How do we shape the executive coaching market?


As suppliers, it is important that we articulate our perspective on coaching so as to balance and contribute to the discussions generated by buyers telling the market what they are looking for.

There is a risk that if we make too much room for the buyers to provide their narrative, to tell us what they want, that we may lose the chance to provide an account of our experience. If we don’t provide an ongoing account of our work then the coaching conversation shrinks and we become marginalised.

Partly this involves us being able to tell the market about what we do, what our values and passion for coaching relate to and being able to tell the market about the trends we observe in our work.

But can we become bolder?

There is a tension between the people who buy, and the people who supply. The people who buy have to resist becoming restricted to buying what they are used to, otherwise they may become disconnected from the new and valuable work that the suppliers develop and produce.

The challenge to the supplier is how to keep regenerating the relationship with the buyer and provide new, fresh and meaningful accounts of our work. That is not to say that we intend to lose sight of the buyers’ objectives, investment and need for outcomes. But we are looking to balance the conversation.

Coaching is regenerative and transformative

Executive Coaching regenerates the buyers’ organisation through supplying transformative work. The transformations that take place in the Executive Coaching relationship then become manifest in the organisation through renewed connection with stakeholders.

The coaching relationship is often introduced through the metaphor of the chemistry meeting. There is much more to this metaphor. If the coaching is set up on the correct lines (objective focused, ethical, confidential, framed, boundaried, supervised etc.,) then there is the opportunity for new and transformative personal chemical reactions to occur (an increase in energy and enthusiasm etc.,) and be brought to the service of the individual and the organisation.

Executive coaching is a process that develops through two people working together to create genuinely transformative interventions, beyond the linear process to include the realms of spatial possibility.

Executive coaching is much more than an auditing exercise; the buyers’ audit and measures are the beginning of the exercise but should not be confused with the exercise itself.

We want to be the natural people that buyers wish to develop their ideas as to why they want to buy coaching. We want to be the healthy and open link, providing a route through which the transforming coaching work is introduced.

William Blake used the metaphor of the devourer and the prolific to think about themes like these, Blake was writing at the point of the French Revolution where the politics where oppositional and binary. I think we want to avoid such binary oppositions but his metaphor is productive; how do we find ways to bring our supply of ideas and experience to the buyers’ attention to help revolutionise working practices.

Executive coaching is a route through which the buyers’ organisation will develop its future ideas, ways of working and commercial strengths.

Coaching is a portal to development and transformation, the buyer needs us to be providing good information about our work and experience.