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How do you know if Developmental Executive Coaching is for You or Your Staff?


“Self-organisation is not a startling new feature of the world. It is the way the world has created itself for billions of years. In all of human activity, self-organisation is how we begin. It is what we do until we interfere with the process and try to control one another”.

Margaret J Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers

 Hey, Jay here from The Coaching Room, thanks for checking out this article. Once you have read it, my hope is that you will have more clarity on what Developmental Executive Coaching (and self-organisation) is, and is not, and whether it is right for your personal and professional development.

The field of Coaching and where it all began…

This might sound odd, but coaching itself is actually not a new field – in that it has been emerging in alignment with the Human Potential Movement since the late 60’s and early 70’s, through the works of Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and then later, Timothy Galway, among many others.

The Human Potential Movement was a counter-cultural rebellion against mainstream remedial psychology of the earlier 20th century. The group (who helped form Esalen in California), broke away to study the structure of health and wellbeing. This included the renowned work of Virginia Satir, who actively encouraged therapists to shift their focus to relationship education to help Executives discover “more joy, more reality, more connectedness, more accomplishment and more opportunities for people to grow”.

Developmental Executive Coaching – how it differs from today’s performance-based coaching

It is interesting that around the same time as Esalen was formed, Jean Piaget was studying and developing his stages of cognitive development theory. Today we are still expanding and applying our knowledge as this work is led by numerous thought leaders, such as Ken Wilber (Integral theory), Susan Cook Greuter, Terri O’Fallon Robert Kegan, and many more (Developmentalists).

I bring this up, because in our view, Stages of Ego Development, sits at the heart of Developmental Coaching and differentiates it from Performance Based Coaching, which is based in the field of Behaviourism (strengths indicators, positive reinforcement, acronyms, strategies, etc.).

Developmental Coaching, then, focuses on an Executives  ‘meaning making’ structures, that drive and modulate a person’s actions and behaviours, toward higher levels of developmental growth, by expanding the overall view (meaning-making structures) of the client.

Developmental Executive Coaching – and Leadership

Leadership starts with self-leadership and a focus on self-awareness and self-development. This is the work of growing up, waking up, cleaning up and showing up.

The first three, have to do with our inner game. The personal work we do within our consciousness. This is the developmental work we engage in. The fourth (showing up) is where we enact real change in reality. It’s how we actualise our potential. 

Growing up is about maturity – being able to take multiple perspectives under pressure and responding appropriately. The more perspectives we can take, the more complexity we can hold, the more we can influence the environment, and the less influence the environment has upon us, in the face of the pressures that come with elite-level sports.

Waking up is about the disidentification with the self through our state experience. That is the presence and mindfulness, we can release the egoic conditioning of the self and self-structures that limit the athlete and the team.

Cleaning up is about clearing the mental barriers and prior intentions, beliefs, values and identity structures that getting in the way of us achieving potential.

Showing up is the enactment of all of the above. It’s where we make meaning matter. Here we ground our development in contextual appropriation. Abraham Maslow called this self-actualisation.

Leadership is contextual, meaning that the leadership approach depends on the contextual elements present (mindset, culture-set, skillset, system-set). Coaches in particular, need to understand the stage of development of the individual and of the team, in order to craft their message accordingly, to enable their peers and players to wake up, grow up, clean up and show up…

Lenses used in Developmental Coaching

In our developmental Coaching, we use a range of Lenses to help find the Executive’s map of reality (the expectations, beliefs, values, identity, stage structure and therefore their current thinking patterns that drive all perception).

1. The Enneagram – Personality Typology Lens

Through the use of The Enneagram, the Executive has the opportunity to gain objective awareness of how their personality type informs, governs and drives how they lead, in delight and disaster (at their best and at their worst).

It also enables the Executive to read and fully understand other’s motivations, needs and true desires – in order to connect, relate and engage others.

