Our main contribution, what our customers appear to buy, when we coach individuals, teams or whole organizations, is the processes that we put in place. The process with which we enable them to create a vision, improve their performance, become committed, and so on. To do so we have tools to encourage dialogue, to mobilize collective intelligence, to steer transformation, to plant the seeds of organizational learning, and so on. Our job is to find the process that best fits the customer’s needs. And we learn that the coach, the facilitator’s role is to lead the process.
Of course some of these processes are quite powerful. Often the sea can get rough, people feel uneasy, start voicing resistance, doubt the process that we propose. And when that happens we tell ourselves – we tell our customers – to trust the process.
In fact the process, however powerful it can be, is never good (or bad) in itself. The same process can be the source of the most wonderful transformations and can be extremely destructive. It all depends on the meaning we give to it, the intentions that guide us, the beliefs we carry in our back pack. NLP can be used to win a fight, to negotiate with kidnappers, to enroll people into a sect … and help accompany the development and fulfillment of a person we coach. Same thing for large group facilitation techniques, systemic approaches, meditation, artistic workshops, games, role plays, constellations … and all the transformation processes we may propose to our customers.
So what really makes the difference ?
The process is just an empty container. What’s left is the invisible, the human relationships, how we are alive and present, our emotional/relational/situational intelligence. Who, what and how we are. In the end, that will always be why we’re chosen, not because of the process we put in place, but our special ability to put in place this process – our intention, our style, the quality of our relationships to others, the trust the customers can have in us. That’s what can make us successful.
So, if we can’t really rely on the processes we have in our coaching/facilitating tool box (our experience, our skills!) – what can we trust in to be effective ? We need to develop a trust in our invisible qualities – our intention, the source that guides us, the intelligence of the heart, our ability to trust our intuition, our pleasure to work together – in addition to our logic and analytical skills.
And this makes us realize that our job is to help the people we work with to pay special attention to their own intentions – again and again and again – like an invisible column which can lead our own work – make it truly powerful. And also help them learn to better work with all those other intelligences that our so helpful to thrive in our complex world.