Kingstown College Coaching Magazine vol.5 2019/2020

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Welcome to another information filled publication of our Coaching Magazine!



PRICE £5.95 / €7.20

Is coaching


for the planet?

The 5 States

of Team Success

Is Artificial Intelligence

your new coach?

Cognitive Behaviour




at work

Keith Barry

on Coaching


and Mentoring

in An Garda Síochána

Finding your

coaching niche

the tree of life and core concept • Coaching model on a sales team • The Legend of

zelda • transformational coaching • the world of a financial coach • recovery

framework in mental health practice • Mentoring in the charity sector


A message from the Directors

Welcome to another information filled

publication of our Coaching Magazine!

It is truly an exciting time for Coaching

and Mentoring. Once again, this year, we

have experienced a record number of

applications for our courses in Coaching

and Mentoring. We are seeing the

professions and skill sets being adopted

by leadership in every industry and

sector from charity, to government and


This is, of course, in addition to the

many coaches and mentors who work

independently to help their life coaching

and executive coaching clients to

overcome and achieve.

Since the last publication, Dublin

has hosted the EMCC International

Conference which boasted the largest

ever attendance. This is a very proud

moment for us at Kingstown College as it

showed how respected the coaching and

mentoring professions are in Ireland, and

also how our capital city was enjoyed by

the attendees from all over the world.

With keynotes and workshops

including best selling author Tim

Gallowey, Professor David Clutterbuck,

and mentalist Keith Barry, attendees

discovered new theory, real world

applications and a peek at how the mind

can play tricks on us!

One of the highlights for us was the

opportunity to present the findings of

our Corporate Wellbeing Survey. This

research helps us to inform the content of

the new Diploma in Corporate Wellbeing

Coaching which will be a popular study

option for learners in 2020.

The new Certificate in Mentoring is

now available for online study, which is

proving to be particularly interesting to

large organisations which need to train

mentors and mentees efficiently across

multiple locations.

As you read through the articles in this

edition, consider for a moment how young

the coaching profession is, and yet see

how many industries have embraced

those principles to put people and people

development to the fore of their strategy.

In your next steps as a coach and mentor,

we trust you will find these insights

beneficial, and we look forward to hearing

and reading about your success!

Yours in Coaching,

Paula King and Edward Boland

4 Coaching Magazine Vol.5



The Beauty of the ‘F’ Word!

Paula King


Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Can it

Change Your View of Life?

Carmel Woods

Kingstown College

Harbour View

7-9 Clarence Street

Dun Laoghaire

Co. Dublin


Tel: +353 1 284 5360


Setting Boundaries at Work

Judith Spring


Introducing a Coaching Model on a

Sales Team

Niamh McCartney


The Tree of Life and Core Concept

Isabelle Gillespie


Editor: Alan Brereton


The Corporate Wellbeing Coaching


Chandrika Deshpande

Design and Layout: Anna Kozielska

Academic Supervision: Kingstown College

Directors: Paula King, Edward Boland


Taking Control: Resilience for Work

and Life

Jane Perry

The content of this publication - design, text and images -

are all subject to copyright and may only be reproduced

with the permission of Kingstown College. Please contact with any reproduction requests.

The views expressed by the authors may not be the views

of Kingstown College or Executive Coaching Solutions Ltd.


Going Beyond: Transformational


Steven Lane


Team Coaching: Coaching Teams of


David Clutterbuck



The Legend of Zelda and the Hero’s

(Heroine’s?) Journey

Zelda di Blasi


Coaching for Writing a Book

Susan Browne


Coaching Heroes Award


What makes for Successful Coaching?

Andreea Artilean


How to become a Life or Executive Coach


Artificial Intelligence in Coaching

and the Job Market

Christa Ilieva


The World of a Financial Coach

Morgan O’Connell


The 5 States of Team Success

Sinead Fitzgerald


Goldilocks and the Neuroscience of Change

Rachael Clarke


Case Study: Introducing a Mentoring

Scheme in the Charity Sector

Adrienne Collins


Mentoring Irish Rugby Players for

Life After Rugby

Paula King


Case Study: Leadership and

Management Development within an

Garda Síochána

Oliver Nally


Finding Your Coaching Niche

Alana Kirk


Is Coaching Good for the Planet?

Jo Sachs-Eldridge


Case Study: Coaching through Societal

Change in the Disability Sector - A

Journey of DIscovery and Creativity

Pamela Mansell


How the Application of a Coaching

Approach Can Facilitate the

Implementation of the Recovery

Framework in Mental Health Practice

Patsy Mc Sharry


Keith Barry speaks about Confidence

and Performance


Prof. David Clutterbuck on Leadership

and Speaking Up in the Organisation


Meet the Faculty


In-House Training Solutions

Also available to view online at

6 Coaching Magazine Vol.5


Master Coach and Director of Kingstown College, Paula King, discusses the other

‘F’ word as she explains how working with forgiveness and self forgiveness are

powerful steps for a client to improve their happiness and even their health.

I was struck by a conversation I had with one

of my clients recently during our coaching

session. He was encountering a particularly

challenging time and our work together was

focused on how we could release some of

his time. An obvious resource would have

appeared to be one of his peers who had

both the expertise and experience to assist

my client prepare a complicated report.

When I questioned him on his rationale

for not engaging with him my client told

me that his colleague had upset him some

years before and he would never forgive

him. This decision, by my client, to retain

such negative emotions for such a long time

struck me deeply. The greatest gift we can

give to ourselves is the gift of forgiveness –

forgiving ourselves and others.

What is important about Forgiveness?

Negative life events, if significant enough,

can get encoded in memory and often

cause us to have physical reactions to

remembering the painful experience.

From the perspective of psychological

research holding a grudge is considered an

“imagined emotional response” (Witvliet, et

al., 2001).

This would suggest that one must fuel the

negative emotions in order to sustain them

over a long period of time. For example,

vengeful thoughts that embellish and

describe the event with contempt only

intensify the emotional imagery and

physiological experience.

There is research, however, that shows the

desire for revenge to be in some instances

stronger than empathic motivation,

especially in men. Participants in a

Singer and Lamm study did not respond

with empathy toward a person that was

suffering, especially when they felt the

person deserved punishment (2009).

“One moment of anger

can wipe out a lifetime

of merit”

Dalai Lama


As with so much of our behaviour as human

beings, we need to practice the art of

forgiveness as forgiveness is a muscle which

must be developed. Indeed, some argue

that empathy should be cultivated early on

through ‘forgiveness education’. When inner

turmoil ensues in adulthood, it may be tough

to find our way to forgiveness if we’ve never

practiced it before therefore teaching children

and adolescents what forgiveness is and

how people go about forgiving makes sense.

Teaching forgiveness can help young people

and, later, as adults forge stable and meaningful

relationships with the understanding that anger

does not need to result in discord and division.

Cultivating forgiveness is important because,

many people are similar to my client and are

nurturing negative emotions resentment and

anger which can have serious implications for

their mental health and wellbeing.

Studies show that being an object of

transgression can be a significant cause for

developing depression and that practicing

forgiveness can alleviate feelings of anger,

avoidance and vengeful-ness that lead to

If we move our

clients towards


through our use of

coaching tools such

as Appreciative

Inquiry we can assist

them to reframe

negative thoughts

and commence the

process of building

on strengths.

negative consequences in one’s emotional and

physical health as well as relationships (Brown,

2003; McCullough et al., 1998).

According to the Mayo Clinic, deliberate letting

Therefore research tells us that letting go of

negative emotions can often have a remarkable

impact on the body.


go of negative emotions, particularly those that

are strong and have been linked to forgiveness

brings with it plenty of health benefits, including

improved relationships, decreased anxiety and

stress, lower blood pressure, a lowered risk of

depression, and stronger immune and heart


Some of the work carried out by Professor Paul

Gilbert in the space of Compassion Focused

Therapy can be useful for us, as coaches, when

working with our clients who are experiencing

difficulty forgiving perceived failures. In the

following table we see how a client may view

themselves when they encounter a perceived

One study found that letting go and adopting

a merciful attitude toward the offender

contributed to fewer cardiovascular and

immune system problems (Witvliet, et al.,


Other studies found forgiveness to be positively

associated with five measures of health:

failure and have difficulty forgiving themselves.

Their self -narrative can create deep upset for

them. We see their focus is on past errors and

concentrating on deficits which can only lead to

deeply upsetting emotions.

If we move our clients towards selfcompassion

through our use of coaching

tools such as Appreciative Inquiry we can

1. physical symptoms,

assist them to reframe negative thoughts

and commence the process of building on

2. medications used,

strengths rather than focusing on areas of

negativity and frustrations.

