence. Social inequalities continue to dog us at a time when a tiny layer at the top of the food chain is raking in untold wealth. Racism, violence against women, human trafficking, wars, natural disasters and hyper-partisanship also factor in to make people and communities increasingly vulnerable. These are all issues that potential coaching clients have to contend with emotionally, physically and spiritually. Dealing with all these can be draining for anyone.
With a productive mindset however, all these socio-economic issues present an opportunity for individuals and communities to literally design lives that rise above circumstances.

I will deal with two specific challenges below. The first one is quite personal to me and the second one is a global phenomenon which all coaches the world over have to grapple with:

Firstly, the biggest challenge for me as a coach is seeing hundreds of people who need coaching services but have bread and butter issues to deal with. We may argue that personal transformation may materially affect the bread and butter issues, but it is not that simple. So, how do we increase access to coaching services for people and communities that can benefit immensely from them? Our profession, at its most basic, is about shifting mindsets, helping clients live their best lives by setting game-changing goals and putting in place accountability mechanisms to ensure that such goals are attained. Don’t people living below the poverty line need and deserve such attention as well? Don’t at-risk-youth? Don’t prisoners? Don’t rural populations? I personally struggle with the contradiction that people mired in the mud of abject poverty, communities beset by the infiltration of drugs and alcohol addiction, which can be reset partly by coaching, cannot even conceive of such a notion. Policy and Law can only go so far.
We do offer CSI interventions through Higher Self, but I feel led to emphasize this even more as I forge ahead with my mission and to broaden our offerings in appropriate and effective ways. Coaching is not a luxury, I truly believe in the transformative power of what I am doing through this calling and believe that every single human being who is willing to explore this option should not be prevented from doing so by the lack of access to economic resources.
This is a plea to Corporate SA and other sectors of the economy to partner with coaches everywhere to increase access for all communities on the face of this planet. We say we want healing for the world and this is one of the ways in which this vision can be realized.

Secondly, the Exponential Age, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is upon us and is touching different countries in uneven ways for obvious, and perhaps less obvious, reasons. Technology is here to stay. The tech and digital revolution is unfolding right in front of our eyes in truly awe-inspiring ways. I’m not one to fight losing battles and I genuinely believe that any invention on the face of the planet has the potential to have good and/or bad consequences depending on how it is perceived and used. There are now apps offering coaching services and I believe robots in the future will be programmed to offer coaching services. Last September, I attended my first Leaderex and the Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (COMENSA) hosted a coaching panel on Coaching in the Context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

To summarize some of the key points from the speakers, these are the issues that the coaching profession and the world at large will be seized with in the coming years:

*People’s sense of identity will become increasingly fragile and the risk of this playing itself out in unproductive ways is immense as we can all clearly see.
*The technology and digital revolution may lead to a loss of compassion, empathy and cooperation.
*Feeling skills, including humility, values and ethics will become critical.
*There’ll be a need to create spaces that promote and preserve our humaneness.
*Leadership which displays humaneness, empathy, compassion, cooperation and is connected to nature will be at a premium.
*The training that coaches are currently receiving will at some point become redundant therefore continuous professional development is critical to stay relevant and aware.

I personally find it to be ironic that the advent of AI may lead to us hungering for more down to earth, authentic and texturally human connections. The need to be seen is such a fundamental human need that I find it difficult to conceive of a scenario where a robot can do a better job than a human professional coach.

As wrap up Coaching 101 Month, to recap, I did a couple of things over the past 4 weeks:
– Laid out a case for coaching
– Showcased the most prevalent coaching niches
– Zoned in on two of the most popular coaching models
– Highlighted just two personal and global challenges facing me as a coach and the sector as a whole

Join me in June as I introduce you to youth living in SA that I’ve had the privilege of interviewing for the Higher Self Youth Month Celebration. It’s going to be LIT as the youth say!