Reading Marc Kahn's brilliant new book, Coaching on the Axis, I am struck by the crucial role of a systemic approach in ensuring that business coaching results in "the promotion of success at all levels of the organisation by affecting the actions of those being coached." Backed by a strong theoretical foundation and his wide and deep professional experience, he points out that
- "both the organisation and the individual [or team] being coached are clients" - coaches need to work constantly with the duality of organisation and coachee(s) as clients at the same time.
- A lot of coaching has its roots in individual therapy which can lead to the coach identifying with the coachee against his or her organisation
- Coaches need to work along the axis between the individual, his or her role in the organisation, and the organisation. In the world of work, "a person enters into a contract with an organisation to play a role ... to add value to the business ... and be rewarded by payment, recognition, job satisfaction and a sense of meaning and purpose."
His recommendations for coaches to correct the misalignment between business and coaching are
- "Coaches need to release any bias in favour of the individual over the organisation, and adopt the notion of duality of client."
- Coaches should "ensure they balance their theoretical focus in individual psychology with that of organisational and cultural theory."
- Business coaches must "shift from the health and well-being mindset that is typical of psychology into a relational mindset focused on business performance and financial success."
Update 13 October: Read my book review on Goodreads