3. sleep quality,

Self-forgiveness entails fostering of

4. fatigue, and

positive emotions directed toward oneself;

and the definition of self-forgiveness

5. somatic complaints

not only included the abandoning of

self-directed negative emotion, but also

(McCullough, Sandage, & Worthington, 1997;

McCullough & Worthington, 1994; Thoresen,

Harris, & Luskin, 1990).

the increase in positive or benevolent

emotion like compassion, generosity, and

love toward the self (Enright, 2001).

Shame-based self-attacking Compassionate self-correcting

• Focuses on the desire to condemn • Focuses on the desire to improve

and punish

• Emphasizes growth and enhancement

• Punishes past errors and is often

backward looking

• Is forward-looking

• Is given with anger, frustration, • Is given with encouragement, support,

contempt, disappointment


• Concentrates on deficits and fear • Builds on positives (e.g. seeing

of exposure

what you did well and then considering

• Focuses on self as a global sense

learning points)

of self

Table 1

Adapted from P. Gilbert (2009) The Compassionate Mind

8 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

I work with many clients who are

smart and talented people. They push

themselves to achieve and if they

encounter what they perceive to be

failure, they can be extraordinarily hard

on themselves. Coaching them towards

the understanding of the importance

of the gift of self-compassion is an

important aspect of our coaching as

no human being can truly become the

best version of themselves and reach

their potential if their self-narrative is

critical and negative. Self-forgiveness

is an important aspect of one’s ability

to forgive others, in the same way as

self-compassion is crucial to one’s

predisposition to be compassionate

toward other human beings.

Being kind to yourself and forgiving

of your own shortcomings can give us

much needed perspective on suffering

and imperfections of others. It allows

us to connect to others on the level of

common humanity and can often be a

humbling experience when evaluating

what motivates other people’s behavior.

Coaching tools such as ‘Switching

Perspectives’ where we invite our clients

to view the world through another’s eyes

can be extremely powerful for our clients

and assist them to view a relationship

from a kinder and gentler perspective.

Studies in conflict resolution show that

we tend to invent intentions for others

when in most situations we know only

our half of the story.

Wenzel et al. (2012) argued that selfforgiveness

is best understood as a

process by which we sever the negative

link between taking responsibility and

positive self-regard, which is a process

that Holmgren (1998) referred to as

genuine self-forgiveness.

The following table outlines the

difference between shame-based self

-attacking and compassionate selfcorrection.

So forgiving ourselves and others is

important for our well-being and resilience.

Loren Toussaint, an associate professor

of psychology at Luther College in Iowa,

discovered that if people were highly

forgiving of both themselves and others,

that characteristic alone virtually eliminated

the connection between stress and mental


Toussaint reminds us that without

forgiveness we don’t have a buffer against

stress and often will feel its raw effects.

Even something as seemingly insignificant

as a short prayer or a brief meditation on

forgiveness can help people take the edge

off (Toussaint at al., 2016).

Worthington and Scherer (2004) found

that unforgiveness, when considered as a

negative emotional and cognitive construct,

causes stress.

Inability to forgive was also linked to anger

and hostility, and those negative tendencies

have proven to have a negative health effect,

especially with regard to cardiovascular


For a transgression:

Shame, avoidance, fear

Heartsink, lowered mood


Consider an example of a critical

teacher with a child who is struggling

Table 2

If you are distressed by

anything external, the pain

is not due to the thing itself,

but to your estimate of it;

and this you have the power

to revoke at any moment.

Marcus Aurelius

Guilt, engage

Sorrow, remorse


Although dwelling on injustice, holding

onto grudges and exacting vengeance are

tempting options, study after study shows

that forgiving those who have harmed us

can systematically reduce distress and

increase satisfaction with life.

Several studies linked forgiveness to

more positive emotions and fewer

symptoms of physical illness. One study

found that forgiving on one day resulted

in participants reporting higher levels of

happiness on the next day (Witvliet, 2001;

Worthington, 2004).

Forgiving was also found to be an effective

emotion-focused coping strategy that could

contribute to overall health and was also linked

to more frequent experiences of positive

emotions of empathy and compassion.

Studies in conflict

resolution show

that we tend to

invent intentions for

others when in most

situations we know

only our half of the


For a transgression:

Consider an example of encouraging

supportive teacher with a child who is


Adapted from P. Gilbert (2009) The Compassionate Mind


The role of empathy and apology in the

process of forgiveness as well as their link to

each other were based on the hypotheses

that “the relationship between receiving an

apology from and forgiving one’s offender

is a function of increased empathy for the

offender” in a study done by McCullough

and colleagues (McCullough, Worthington, &

Rachal, 1997).

There is a proven link to gratitude and

forgiveness. Practicing gratitude has been

consistently linked to greater wellbeing in

a study done by Emmons and McCullough,

where it was measured by mood, coping

behaviors, health behaviors, physical

symptoms, and overall life satisfaction

appraisals (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).

Since gratitude has been linked to empathy

and empathy was found to have implications

for forgiveness, there is potential that

fostering gratitude could improve one’s

capacity toward forgiveness.

When coaching your clients in this space of

forgiveness I find the teachings from Naikan


Naikan is a Japanese word that means

“looking inside,” though a more poetic

translation might be “seeing oneself

with the mind’s eye.” It is a structured

method of self-reflection that helps us to

understand ourselves, our relationships,

and the fundamental nature of human


Naikan was developed in Japan in the

1940s by Ishin Yoshimoto, a devout

Buddhist. Naikan reflections is based on

three questions:

The Three Questions

What have I received from ____?

What have I given to ____?

What troubles and difficulties have I caused ____?

This type of daily reflection is called

daily Naikan (nichijo naikan).

So lets revisit my client who declared

he could never forgive his colleague. I

asked him these three questions having

explained their origin.

What had he received from not forgiving

his colleague?

His reflections here were that what

he was receiving was negative and

upsetting emotions

What had he given to improve this


My client acknowledged that he, at no

point, had attempted to improve the

situation and acknowledged that, in

fact, he had done the exact opposite.

Taking every opportunity to criticize his


What troubles and difficulties have

I caused due to my decision not to


This part of our coaching session was

extremely emotional for my client. He

became quite upset when he began to

discuss the option of forgiveness. His

belief was deeply entrenched that this

situation could never change. Viewing this

from a different perspective shifted his

view completely of the relationship. When

he began to discuss his colleague from a

compassionate perspective he realised that,

if he approached him, his colleague would

welcome his overtures and work with him

to resolve the situation. Which, in fact, was

exactly what happened.

So, lets celebrate the beauty of the F word

and be compassionate to ourselves and

others by giving the gift of forgiveness as

often as possible.

10 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy:

Can it Change Your View of Life?

The philosopher Epictetus believed that people are disturbed not by things, but

by their view of things. These “things” are events or situations in our lives that can

cause us to feel emotions such as happiness, sadness, stress or anxiety. Carmel

Woods introduces us to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and how it can be used to

change that view.

It is our interpretation of events in

relation to our thoughts and emotions

which determine how we deal with

or react to these events. This is the

cornerstone of Cognitive Behavioural

Therapy or CBT as it is more commonly

known. This CBT philosophy is currently

used in coaching and termed CBC or

Cognitive Behavioural Coaching.


CBT is, in fact, an umbrella term for many

different therapies that share some

common elements. Two of the earliest

forms of the model were Rational

Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT),

developed by Albert Ellis in the 1950s,

and Cognitive Therapy, developed by

Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s.

Applying the CBT concept

As stated, CBT was introduced initially as

a way of treating depression and is now

used more commonly to treat anxiety,

stress, phobias and other emotional or

psychological blocks which clients face

in both coaching and counselling. It aims

to help people become aware of when

they make negative interpretations, and

of behavioural patterns which reinforce

the negative or irrational thinking.

CBT is a time limited and goal directed

therapy dealing mainly with issues in

the present. It focuses is on how our

thoughts determine how we feel and

react to events in our lives that are

challenging or stressful.

The coach or therapist also guides

clients to question and challenge

their dysfunctional thoughts, try out

new interpretations of the event, and

ultimately apply alternative ways of

thinking in their daily lives. Below

is a diagram which illustrates how

what we think, feel and behave are all

linked and connected to each other.

REBT is a type of cognitive therapy first

used by Albert Ellis which focuses on

resolving emotional and behavioural

problems. The goal of the therapy is

to change irrational beliefs to more

rational ones (e.g. I must be “perfect” all

the time) and subsequently persuades

the person to challenge these false

beliefs through reality testing.

