International Coaching Week 2017: Global Insights

To celebrate the International Coaching Week of May 2017, PocketConfidant AI Team asked expert advisors and partners from various countries around the world to provide their observations on the coaching landscape, how it is evolving, and the needs they see in the future.

As a reminder, in previous articles we provided thoughts and observations on What Is Coaching. As we often get questions on coaching in general, asking us to clarify our understanding, we wrote this series of articles to better define and communicate our view of what coaching is, the role of a coach, and what coaching can provide to you as an individual or an organization.

What our experts say

Ron Breazeale, Clinical Psychologist, Author, and Charlene Moynihan, Resilience Specialist. USA.

“These are stressful times in the United States of America. It’s becoming easier to lose focus on one’s goals with all the available distractions. We are a culture that enjoys being in control when it comes to our journey through life. Coaching meets this need. It empowers people to achieve self-chosen goals which helps facilitate success and long-term happiness. Resilience Coaching not only has value for the individual but for the global community within and beyond our borders. Resilient people, communities and cultures can better address the adversity that life inevitably applies from time to time. We need to approach Resilience Coaching in a multi-modal way if we are to reach the greatest number of global community members. Professional coaching, peer coaching, on-line resources and artificial intelligence are a good start. We mustn’t be locked into a single modality. We must reach out to the masses with every tool available if we are to facilitate change.”

Note: To learn more about Resilience, read the following articles on The Eleven Skills To Increase Resilience (from Ron Breazeale) and 11 Competencies For Building Resilience In A Digital World (from PocketConfidant AI).

Richard Day, Performance Coach. Australia.

“One of the most powerful ongoing developments within the Australian coaching landscape is the increasing use of powerful questions to assist people to become more reflective and self-aware. I think the industry is growing very quickly within Australia and that is a reflection of what may be on the horizon both nationally and internationally… Increasing collaboration between people of the world about things that really matter such as human relations, sustainability and increasing cooperation to achieve beneficial outcomes for all of humanity. Coaching as a self-reflective tool is helping people all around the world to question what they do and how they do it, and values-driven Australian businesses are driving this type of enquiry proactively.
“AI”, especially in developing Western cultures, is providing a viable option for more people to access and become familiar with the concept of coaching and its many associated benefits. As an egalitarian society, Australians strongly believe in a “fair go” for all and the PocketConfidant-like technologies, allowing a greater percentage of any society to access the benefits of unbiased coaching.”

Jani Saarisivu, Values-driven Coach. Sweden.

“It seems individuals, professionals and executives alike are starting to realize that a coach isn’t someone you just approach when you are trying to fix something, but rather seen as someone who will support and inspire you to go from good to great. As far as burgeoning trends go, Sweden occupies an extremely unique position on the World Value Survey Map, and has been doing so for quite a while. Simply interpreted, it means that the average Swede is in the luxurious position of being free to realize their every self-fulfillment need, thanks to a high average living standard and a very low influence of traditional and religious values. However, this freedom comes with added pressure, as for instance: If I can’t find happiness and fulfillment in such favorable conditions, what does that say about me? And if I choose a direction or a strategy for happiness, how can I be sure it’s the right one? With so many choices, which is the “best” one? Could I potentially be even happier? When can I feel content and know I’m “there”? And worse yet, why am I not happy, engaged or fulfilled?
Plenty of studies have concluded that too many choices can cause “analysis paralysis”, or an uneasy dissatisfaction with the choice finally made. So, having too much freedom of choice can sometimes be debilitating and not always such a good thing, but “complaining” about such a luxury problem sounds wrong on so many levels when you know the struggles of other people across the globe.
Never again will we see as little change as we do today, and the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world we live in will demand more self-leadership from us than ever before. We will need to structure our choices around a solid personal values system and perhaps coaching is just the thing that will smoothen the ride and provide us with the compass we need.”

Catherine Charmoille – Executive & Change Management Coach. France.

“Coaching is growing slowly in France and is today quite mature, with well-known and recognized coaching experts (such as François Délivré, Vincent Lenhardt, Michel Giffard), as well as good training programs offering a large variety of coaching techniques from NLP to Gestalt to Transactional Analysis and the Interactional Systemic approach. Coaching is mostly focusing on professional contexts for individuals and is perceived different from therapy (the heritage of our Freudian habits!). Executive Coaching is expanding and is now offered to assist managers and rising stars in their career development. There are lots of coaches, however it is not easy to discern the differences or the quality that is delivered. Coaching is still often too costly to be expanded systematically for a larger audience of coachees and companies.
I see more demand from individuals aged 40 and even 30, feeling the need to pause and think with someone, for themselves. I see the request to be supported 24/7 in dealing with thoughts and problems, and the need to access a listening and diagnosis capability more easily – perhaps a future move towards a mix of coaching and therapy? I also see industries opening to coaching to support their transitions (i.e. Healthcare).”

