I tend to think of organisational development as rather a grand thing - changing a whole company, strategic, big intervention.

And of coaching as rather a modest practice - one-to-one conversation, a guided dialogue to open up possibility.

So what role can coaching play in management education and development?

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Hi Paul

Thanks for setting up this group, and kicking off this discussion.

I guess one obvious way that a coach can help, is when the coachee has a responsibility for 'organisational development' in some way. The coach can help them be more effective at that.

Another cross-over is when, as a consultant with some wider organisational brief, it seems that taking a coaching approach would be helpful to one or more of the client team.

Looking forward to wider discussion.

Penny
Hi Paul and Penny,
To some extent, I am using coaching within organisations, although not so much with management but with staff.

I deliver a workshop on Health and Well-being to staff within organisations. Where does coaching come in? In three ways:

1) I use a coaching approach to help delegates identify and commit to their health and well-being goals
2) I encourage peer-to-peer coaching for ongoing support towards goals long after the workshop
3) I offer email support one month after the workshop, again using a coaching approach within the email

I hope my answer is of some use.

Kind regards,
Janice
Hi Paul

I think we might be mixing issues of different scales and parts with wholes.

Organisational development - changing a whole company, strategic, big intervention. Systemic change through the interaction of many or all members and possibly stakeholders. Often a statement of intent but to a greater extent an emergent process - out of direct management control.

Now if compare that with coaching.

Coaching - one-to-one conversation, a guided dialogue to open up possibility. Agreed. The bit I would add is from Patricia Shaws concept of changing conversations - through coaching it is possible (desirable) to change perspective (of self, others and issues) such that the coachee's conversation changes in their interactions with others. In my opinion these changing conversations are the raw material emergence at a systems level.

The issue is the belief that OD and change are able to be actively managed, as apposed to the emergent, systemic and complex processes that actually go on within organisations as old narratives are reinforced (immune response) or new narrative take hold (emergence.) Coaching perhaps plays a critical role in creating, igniting, amplifying, nurturing and reinforcing these trends but not necessarily in any coordinated and aligned way. Who knows what goes on behind close doors!

So what role can coaching play in management education and development? (This seems a different question) but I agree with the contributions of Penny & Janice.

Thanks for starting this conversation.

Nick
I see coaching as integral to "OD activities". It can be a valuable way to help both individuals and teams reflect on their taken-for-granted asumptions and open up new ways of thinking and decision-making. A coaching approach to management is key in engaging employees and thus moving an organisation forward. Coaching is not a 'quick fix', but over time has an important role to play in supporting culture change, and consequently in management education and development.
It seems to me that if we are to take complexity and emergence ideas seriously, as Nick does (and I do too), then both 'classic' OD and coaching are changing the organisation. It's quite feasible for coaching of one person to have an organisation-wide knock on effect (see Carey Glass's chapter The Power of One in our collection Solutions Focus Working - http://www.sfwork.com/jsp/index.jsp?lnk=827).

Another possibility, which we've been doing in one NHS Trust recently, is to run a six-month programme to encourage managers to use more of a coaching style in their everyday work. Now that over 100 managers have completed this programme, there are definite signs of organisation-wide shifts emerging as shown in staff survey responses etc. This was not really the expressed purpose at the outset - however, it is proving very welcome! There is a Health Service Journal article about this at http://www.sfwork.com/graphics/keys_to_unlock_leadership.jpg.

So, I might think of OD - Coaching as a spectrum rather than two poles.

Nick Allen said:
Hi Paul

I think we might be mixing issues of different scales and parts with wholes.

Organisational development - changing a whole company, strategic, big intervention. Systemic change through the interaction of many or all members and possibly stakeholders. Often a statement of intent but to a greater extent an emergent process - out of direct management control.

Now if compare that with coaching.

Coaching - one-to-one conversation, a guided dialogue to open up possibility. Agreed. The bit I would add is from Patricia Shaws concept of changing conversations - through coaching it is possible (desirable) to change perspective (of self, others and issues) such that the coachee's conversation changes in their interactions with others. In my opinion these changing conversations are the raw material emergence at a systems level.

The issue is the belief that OD and change are able to be actively managed, as apposed to the emergent, systemic and complex processes that actually go on within organisations as old narratives are reinforced (immune response) or new narrative take hold (emergence.) Coaching perhaps plays a critical role in creating, igniting, amplifying, nurturing and reinforcing these trends but not necessarily in any coordinated and aligned way. Who knows what goes on behind close doors!

So what role can coaching play in management education and development? (This seems a different question) but I agree with the contributions of Penny & Janice.

Thanks for starting this conversation.

Nick
Dear Paul,

Thank you for setting up this group and to Belinda who invited me to join. I recognise one or two old friends in the list of members so 'greetings'.

The comments are stimulating and I agree with Nick's framing of some of the dimensions. It is certainly a big subject.

One small aspect that interests me is the potential cross-over in scale and focus when coaching accentuates self-managed learning and the value of such learning to both an individual and the organisation in which they are working. In such a case I think that the work experiences discussed may then become the raw material for both individual management and education and influence the collective - especially if others are also using coaching for reflective learning.

regards

roger
Is there also a question of 'expertise' here? A coach is not (necessarily) expected to know much, if anything, of the clients' issues. The coach skillfully leads a conversation, offers space for reflection. Whereas an OD practitioner is perhaps expected to know how organisations 'work' and 'develop' - even if prompting questions and reflections are among the major tools deployed.
Can I simply say organisations are emergent, and any one thing may well impact others, so my minimal interventions (eg a single coaching conversation) are valid/valuable pieces of OD?
Hi Paul and other colleagues

Just a quick reply to show willing before leaving on an internet-free holiday this morning. Really interesting ideas here, and I'm wondering if it might also be helpful to explore the angle of our shifting roles in addition to processes. I spend a fair bit of time coaching senior doctors such as Medical Directors who sit in NHS Boards, and it seems to me that there's some sort of relationship here between contributing to both OD and personal development work. Many of us work as appropriate in different roles, drawing upon a repertoire of professional skills - sometimes coach, sometimes OD etc. I'm particularly interested in exploring the micro-processes of OD (if that's not a contradiction in terms).

I'll be fascinated to return to this string when I return after 4 May. Meantime, thank you for kicking off such a stimulating discussion. Best wishes. Bob
Hi Paul - our company has provided coach training skills to customers - typically as part of a wider professional development or leadership development intervention.  It builds capacity into the organisation by providing confidence in peoples' innate strengths.  I personally also love team coaching - a 'one to many/many to many' conversation!

Hi Paul,

Your post from 2010 caught my eye.

I have been fortunate to work with coachees who are progressing through long term leadership development programmes which incorporate significant, coachee defined, organisational change projects. In these circumstances, where initial interventions focus on the results of assessment and feedback and the subsequent coaching interventions are associated with the choice, definition and implementation of these projects it has been my privilege, as a coach, to witness an extremely high degree of association between the guided dialogue, as you describe it, and the development of the organisation. 

The developmental projects are of the greatest value when the coach supports the choice, definition and implementation of a project that integrates relevant leadership development for the coachee and, often, their team members together with or in the context of the business development project they own.

I don't therefore tend to see the gap between corporate change and development and individual leadership and management development - both supported by coaching - in the rather stark, disconnected terms that you have outlined.

Best regards,

John Evans

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