Beck’s (1967) system of therapy is

similar to Ellis’s but has been most

widely used in cases of depression.

Cognitive therapists help clients to

recognize the negative thoughts and

errors in logic that cause them to

become depressed.


...just because

we believe our

thoughts to be

true does not

make them facts.

A situation or event happens which

triggers a thought.

Thoughts / Beliefs

What a person thinks or believes about

the situation or event. This is how the

individual interprets a situation.


This is how a person feels about a

situation. Emotions are not necessarily

based in logic, but they are influenced

by thoughts and beliefs.

Behaviour / Response

The person’s actions and behaviours in

response to their thoughts and feelings

about a situation

Example of a situation to illustrate

how CBT works.

Both Harry and Jane both receive a negative

evaluation at work.


Negative Thought: My manager thinks I

am Useless, I will probably get told off

Emotion: Anxious and nervous

Behaviour: He avoids his manager and

feels nervous the next time he has a

challenging task to do in work.


Rational Thought: I wasn’t even

confident I would get a good appraisal

this year

Emotion: Disappointed but motivated

to do better

Behaviour: Asks her manager how she

can improve and approaches next

challenge with determination and


Through using the CBT model, clients

can learn to identify their own thought

patterns, emotions and behaviours

and come to understand how thoughts

shape how we feel and impact their

life in significant ways. The first step

to changing thoughts and behaviour

is awareness of them. Once clients

become aware of their irrational or

unhelpful thoughts, they can work to

challenge their basis in reality.

Through examining and re-evaluating

some of our less helpful thoughts we

can develop and try out alternative

viewpoints and behaviours that may be

more effective in aiding our problem.

Unfortunately, many clients view their

thoughts as true (facts) that cannot be

changed (for example, I know I will not

get that job when I go for the interview

next week). The CBT model challenges

this by saying that just because we

believe our thoughts to be true does

not make them facts. If clients think,

for example, that they will never get a

better job or a promotion at work, then

this can become a reality if this belief is

viewed as a fact. This is how powerful

our thoughts are in dictating how we

live our life and determine how we feel

and ultimately our behaviours (e.g. the

behaviour of not going for the interview

job and staying in the same job or

remaining unemployed leading to

feelings of frustration and depression).

Continually believing and accepting

these negative or unhelpful thoughts

as facts can cause stress and lead to

problems which can in coaching act as

psychological blocks. This can lead to

unconscious self-sabotage.

Similarly, some clients come to therapy

or coaching feeling unmotivated,

anxious or depressed and are unsure

of the origin of these feelings. Using

the CBT model, clients are facilitated

to identify their irrational thoughts or

thinking patterns regarding themselves

and others. Over a short period of time,

CBT techniques can gently challenge

the evidence for these thought or belief

patterns with the aim of changing what

they are doing, or in some cases not

doing to improve how they are feeling.

CBT Techniques

1. Thought/Belief Records or Exercises

are used by clients to log negative or

unhelpful thoughts. The next step is to

identify the evidence for or against a

thought or pattern of thoughts. Over a

short period of time, clients can identify

cognitive distortions and establish a

more balanced way of thinking, i.e.

what is true and not true based on the


2. Journaling – like, but more detailed

than thought records, the journal can

be used to record in detail and describe

the origin of thoughts, situations and

responses or behaviours. Evidenced

based research has proven the

12 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

therapeutic benefits of journaling.

The physical act of writing, thereby

“downloading” unhelpful thoughts and

feelings in relation to events, provides

significant awareness and feelings of


3. Homework assignments help clients

to learn or improve skills and integrate

concepts discussed into daily life, e.g.

reading an article, book, watching a

TEDTalk or YouTube video that illustrate

use of a concept being worked on in

coaching. Examples are in relation

to preparing for interview, doing a

presentation, going to a networking

event to practice social and connection

skills, practicing mindfulness mediation,


4. Roleplay can be used with clients

to assist practice in new responses

or behaviours. It is a useful tool for

learning new skills such as networking,

assertiveness, presentation and


5. Mindfulness meditation involves

clearing the mind and focusing on the

sensations and thoughts in the moment,

observing them and allowing them to

pass. Although it takes some practice,

and it’s not for everyone, mindfulness

can be beneficial as a technique in

accepting our thoughts as just thoughts

(not facts), not allowing them to impact

us in the present moment.

Strengths of CBT

1. The Model has widespread appeal

due to its simplicity to apply and


2. Evidenced based research has

reported the use of the CBT model to

be very effective in treating depression

(Hollon & Beck 1994) and moderately

effective for anxiety problems (Beck,


3. CBT challenges debilitating beliefs/

thoughts and enhances motivation, selfworth

and problem-solving abilities.

4. CBT is consistently goal orientated

and aims to promote new thoughts and

behaviours to the point where they

become internalised as new helpful and

healthy habits.

5. CBT techniques can be used to

compliment the use of other coaching

tools such as GROW and the Wheel for


6. Teaching clients CBT and promoting

the use of its techniques, enables

them to achieve independence in their

ability to ‘coach themselves’ out of their

troublesome and unhelpful thought

patterns and habitual behaviour.

Limitations of CBT

1. The cognitive model is viewed as

simplistic and narrow in scope. Thinking

is just one part of human functioning.

Sometimes, broader more complex

issues, often need to be addressed

which often originate in the past.

2. Some thought patterns and

behaviours seem to have been written

into a person’s DNA and may be difficult

to shift. CBT is sometimes viewed as a

short-term “band aid” solution therapy

which is not suited to some clients who

may require long term psychotherapy for

deep rooted trauma issues. Therefore, it

is not appropriate or ethical to attempt

to challenge or change thoughts in

these instances.

Professional use of the CBT Model

I have used CBT quite successfully

with some clients in both coaching and

therapy settings.

An example of how I used the model

with a client who had debilitating

thoughts around being a “bad mother”.

She was feeling guilty and anxious

about this and told me that she often

shouted at her young children when

they were fighting or disobeying her.

We used thought records to examine

the evidence for and against this belief/

thought over a couple of sessions. At

home, she recorded past and present

examples of where she had exhibited

patience and tolerance of her children’s

sometimes challenging behaviour. After

a few sessions, she reported that she

was often dismissing her unhelpful

thoughts and was remaining calm when

dealing with her children. She told

me in her last session that having the

knowledge that she could do something

to question and change her negative

thoughts, was, she said, life changing.

She reported that she now had the tools

to dispute and change her irrational or

negative thoughts and therefore was

able to control her frustration and felt

more content in her life.

Another client in his early 20’s, had

been having issues in dealing with

bullying behaviour from a manager at

work whom he thought viewed him as a

“soft touch”. The client told me he had

been hurt and upset by this bullying


I used the CBT model to firstly, gently

examine what he meant by his

manager’s view of him being easy to

manipulate or, in his words, a “soft

touch”. The origin of this thought pattern

was in school, so we spend some time

talking about his childhood. He used

the journaling technique to record

these experiences. We subsequently

did some assertiveness exercises using

“I statements” through role play and he

devised a plan to confront his manager

about his behaviour. In addition, I

encouraged him to practice these

assertiveness exercises at home with a

trusted family member or close friend.

He reported in his most recent session,


to have had a conversation with his

manager about his behaviour which

has resulted in being treated with more

respect at work.


I believe that applying CBT in some

circumstances can indeed change

our client’s view of life. Clients can

learn to identify and be aware of their

negative or irrational thought patterns,

emotions and behaviours so they can

understand how they impact their life

in a significant way. It is important to

encourage client self-compassion for

this to occur. Through the process of

challenging and providing evidence

to support or dispute some of our less

helpful thoughts, clients can develop

and try out alternative viewpoints and

behaviours that can be effective in

improving the quality of their life.

I have used the CBT model in my

counselling and coaching practice and

received positive feedback. Personally, it

is the simplicity and ease of application

which gives it appeal. In addition, CBT

techniques can be integrated with other

goal oriented coaching tools such as

the Wheel and GROW, to form a tailored

coaching approach for each individual


However, it is sometimes difficult to

shift negative thought patterns which

have been formed throughout a lifetime.

Many people view their thoughts as

true facts, thereby making it a hard

concept for some to believe in. CBT is

not a model that can be applied to any

emotional difficulty, particularly those

that are deep rooted requiring a longerterm

therapeutic intervention.


Beck (1967) Depression, Causes and

Treatment University of Pennsylvania Press:

Philadelphia: USA

Dryden, W; (2010) Dealing with Clients

Emotional Problem in Life Coaching

Routledge: London:UK

Hollon, S. D., & Beck, A. T. (1994). Cognitive

and Cognitive-behavioural therapies. In A.