Giorgia Sanfiori – Generative Change, Supervisor, Transformational Coach, NLP Trainer, IAGC French representative – France.

“I observe more and more leaders in desperate need of Being, asking for pauses, moments for thinking and feeling, moments of sharing human interaction. A need to slow down, to connect to something bigger and to become creative. Opening up to creativity is a different way of coaching people at their identity level. The coach invites his client to explore a universe of infinite possibilities to create a desirable self and a desirable future. What I also observe globally is that people are less and less looking for the classical coaching practice of Doing, but more and more requesting a coaching practice towards Being; they search for purpose, contribution, belonging etc. For instance, I am working with surgeons who ask coaches to question and support their patients to reflect on how to work with and build a new vision of the future after a complex surgery. Related to France, the profession of coaching in Paris is more open to experimentation and embracing the « new », whereas coaching practice in the provinces is more traditional.”

Sarah Frossell – Coaching, NLP, Leadership Trainer. United Kingdom.

“Over the past ten years or so coaching has become the answer to everything to do with learning and learning development. Enlightened organizations – the BBC, Logica, Magic Light Pictures, to name a few – have invested in training internal coaches, creating coaching cultures and made coaching a core part of their leadership style and strategy. In other places, the emphasis has been on using coaching and mentoring as a strategy for dealing with and remediating crisis situations. All this has been a to good effect and has set the scene for using coaching and coaching conversations in new and different ways. The new focus is clearly on two areas; building resilience and moving through transition. Coaching in the future will be about supporting people in becoming emotionally skilled as they move through and embrace ambiguity and change, reinvent themselves, create and enact new narratives to support their performance and on-going pursuit of personal excellence.”

Key learnings on coaching and society’s evolutions

Reading the above observations from different coaching experts around the world, it seems we share some themes. There is a lot of agreement around “resilience” (the ability to bounce back from difficult situations), the power of questioning, the need to stop and develop more capacity for self-reflection and self-awareness, the focus on human relations and interactions, the strive for “unbiased coaching”, the importance of values, purpose, belonging and contribution.
Reviewing information from talks with our stakeholders, HR-trends reports, Educational-trends reports and the topics being proposed at the latest conferences and events, it seems there is an increasing desire, even need, for individuals to move towards developing more emotional skills, to help us all become better listeners, and improve our understanding of ourselves and OTHERS; an important shift from a focus on individual performance to more focus on social relationships and interactions.

We think that coaching is going through a very disruptive period of “digitalization” where technologies, apps and systems will enable anyone to access coaching content and techniques. These technologies will also facilitate and enhance the coaching professional’s ability to support their ongoing clients, and to search for new clients.

As Michael Schrage says: “Over the past 20 years, my design research emphasis has radically flipped from how can people create more valuable innovation, to how can innovation create more valuable people? […] In essence, the more creatively, comprehensively, and innovatively we digitize our selves, the greater the opportunities we have for helping people define, design, and develop the optimal, traits and attributes they desire. […] The premise is that digital technology can drive greater self-awareness and self-assessment about how individuals create and contribute to enterprise value. The design focus shifts from digital assistants to digital assistance. Think of an AI that stands for Augmented Introspection as well as Artificial Intelligence.”

At PocketConfidant AI we are building technology, an expert-team, network and knowledge, to become an entity with core capabilities to contribute to observing and monitoring the rise of AI in Human development. AI is becoming increasingly ubiquitous every day and we think it has great promise to support all individuals with its capacity for collecting the significant information that can improve our ability to reflect and our process of decision-making. Our goal is to facilitate:

  • Coaching education and democratization
  • Sharing coaching’s ethical code of practice, principles, and techniques
  • The ability for individuals or groups to search for and match well with human coaches
  • Provide high quality and supervised coaching that is neutral, ethical, and where outcomes are not subject to economic bias or low-quality training.

To conclude, we would like to recommend the International Coaching Federation (ICF) website. It offers extensive resources and that you can read about various new developments on their blog (note: two of their newest blog posts are about the Czech Republic and Nigeria). ICF is a respected professional coaching organization in the world. We also invite you to do your own research to find coaching resources in your own area that best match your needs and desires.

To share your thoughts or suggest an idea, engage in the conversation and contribute to our common learning, please contact us. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Medium and Quora to engage in the conversation and contribute in a common learning.

Know Thyselves.