Coaching is more than complicated systems and discipline

I’ve just been through an interesting reversal of roles as I was looking for a business coach.  Given that we do coaching around issues of complexity, culture, communications and leadership, it was fascinating to go through a pre-sales process with an international business coaching organisation.

I’ve just cancelled the first face-to-face meeting, but not before filling in a nine-page profile of Narrate that tried to fit an organic organisation into a set of pre-determined, numbers-focussed boxes; listening to their initial one-hour audio programme, a recording of the Australian founder talking to a seminar audience.  (I say talking, either his microphone was set badly or he just shouted for an hour.  I had a headache…)

Much of their coaching process is based around implementing a set of specific systems and then keeping your nose to the grindstone to make sure it happens and you generate lots of revenue.

I’m not sure where to start, but I can’t imagine anything more anathema to the work we’re doing.  And while I want a coach to support Narrate’s business and my own work, I refuse to go with any organisation for whom it’s only about a) systems and processes to crank (i.e. squeezing everything about the organisation into the “Complicated” quadrant of the Cynefin framework) and b) lots of hard work and discipline and keeping your nose to the grindstone.

So.  I’m still looking, but it’s been a useful learning to go through all of that.  I’ve been advised before to prepare forms for people to fill in before we meet for our free surgery sessions.  And I still see that there may be some use in it.  But if it ever becomes a nine-page numbersfest, someone shoot me.