E. Bergin & S.L. Garfield (Eds.), Handbook of

Psychotherapy and Behaviour Change Wiley:

New York: USA

Myles, P & Shafran, R; (2015) The CBT

Handbook Clays Ltd: London: UK

Neenan, M & Palmer, S; (2018) Cognitive

Behavioural Coaching…Research Gate

Palmer, S & Whybrow, A; (2018) Handbook

of Coaching Psychology Routledge: London:

UK CBT Practice

exercises and Thought records

Carmel Woods

Carmel Woods is a business/life coach and psychotherapist in private practice based in Dublin. She also works for the charity,

Aware as a support group facilitator. Carmel holds a BA in Counselling and Psychotherapy in addition to a BA (hons) in Business

studies from the Metropolitan University in North London. She has achieved an Advanced Diploma in Coaching from Kingstown

College and is a pre-accredited member of Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP). Carmel has worked in

both banking and business consultancy prior to starting a counselling and coaching career. She is planning to introduce online,

walking in nature and home based coaching to her one to one coaching and counselling services in the coming months.

Train your workforcE at their desk

We can help you to create bespoke training content, provide e-learning delivery

platforms for organization wide education and training, and any necessary

assessments or knowledge reviews.

Let’s talk about how we can combine your expertise with ours!

14 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Setting Boundaries at Work

Executive Coach and Kingstown College faculty member Judith Spring explains

why we find if so difficult to set boundaries, and how the absence of them can

effect physical and mental health. Judith also suggests some approaches for

individuals and coaches to draw the line.

Once boundaries

have been


don’t assume

people will just

work them out;


them clearly..

Having boundaries between work

and your life outside of this space is

essential to maintain your physical and

mental health.

‘Tell me about your boundaries’ is a

question I often ask clients who are

struggling with work-related stress

or burn-out. Most often, they will

sheepishly admit that they had not set

any – or further, hadn’t even thought

about them at all.

While we all generally acknowledge

and agree with the idea of putting

in a “fair day’s work for a fair day’s

pay”, this doesn’t need to preclude us

from putting defined limits on what

we consider is “fair”. Boundaries are

knowing and understanding what your

limits are – where you end and work


The impacts of not setting and

maintaining boundaries can creep

up slowly. Continuously looking after

others ahead of ourselves, working

excessive hours, and taking on

additional work ultimately leave us

feeling exhausted. Often times, these

feelings of exhaustion are coupled with

resentment. Feeling that others don’t

appreciate the effort we are putting in

further compounds the impact. When


Remember that

“you teach people

how to treat you

by what you allow,

what you stop

and what you


the point of burn-out is reached it is

often too late; energy, excitement and

interest in work are lost and oftentimes

unsalvageable because we haven’t

taken care to identify where our positive

energy is coming from.

How to recognise when someone is

struggling with boundaries.

Discovering whether someone is

struggling with boundary setting

and the knock-on effects of stress or

burnout requires them to be attuned

to their feelings. In being so, they are

better able to identify their physical,

emotional and mental limits and take

care to monitor when they are being

reached. A great coaching question

could be ‘what are you tolerating?’ to

help people recognise that boundaries

have either not been set or maintained.

Two key feelings that should be used

as cues are discomfort and resentment.

These may arise from the feeling of

being advantage of or not appreciated;

from a constant need to please; or, very

typically, from a struggle to say ‘No!’.

So why do people struggle to set


Guilt, fear and self-doubt are often

the factors behind not setting

boundaries. People may fear other’s

response (especially someone in a

position of power) if they set and

enforce boundaries. The culture of an

organisation may be one where few

do set boundaries and so it would feel

inappropriate to do so. The boss works

all hours – and no-one leaves before the


The need to be liked may prevent

people from saying no or putting their

needs ahead of other’s.

Saying ‘no’ can make people fearful of

how they are perceived, especially by

those in power. I’ve heard people say

‘you just can’t say no around here’ while

they believe there is an expectation

that they will just keep taking on more.

What strategies might people adopt to

set boundaries?

Setting and maintaining boundaries is a

skill that may not come naturally to all

and needs to be learned and developed.

Understand your Limits

One of the most important steps

is for people to identify what their

boundaries are. Understanding their

values is often a helpful starting point.

Living according to your values and

not to other’s opinions or expectations

is more rewarding and beneficial to

your self-esteem. What else are you

committing to outside work? How will

you make time to care for yourself? How

flexible can you be? Being overly rigid

16 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

will create further challenges so people

need to recognise what they can let go

of from time to time.

Communicate clearly

Once boundaries have been established,

don’t assume people will just work

them out; communicate them clearly.

An ideal opportunity at work is when

starting a new role or when setting the

annual development plan with your

manager. Setting SMART objectives that

are clearly prioritised is an excellent

framework for discussing subsequent

changes or additions to your workload

in a professional and fair manner. It is

also an ideal time to clarify how flexible

you are prepared to be with your time. It

is particularly important for people who

are working part-time to reiterate their

hours as those can often be forgotten.

Practice saying ‘no’

Learning to say No and not be fearful

of how this is viewed by others takes

practice. Remember, saying Yes and

not being able to deliver is worse than

saying No! Don’t just practice saying

No, practice how you say No. Be clear

that you are saying No to the task, not

to the person. Some good examples are;

‘I can’t take that on right now but if we

reviewed the priorities we agreed to,

I may be able to delay something else’

or ‘let me think about it and I’ll get

back to you’ would allow time to review

other options that may be available.

Manage your time effectively

Often our boundaries are breached

because we are not using our time

effectively; we allow valuable time to

be stolen with time-wasting activities.

Keep a time-audit for a couple of

weeks to identify exactly how your

time was used. Reviewing this against

the urgent/important criteria may

allow you to be more objective with

the tasks you undertake.

Beware the need to be liked

Everyone at work does not have to

like us. Mutual trust and respect is

most important in any relationship.

Being clear on boundaries engenders

respect; it builds trust as it makes clear

to others what is important to us.

Prepare for Encroachments

For many reasons, and often

unwittingly, people will try to push your

boundaries. Be prepared for when you

can show flexibility but also be timely

in highlighting breaches. Stewing over

things and becoming resentful isn’t

going to help anyone.

Helping others to set boundaries

Pushing staff beyond their limits will, in

the long term, benefit no one. Managers

should be aware that their staff have

boundaries and should encourage

them to discuss and set them at their

annual performance reviews.

As I was writing this article, the news

reached me of the death of the writer

Toni Morrison. In 2017, she wrote

about her father’s philosophy on work

and the four points she took to heart:

1. Whatever the work is, do it well—

not for the boss but for yourself.

2. You make the job; it doesn’t make


3. Your real life is with us, your family.

4. You are not the work you do; you

are the person you are.

Establishing boundaries may take time

and may initially feel intimidating.

However, when you respect your

personal boundaries, others typically

will, too. Remember that “you teach

people how to treat you by what you

allow, what you stop and what you


Judith Spring

Executive Coach, Mentor and member of Kingstown College Faculty.

Judith has worked across Europe and Australia for organisations including Shell International, Viterra and Kelloggs. During her career, she

has been a coach and mentor, particularly helping emerging women leaders to be more confident and more impactful. A vision to see more

women having the choice to progress their careers has been the driver for her becoming a full-time coach, focusing on high potential women,

to accelerate their growth and development for their own benefit and for the benefit of the organisations they work in. Judith gained her

engineering degree from Trinity College, Dublin. She is a graduate of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation Program of South Australia and

holds an Advanced Diploma in Personal, Leadership and Executive Coaching from Kingstown Kingstown College.


18 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

If you have

considered asking

a top performer

to coach other

team members to

draw on expertise

within the team,

tread carefully...

Introducing a Coaching Model on

a Sales Team

If you are a sales manager looking to increase performance, productivity and

employee satisfaction levels you may want to explore what benefits creating a

coaching culture on your team can deliver. Niamh McCartney gives a practical

explanation of making the move the coaching.

There are some key elements to consider

that will help you decide whether

coaching is required and to ensure the

success of your new approach.

1. Make sure you really understand

what coaching is (and what it is not!)

Having a coaching style as a manager

can empower and challenge team

members by moving conversations

from ‘tell’ to ‘ask’, giving them more

input, control and agency in their roles.

Getting a coach for top performers is

also known to accelerate results.