2. Stages of Development

Using The Identity Compass profile to map out the client’s Cognitive Intentions, the Executive can begin to understand their developmental stage structure and action logics in understanding themselves (Intra-Personal Intelligence), understanding others (Inter-Personal Intelligence), making decisions (Moral Intelligence), expressing and communicating (Emotional Intelligence) and so on.

This enables the Executive/Leader to understand how they make meaning developmentally and what is next for them in maturation, integration at the edge of their comfort zone.

3. Lines of intelligence – originates from the work of Howard Gardeners’ Multiple Intelligences

The Lines of Development lens looks at the Executive’s current level of capacity and competency in each of the following Developmental Intelligence Lines, and aligns each with the Coaching topic and outcomes – therefore identifying developmental blind spots. The key lines used in our Developmental Coaching Programs are: 

Cognitive – The capacity to take multiple perspectives at once

Emotional – A deep understanding of cause and direction

Somatic – Connectedness with physiology

Interpersonal – Connectedness in relating with others

Intent/Purpose – Knowing what deeply matters – sense of purpose in actions

Moral – How the Executive knows what to consider when making decisions?

The Integral Semantic (IS) Leadership Matrix

This model combines Integral Theory, the Integral AQAL model, Semantic and Semiotic models, that elegantly weaves together their unique capacity to facilitate, through their own being and presence; to greater self (and other) awareness, leading to skillful means, action logics, and group dynamics.

The IS Leadership Matrix is a personal, team, and organisational engagement model that enables participants to learn how to facilitate high-quality Leadership outcomes.

New Leadership – A Different Way of Being 

The creation of holistic, authentic, integrated, unique expression as a Leader – an unoccupied way of being as a Leader.

Integration & Embodiment

This is about the Executive taking the knowing of their understandings, models, ideas, and concepts into seeing, going, doing and being their different way, as an Executive and as a Leader.

Response-ability To & For Distinction

As the field of coaching is generative (generating difference) rather than remedial (re-solving past issues), we begin with the premise that the Executive is healthy and is already actualising their potential in their Current Way.

Developmental Coaching as a process, is designed to enable you, the Executive to take ownership of this and therefore evolve yourself with volition (at your own pace, and in a way that is ecological.

The Developmental Coach is a facilitator of response-ability for an Executive’s 4 key powers; ownership of the Executive’s thinking (cognitive), feeling (emotional), actions (output), and communicating (relating).

This simple distinction sets Developmental Coaching apart from all other styles of coaching and training by empowering the Executive to step into self-organisation and self-management of their developmental growth.

Executive Benefits of Developmental Executive Coaching, as described by our clients

* More self-awareness of personality and motivations

* A better understanding and knowledge of Leading versus Managing

* To create effective rapport with peers, colleagues, reports, and the board of Directors

* To develop growth in terms of worldview (capacity to hold more perspectives)

* To be able to effectively engage and collaborate with the entire Executive Team and Board of Directors

* To lead through the creation of a pioneering and engaging vision

* To lead the organisation’s social systems (learn to lead systemically)

* To become objective to and lead the organisation’s culture

* To create impartial external accountability to the team and organisational outcomes.

Here’s what Michael had to say about coaching with us:

“I have used Executive Coaches a number of times during my career, typically when faced with new work-related challenges. Jay and the team at the Coaching Room offer a new higher level of Executive Coaching. Their approach based in Developmental Psychology and Integral-theory philosophies was able to take me as a person and a boss way beyond what I had previously experienced.

As managers and executives, we are promoted based on our technical skills and abilities and rarely on our people management skills, and yet, as team leaders, our ability to interact with people is the real secret to success.

The outcomes from my Coaching Room executive 1:1 coaching experience gave me significant insights as to who I am and how I operate, it made me a much more in tune leader, colleague, team member, husband, and father, and that in turn facilitated amazing outcomes from the people around me. It has changed me for the better forever. Are you up for the challenge?…”

Michael Rollo

Former Chief Risk Officer, Leighton Holdings Limited



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