Be aware that this approach may not

be appropriate for all members of the

team. Coaching is not performance

management. In fact, a performance

management plan as it exists in the

corporate context is not compatible

with the essence of coaching. Coaching

tends to be an equal, reflexive and

non-directive relationship - it “asks”,

performance management tends to be

directive, top-down, measured and time

sensitive - it “tells”. Assess whether

all team members require coaching,

and identify those who require a

performance management plan instead.

If they need performance management,

coaching is unlikely to work in the shortterm

and may not yield the results you

require within a reasonable time-frame

for the investment.


• find out if there is any coaching

available in your organisation and

meet with a coach to understand

what coaching is

• attend an ‘introduction to coaching’



• read “The Tao of Coaching” by

Max Landsberg and “The Coaching

Habit: Say Less. Ask More &

Change the Way You Lead Forever’

by Michael Bungay Stanier.

2. Get buy-in from the team

If you are introducing a coach for

your team, make sure the team fully

understand what coaching is, the

benefits for them and the benefits for

the team and business as a whole. If

you are not clear on what coaching is, it

is likely your team will not be clear on it

either and the initiative will fail.


• get someone from your organisation

who coaches to come and talk to

your team about the benefits

• organise a team ‘introduction to

coaching’ workshop and design

your new 1:1 structure together

• ask your team for their thoughts

and their understanding of this

initiative before introducing a

coaching approach

3. Make sure ‘coaching’ is not a tickbox


Introducing coaching to your team

because you heard it drives results will

not drive results. The philosophy needs

to be embedded in the way the team

functions or it will not work.

If you are creating a culture of coaching

on your team, this will take time and

require open minds and the willingness

to adapt and change. If you do not

follow steps 1 and 2, then your initiative

is a tick-box exercise.


• follow steps 1 and 2

• get confirmation from your team

that they commit to the initiative

• draw up a coaching contract in

place for the team

4. Consider getting a coach yourself

You may not need to get a coach for

your team, especially if buy-in is thin.

If you work closely with a coach yourself,

over time you will learn the skills you

require to implement a coaching culture

within your team by adapting your

own management style. Many large

organisations coach managers and not

reps - it is more scalable, less costly and

embeds the culture at the right level;

you are likely to have a broad range of

skill/will, performance and engagement

levels across a team and so the results

will be variable. Adapting your style

to include a coaching approach may

deliver the same return for less cost.


• get your organisation to provide

you with a leadership coach

• commit to a programme of 6

sessions minimum

• measure whether your team

performance is improving and

assess the results over a reasonable


5. Get an external coach

If you are introducing a coach to your

team, I would strongly recommend

hiring a coach outside of the team/

organisation. If you have considered

asking a top performer to coach other

team members to draw on expertise

within the team, tread carefully here.

It assumes that a top performer has

the skills to coach as well as execute,

and that the team will be willing

to be coached by a member of the

team. In my experience, this is not

often the case and this move could

be counter-productive leading to

resentment, disengagement and a drop

in performance.


• get an external coach for your team

• if coaching from within, invest in

training for the individual before

rolling out the initiative

• get buy-in from the team

Hopefully these steps will help you

decide whether to implement coaching

for your sales team, and to avoid

potential pitfalls if you proceed!

Niamh McCartney

Niamh McCartney works as a sales manager in the technology industry and is passionate about coaching to drive a culture of excellence. She

holds a BA in Anthropology with Media from Goldsmiths College, University of London and is a graduate of the Kingstown College Advanced

Diploma in Personal, Leadership and Executive Coaching. She has been working in sales for 8 years and is currently studying the MA in

Personal and Management Coaching at UCC. Niamh is a mother of three, and her private coaching practice works with parents to help them

achieve balance and success both at home and in the workplace.

20 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

This awareness is a

huge step towards

becoming the best

version of herself

she can be as it

The Tree of Life and Core


Isabelle Gillespie puts forward the analagy of the

Tree of Life to help individuals to identify outward

roles they are fulfilling (branches) and the true

(Core) inner self, which as she explains, are not

always known or aligned.

brings peace with

the understanding

of who she is in her


Each one of us is a unique special person.

Like a Tree which presents one trunk and

many branches, we are made up of a core

which represents the essence of who we

are as an individual. Our core expands in

many branches with each representing a

facet of us, an aspect of who we are: the

wife, the husband, the son, the daughter,

the mom, the dad, the grandma , the

grandpa, the cousin, the aunt, the uncle....

the friend, the individual at work with

his/her title.... depending on which stage

of our lives we are in and our social

circumstances. We can call these facets



When the tree flowers and bear fruits, all of

its branches receive mineral sap. Mineral

sap comes from the Earth, it is water and

minerals that are absorbed through the

root system. In the leaves, the process of

photosynthesis transforms it in organic

sap, containing sugars that are enabling

the tree to grow. Each part of the tree is

essential to its life. They are connected

and each has a purpose. A single branch

cannot live on its own.

In order to become the best we can be it is

crucial to define and be aware of the core

of who we are, the me, from whom comes

all of our likenesses. Me is my anchor, the

conscience of who I am as an individual.

My true self. My true self feeds from

some of the energy/experience gathered

in some likenesses and redirect some

energy/experience to other likenesses.

This give and take has the purpose of

creating balance.

It would be very difficult to be truly fulfilled

if one decides to rather be a single likeness

and forget the rest of what he/she is. This is

going into denial, into denying that we are

many in one and that it is the source of our

complexity as human beings.

A tree is well anchored in Earth, it has

balance in its roots and branch system

in order to stand straight, its crown


In the same way we have to have balance

between the different parts of us and it

can be done by acknowledging core and


How does the concept of the tree of life

and core can be useful for a coach?

The concept is powerful tool of self


Core means who we really are. It is about

coming back to our bone marrow, to our

essence, to take the time to reflect and

define the “me“. It is about finding the

balance between the likenesses around

our core. The core is our anchor.

How do we achieve that?

The coach has a huge treasure box to sort

out as the knowledge of who the person

is can be completely non existent if the

person is lost into the most important of

her ‘now likeness‘.

For example, some women thrive to be

moms. Once they are moms they forget

to be the wife to their husband, the friend

to their friends, the colleague at work, the

daughter, the aunt...Everything becomes

secondary after the child. They are lost

in their now likeness, which is, being

mom. Yet, being mom is only a branch

of her Tree of Life. Not her whole tree.

It’s like looking at something through a

microscope. Enhanced, clear, intense, but

also a distortion of reality.

The coach has to lead the person through

his questions to the self discovery journey

of herself, in other words to define her

core, her likenesses. See if she has the

consciousness of either.

Start with writing down a list of adjectives

that the person feel define her at the

beginning of the session.

(The coach can double check that list later

on with the key words that came up during

the self discovery journey: Is there ‘par‘

between the first list aka feeling of who

the person think she is and what appears

to be her core? Or is the ‘par‘ happening

more with what appears to be one of her

likenesses, probably her ‘now likeness’?)

Some of the following powerful

questions could help Identify the

likenesses and the core:

• How would you describe who you are


• Is it different from whom you were?


• Is it different from whom you thought

you would be?

• Can you get a sense of who you are as

a person and describe it?

• How does it feel?

• What is fully contented for you?

• How do you define contentment?

• What is the picture of happiness for


• Who is in that picture?

• Has the picture changed? How?


• If tomorrow you could be whatever

you want to be what will it be? With

who? Where? How would it feel?

• What would be missing?

• What is whole for you?

The challenge for the coach is to grow the

understanding of the person about herself

in terms of core and likenesses.

What are her likenesses? Identify them,

explore them.

Which are the common parts between

these likenesses as they get together to

form her core? (Here we work backwards in

a way as it is from the core that likenesses

branch out).

Through intuition and listening skills,

the coach will be able to get the mental

picture projected by the person. He can

write down the key words which can be

names of likenesses, their respective

attributes (among which lay values,

strengths, beliefs), or/and pieces of core,

22 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

and share them with the client. Ask the

person if the word sounds more likeness?

More core?

The key for the coach is to help the client

to get a clear vision and understanding of

where she stands, “Am I in my core or am I

lost in one likeness, my now likeness? “ If the

latest, the coach has to extract the person

from that likeness and bring her to define

her core. To stand. To live. To realise and be

who she really is. A whole human being that

has many interactions with many different

people in her life. That achieving can take

many different forms. That being one

likeness instead of a whole is restrictive and

ultimately unsatisfactory.

Following our example, one day kids

are grown up and leave to live their own

lives. Then, what about the woman that is

stuck into her mom likeness? She thinks...

what now? Friends are living their lives,

disconnected from her. Husband might still

be around but used to be a shadow rather

than a light in her life. But most importantly

she is disconnected from herself, with no

core consciousness that would enable her to

move forward.

Using the picture of the tree

To make the coaching work more tangible,

the coach can use the picture of the tree as

a support during the session. Each likeness

identified is one branch. Put its name on one

branch along with its main characteristics

(here there can be values or beliefs or

strengths linked to that particular likeness).

Carry on with the next likeness/branch. Once

all the likenesses have been put as branches

and their characteristics listed, the coach can:

Either ask the person which element of the

likeness relates to who she really is. You have

found a piece of core that can be drawn on

the trunk.

Either circle the common characteristics

between the different likenesses, they are

all pieces of core and can be drawn on the



Ultimately using the tree of life and core

concept is a tool enabling a person to

become aware of who she really is. This

awareness is a huge step towards becoming

the best version of herself she can be as it

brings peace with the understanding of who

she is in her core. A unity of likenesses which

can coexist in balance and exchange energy.

As a living tree which can lose a branch and

regrow one from a sleeping bud, we are

also able to shed one likeness and reinvent

another one. It is the beauty of life mixed

with the complexity of the human being, one

strong core, many likenesses to sustain it,

enrich it and grow it.

Isabell Gillespie

In Isabell Gillespie’s own words, “My river of life has brought me to this moment in time where I embrace the coaching experience. It gives me

the understanding and context to help me help people all over the world to reach their potential and their goals. Openness, curiosity, learning,

enquiring, solving, passionate and resilient are all part of me. Born from my time studying for a PhD in sciences at the University of Bretagne

Occidentale (Brest), France. Where meeting people from different countries, cultures and religions, framed my mind and life.

Fortunate to have lived in many countries, I grew, assimilating different ways of living and thinking. In France and internationally I’ve been

fortunate to interact with and teach a few generations of students, sharing my passion for the living and its environment. Today I call myself an

international and feel like a world citizen.

Coaching is an amazing experience that will transform you and your life. I welcome anyone who reaches out to me.


The Corporate

Wellbeing Coaching


At Kingstown College we have been developing a new

Diploma in Corporate Wellbeing Coaching. As part of

the research for this course a survey was undertaken

with more than 1000 responses. Dr. Chandrika

Deshpande gives us an insight into the findings.

The term the


employee” may

be recognised by

many reading this


The research and development

initiative around Corporate Wellbeing

was triggered by the growing need to

launch a Corporate Wellbeing Coaching

Program based on various inquiries and

requests we have been receiving.

As we began working on this area we

realised that there were gaps which

needed to be addressed in order to

integrate Wellbeing as a way of life

in organisations. This then formed

the basis of the presentation titled,

“Making the Case for a Culture of

Wellbeing in Organisations”. The

paper was presented at the 25th Annual

International Mentoring, Coaching and

Supervision Conference held in Dublin

in April, 2019.

Paula King (Coach and Master

Practitioner Level, EMCC) was one of

the key presenters and brought to

the presentation her varied and rich

experience of Coaching Senior leaders

across different types of organisations.

This article tries to summarise the key

aspects of the presentation.

“Corporate Wellbeing Coaching

contributes to a caring environment

in which every individual in the

organisation is encouraged to achieve

their full potential and optimum

performance for the benefit of

themselves and the organisation.” -

Paula King


The term the “overwhelmed employee”

may be recognised by many reading this

article. This is a term originally coined

by Deloitte in a report carried out in

2014. While the issue of highly stressed

workers is not new, the relentless

pace of business today has made the

problem worse. Driven by the always-

24 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

on nature of digital business and 24/7

working styles, studies now show that

more than 40 percent of all workers

face high stress in their jobs, negatively

affecting their productivity, health, and

family stability. According to Deloitte’s

millennial survey, a majority of surveyed

millennials in 19 out of 30 countries

report that they do not expect to be

“happier” than their parents. Parallel

to the challenges in the workplace the

digital well-being market is exploding.

More than $2 billion in venture capital

has been invested in this area over the

last two years, creating a flood of online

videos, apps, and tools to help assess,

monitor, and improve all aspects of


Today, the definition of wellness has

expanded dramatically to include a

range of programs aimed at not only

protecting employee health, but actively

boosting performance as well as social

and emotional well-being. These now

include innovative programs and tools

for financial wellness, mental health,

healthy diet and exercise, mindfulness,

sleep, and stress management, as well

as changes to culture and leadership

behaviors to support these efforts.

Expanding well-being programs to

encompass what employees want and

value is now essential for organizations

to treat their people responsibly—as

well as to boost their social capital and

project an attractive employment brand.

Research Strategy and Inputs:

The study of current trends based on

the findings of surveys like Gallup and

Deloitte studies, makes it increasingly

clear that well-being is now a critical

performance strategy to drive

employee engagement, organizational

energy and productivity. It is no longer

a good to have option on the list but

wellbeing is now front and center as a

business imperative for leading high

performance teams and organisations.

Various wellbeing strategies have been

implanted in organisations and there is a

strategy in place as well. What role have

Leadership Teams and Line Managers

played in this space? Is there room for

improvement? How does Coaching

fit into the overall scheme of things?

These were some of the questions we

grappled with.

(1.) The ROSE Model was created by Paula King

and covers the elements of Reason to Exist,

Optimism, Self-Identity and Empowerment.

Feeling a need to ascertain this in a

Coaching context, as a first step we

designed a Corporate Wellbeing survey

based on the ROSE Model (1) We

received 1173 responses from across

Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany,

India, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand,

United Kingdom, United States, Israel,

Italy, France.

Key Results and Interpretations:

A study of the responses to the survey,

interviews with key people in organisations

and focussed group discussions, ascertained

for us certain facts that we had come across

in our research but also brought to the fore

aspects which had not been explored before.

Strikingly, responses varied based on type

of organisations such as Government, SME,

MNC, Start-ups, Charitable organisations but

there was a universal element of similarity

across these sectors globally for most


Not surprisingly one of the key results of

the survey and probably the one with the

greatest impact in the day to day working

of an organisation was the ability of Line

Managers to have wellbeing conversations

with employees. Even without an analysis

of this segment across industries, it was

clear that 60 % of the respondents felt that

Line Managers were not well equipped to

have these conversations. This is the gap

that Coaching bridges with access to proven

models, tools and techniques to facilitate

wellbeing conversation in organisations.

We strongly believe that all the strategic

interventions introduced by Organisations

need to be supported by this underlying


The most common responses which came

up as aspects of work life which cause the

most stress and anxiety were then identified

as these would have to be understood

in greater detail to enable relevant


• Meeting deadlines/ time management/

improper planning

• Work life balance

• Uncertainty about the future/job/


• Communication – lack of information

sharing /unnecessary meetings


• Travelling ( daily commute/ job


• Bureaucratic processes

• Indecisiveness

• Customers – Meeting demands/


Keeping this in mind we amalgamated the

findings with the ROSE model to offer a

comprehensive strategy aligning the key

elements necessary for Corporate Wellbeing

Suggested Tools for initiating Wellbeing

Conversations in Organisations:

Coaching conversations become meaningful

when supplemented with the use of relevant

tools. Brainstorming on the varied dimension

of Corporate Wellbeing, led to the evolution

of two tools which have as their basis tried

and tested Coaching tools. The first tool we

introduced is based on the GROW model and

looks at Optimizing for Performance. “WE

GROW” adds the dimensions of Wellbeing

and embedding an environment which

fosters wellbeing as the key to performance.

The second tool is based on the popular

Wheel which is often used in Coaching. The

Corporate Wellbeing Wheel was designed

keeping in mind the areas which most seem

to impact this space.

The idea behind this wheel like any other

wheel is to get the client to identify which

area they need to work on. This can be

facilitated with individuals or teams.

The necessity of Wellbeing conversations in

organisations is a reality and organisations

today are integrating this understanding

into their key processes. Industries across

various segments from Government bodies

to Multi-National Companies are recognising

and appreciating the need for Coaching

interventions as part of their Wellbeing


We invite readers to participate in the

Corporate Wellbeing Survey (link in sources

below). We are still working in this area and

would love to receive your responses to

the same. We are also happy to share that

Kingstown College have researched and

designed an Internationally Accredited

Diploma in Corporate Well-Being Coaching

which holds the prestigious Quality increasingly

clear that well-being

is now a critical

performance strategy

to drive employee


organizational energy

and productivity.

Assurance Award from the European

Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC).

This Diploma is an ideal accreditation for

champions of well-being in their workplace

who would like to gain an accreditation in

this space.


1.. Wellbeing – A strategy and a responsibility, The

Rise of the Social Enterprise – 2018 Deloitte Global

Human Trends

2. Link to Corporate Wellbeing Survey


3.. Millenials Are Burning Out – Ryan Pendell , July 19,

2018, Gallup Essays

4.. People Managers Guide to Mental Health ,

September 2018, CIPD

Chandrika Deshpande Ph.D.

Chandrika is Head of Research and a Faculty Member at Kingstown College. She is a Learning and Development professional specializing in

Talent Management and Organizational Development. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Mumbai and holds qualifications in the field of HR,

Mass Media, Behavioral training and Psychometric testing. She also has an Advanced Diploma in Personal, Executive and Leadership Coaching

accredited by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council.

26 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Taking Control:

Resilience for Work and Life

Jane Perry is an Organisational Psychologist, Leadership Coach, Mindfulness

Therapist and a member of the Kingstown College faculty. In this article

Jane highlights the role of the coach to help individuals address beliefs and

confidence to minimise those moments that require resilience.

Are there situations that are almost

certain to send you into orbit? Are

you sensitive to particular people,

attitudes or types of behaviour?

Do you find yourself reacting with

a familiar negative or unhelpful

response when something or someone

triggers you? Feeling emotions such

as anger, embarrassment, resentment,

disappointment and hurt are part and

parcel of being human, however, if you

find your reaction to certain triggers

become troublesome then it is worth

exploring some ways to regain emotion


You know your emotional responses are

not serving you well when you regularly

feel anxious in certain scenarios or with

particular people. You might excessively

ruminate on conversations or events;

lying awake playing a scene over and

over in your mind? Or you may have

regrets about how you reacted in front

of others. When you respond in any

of these ways you are seldom fully in

control of your emotions.

Resilience is often described as the

capacity to bounce-back from setbacks

and challenges, however, if you keep

responding negatively to the same

types of difficulties or hurts, then

your resilience or capacity to recover

is undeniably going to weaken over

time. At work, given the myriad of

relationships, tasks, outputs and

responsibilities that people generally

are expected to manage, feeling

confident and in control is important.

Difficult relationships were highlighted

as the number one cause of workrelated

stress in a large study of UK


employees. This is followed by ‘volume

of work’ and then by ‘feeling criticised’.

These findings are backed up by HSE

figures which highlight work pressures

and difficult relationships as the most

common precipitating events leading to

work-place stress. Anxiety, depression

and stress account for almost 39% of all

absences from work in the UK. In Ireland,

even with a determined reluctance

to report ‘stress’ as the reason for

absences on sick certs, stress, anxiety

and depression now account for 24%

of noted illnesses. To put this problem

into context, a recent EU Labour Force

survey quoted a figure of €614bn as the

annual cost of work-related depression

across the member countries.

Resilience is far more than continuously

bouncing back. Resilience first and

foremost is about belief and confidence.

We are resilient when we believe we

are strong enough to deal with life’s

difficulties. We are resilient when we

feel in control over our lives and work

and when we are confident that we can

master our emotions and our reactions.

Like all personal change, the starting

point is self-knowledge and selfawareness.

When starting out on a

journey of ‘self-knowing’, it is critical to

go about it in a positive and constructive

way. The process of analysing and

evaluating ourselves must come with

self-compassion, acceptance and a dose

of positive intent. Whether we are trying

to work it out for ourselves or with the

help of a coach or other professional, the

first step is to understand why certain

scenarios trigger certain responses. If

we can decipher this puzzle, we can then

turn our attention to the purpose of our

reactions? How is our reaction serving

us? This can be a difficult process and

what we learn is often quite a surprise.

When committed to change, we may

begin the process of changing our

relationship with the trigger or finding

a workable alternative to the response.

Understanding why we react as we do

and having a workable alternative may

be enough to bring about sustainable

change, however, we are often reacting

from a blind spot; an unconscious

response or habit. Coaching can help to

shine a light on our blind spots and help

us change our reaction habits.

Mindfulness, when introduced into

the coaching process, has the capacity

to help create a tiny gap between the

trigger and our response; an instant

which allows us to pause and become

aware that we are being triggered. This

mini-moment can give us just enough

time to recognise what is happening

and to choose our new learned way.

When we feel and believe that we are in

control of our response, your confidence

lifts and resilience is strengthened over


When you find that gap and learn to take

control of how you respond internally

and how you react externally, you will

build on your resilience skills which,

with practice, lasts a lifetime.

if you keep


negatively to

the same types

of difficulties

or hurts, then

your resilience

or capacity

to recover is

undeniably going

to weaken over


Jane Perry

Jane Perry is a member of the Kingstown College faculty. Jane works with individuals and groups to help them thrive and fulfil their workrelated

ambitions. She specialises in developing personal and leadership strengths and, in doing so, facilitates business owners, managers,

professionals and teams to be self-aware, stronger, more confident and notably more effective. Her academic credentials include a 1st

class honours MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Personal Construct Psychology (Orgs.). She is a qualified

Leadership and Executive Coach, Mindfulness Therapist, Certified Trainer, Accredited Strengthscope Practitioner, Certified Test User (Occ), BPS &

EMCC Member.

28 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Going Beyond: Transformational


In this article, Steven Lane explains his interpretation of Transformational

Coaching, demonstrates how it can be used in the executive coaching space, and

puts forward his own 8-stage coaching model from dependancy to awakening.

I first encountered the above quote on

Richard Branson’s Facebook page and

I was instantly excited to wonder how

many business leaders may be ready to

go beyond the considerable limitations

of the thinking mind, and by tapping into

deeper aspects of themselves and their

“heart wisdom”, become “transformed”

leaders and thus a force for a more

evolved and transformed world.

Like many people in our young

profession, coaching was something of

a revelation and an immediate calling.

The idea that it is possible to bring forth

a person’s greater potential via a series

of meetings involving deep listening,

questioning, growth of awareness and

committed action, without supplying

answers or imposing one’s own ideas

continues to inspire me. Every time I

see it work, and watch an individual

blossom, I am left awe struck.

And yet, I am also aware that we are

just skimming the surface; that most

coaching is largely a horizontal and

transactional journey designed to bring

about specific goals and outcomes

whilst affirming the sense of self

that needs ongoing recognition and


Personally, on the basis of my own 35-

year journey of meditation, personal

and spiritual development, I wondered

The intuitive mind

is a sacred gift

and the rational

mind is a faithful

servant. We have

created a society

that honours the

servant and has

forgotten the gift.


how applicable the vertical journey

towards the greater Self could be within

a coaching context, as opposed to a

mentoring or teaching relationship.

Also, I kept recognising both my therapy

and coaching clients presenting with a

need to explore their inner dimension.

For example: L, a 45-year-old, senior

executive for a well-known Irish

company opened with, “After 20 years

working for this company, I feel spent,

emotionally empty. The company in

its quest for profit and following major

corporate reorganisation, has turned us

into mere cogs in a machine. Something

inside me is waking up and knows there

has to be more to life. I want to go to

work feeling inspired; to feel part of a

force for good. I want to come home

and smile at my wife and children

and feel my day has made a valuable

contribution. And most of all, I want to

discover the inherent joy of my being

which I have read about in several

books, but I have no idea how to reach


L is not alone with such feelings, though

for the most, such feelings within the

work environment are not expressed

and instead are held in check, adding to

the stress load and often an inner sense

of fading away.

It was interesting to me, when I read

Sir John Whitmore’s seminal book,

“Coaching for Performance” how

towards the end, he emphasises the

need for evolved leadership and

introduces “transpersonal coaching”

mainly on the basis of “Assagioli’s”

model of psychosynthesis (Assagioli

was a psychiatrist and early pioneer

of humanistic and transpersonal

psychology who developed an approach

which was years ahead of its time).

A few quotes from Whitmore’s book

highlight the need for a transformational

approach to coaching within leadership:

“So we need leaders who are values

driven – that means collective values,

not selfish values ……. “

“So leaders for the future need to have

values and vision and to be authentic

and agile, aligned and on purpose. Add

awareness and responsibility to the

mix, self-belief and a good measure of

emotional intelligence and we have a

powerful recipe.”

“A psychosynthesis trained coach will

invite the coachee to reframe life as

a developmental journey, to see the

creative potential within each problem,

to see obstacles as stepping stones, and

to imagine that we all have a purpose

in life with challenges and obstacles to

overcome in order to fulfil that purpose.”

“transpersonal coaching opens the door

to the superconscious”

“coaches are midwives at the birth

of a new social order, one in which

compassion for all people and caring

for all of nature and our only home form

the core theme.”

When you contemplate Whitmore’s

words it is apparent that the

transpersonal is a natural progression

for coaching and “spiritual” within

this context is about a natural inner

evolution as opposed to adopting

some kind of externally imposed belief

system or religious dogma.

When I asked “L”, the executive

mentioned above, what kind of a leader

he wanted to be and what would make

his work purposeful, he said, “ I want

to show up for work as myself and be

authentic. I want to bring my humanity

to work. I want to make my employees

feel valued and I want to be able to act

not only from my head, but also from my

heart and my spirit. And I want to feel

alive and joyful and help my company

be truly relevant”.

When you hear this, it is obvious that

the executive needed transformational

coaching (I use the word transformational

as opposed to trans-personal because

I feel it embraces more of the journey

from self centered and goal orientated

to being humanity and globally centred,

based on Being, Heartfullness and

Wisdom and the discovery of the Transpersonal

Self. )

Personally, I felt the need to look at

models other that Assagioli’s, not

least because he prescribes lengthy

psycho-analysis as the starting point

and because through my own journey,

I discovered many valuable approaches

and tools which are as good if not more


One such approach is that of Leon

VanderPol, founder of the Centre for

Transformational Coaching, author of “

A Shift in Being: The Art and Practices

of Deep Transformational Coaching and

probably the world’s leading authority

on transformational coaching.

VanderPol sees coaching approaches as a

polarity between transactional coaching

(goal orientated) and transformational

coaching (aimed at awakening a person

to their true spiritual essence) with

everything in between being what he

calls developmental coaching.

VanderPol begins his book with: (Chapter

1: The Deep Coaching Potential)

“Evocation: Around the world,

across cultures and religions, people

are awakening to the potentials

and realities of higher consciousness.

More and more people are

sensing and desiring a connection

with their deeper essence, and feel

compelled by an inexplicable life

force to understand the greater

nature and meaning of existence.

30 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

What does it mean to awaken?

Awakening is a rich and complex

experience that defies a narrow

definition, but the essence of awakening

is the new-found awareness

and experience of one’s spiritual

reality. It’s not an event, it’s a process—

a process in which spiritual

consciousness flows into the mind,

reorienting the mind to a reality that

lies beyond the ‘veil’ of superficial

definitions and material boundaries.

The veil then begins to lift and the

awakened mind becomes aware of

living in a distorted perceptual reality,

a dream of self-imposed limitations,

where what was thought to

be true is in fact a shadow dance

masking an expansive and encompassing


VanderPol’s approach to this is to

facilitate a transformational journey via

9 coaching practices which he sees as

the equivalent as the Core Coaching

Competencies. For example, the first

practice is: slow it all down and sync with

the rhythm of life and spirit, Practice 6

is: attune to your client’s Deeper Sense

of Self and let that lead.

So, instead of the coaching session

being based on a model such as GROW

in which a lot of questions are asked

and actions agreed upon, the coaching

is about the Coach themselves having

the capacity to hold a sacred space,

to tune into the emerging potential of

the client and the situation, and often

through silence to allow the coachee to

tap into their true Self.

The first practice sets up the ability to

enter this space: (from his book)

“In my experience, the closer I get

to Spirit the better I am able to

connect with the rhythms of life

that are optimal for the well-being

of my body, mind, and soul. For

others, proximity to nature and its

energies and rhythms creates that

same sense of well-being. When I

live in harmony with those natural

rhythms, from wherever I derive

them, I thrive. Conversely, when

I get caught up in the hustle and

bustle, succumbing to the pressure

to get things done, move things

forward, make things happen (the

faster the better, of course), or when

I try to push or force things to happen

that are not ready to happen,

stress and tension settle in, and I

am no longer in my optimal state

of connection, flow, and well-being.

I am effectively acting against my

own desire to live at a higher level

of personal consciousness.”

This is very much how I worked with L,

the executive. In our early sessions, we

did some talking and exploring, and

then we moved onto “inner” practices.

One was to begin with something akin

to mindfulness. I asked L to just sit and

notice the totality of his experience. I

suggested that by being aware of his

experience, his tensions would dissolve,

his thought flow would calm and he

could shift to a heart awareness. Then I

asked him to ask his deeper self, “ what

am I being called to?”

This reminds me of my favourite business

book: “Reinventing Organisations by

Frederic Laloux”. Laloux charts the

appearance, culture and practices of

so-called TEAL organisations – that is

organisations that have adopted higher

consciousness practices based on a

higher level of wisdom to run their

businesses or organisations. Businesses

are managed without the normal

hierarchy or budgets, the evolutionary

purpose of the organisation is key (which

is discovered though employees sitting

together in silence and listening for it or

asking, “ what is the organisation being

called to do” ) and the organisation is

run on person centred practices with

employees being encouraged to show

up for work as themselves without the

usual masks.

And in case you think this sounds

like some crazy hippy idea, such

organisations have proven themselves

to be highly effective and profitable

and more resilient than normal

organisations. Key to such organisations

though is an “enlightened” leader who

does not so much do, but holds the

space so the above practices can be

implemented. For such leaders to exist,

many leaders will need to go through a

transformational coaching process.

The term TEAL is a description of a

person or organisation who has arrived

at a certain level of consciousness

which gives them a specific perspective

and enables them to act in different

ways. (see my later description of the

self-actualised person)

I was curious about this because many

years ago, when I was a business

consultant, we used a model based upon

“Spiral Dynamics” in which a person’s

values and intention were indicators

of their behaviours. In fact, a number

of people have attempted to develop

a map of consciousness development

including: Ken Wilber, Clare Graves, Don

Beck, Chris Cowan, Susan Cook Greuter,

Jane Loevinger, Tara Springett. The

specific description depends how we

are measuring growth – e.g. by values,

stages of ego development, intention,

way of relating to the world, direct


I have found this to be immensely

valuable when using a transformational

coaching model – to have a model

enables me to recognise where a person

is on their journey and what practices


Level Characteristics Challenges

1. Dependency

No power, innocent, childlike, wishful thinking,

aligns themselves with a more powerful person,

unaware of their own needs and generally

unaware, tunes out, no responsibility

Has no control over their own life, can not accomplish,

victim, wants to be rescued, prone to

innocent spiritual beliefs or addiction

2. Power

Being autonomous, powerful, aggressive, self

centered, us against them, narcissistic, dominant

and able to use their will. Success through

aggressive power

Criminal or socially unacceptable dominant

behaviour. Dictator boss or leader. No heart!

3. Rules and Suppression

To counter the aggression of level 2, the person

lives according to strict rules, codes of behaviour

and moral values. Personal needs are suppressed

and the good of the greater society are

more important than individual needs

Life is very black and white. Emotions and

therefore the self is suppressed. Little joy and

prone to anxiety. Always seeking security.

4. The Achieving Self

5. The Reconnecting Self

6. Self Actualisation

7. Transcendence

Fulfilment is sought through achieving and

acquiring. A good education, a good job, a

partner, a nice home and car are the goals. This

is the prevailing level of the western world and

our education system is designed to achieve it.

Most coaching is done at this level.

Awakening from the bubble of self centred

achievement, and now has concern for others

and the environment. Deep soul searching,

expression of self, a search for purpose and

practices such as meditation, healing , attending

therapy etc. Green! Personal Development

and transformational Coaching

TEAL. The discovery of the trans-personal self

and the beginnings of spiritual awakening.

Deep intuition and wisdom. Taking responsibility

and being truly in one’s own power. Able to

act without personal agenda. Discovers true

purpose and sees the world as a mirror of the


The oneness of life is realised and one is so

filled with love and compassion that life is devoted

to others and to the world. The ability to

heal and transform others through mere presence

becomes developed, and this person lives

much of their life in a state of grace and bliss

Makes for a busy stressful life and the fulfilment

constantly needs to be refuelled with

new acquisitions and challenges. Ultimately

the person feels empty. Disconnection from

the self

Frustration, blame and anger, uncovering

of emotional pain and a frustrated need to

change themselves, others and the world.

Excessive emphasis on equality, political correctness

and being nice to people, though with

angry and passive aggressive undertones

As the trans-personal emerges, conflict and

change in ones personal and professional life.

The metamorphosis of the butterfly!

Subtle traces of the former self which interrupt

total transcendence and often involve working

through some of the earlier levels which were

not fully completed

8. Awekening

Full discovery of our true Self with all of the

emergent wisdom, love and power. Absolute


The human body.

Achieved by very few

32 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

focused on exploring his inner world

and finding out what he really wanted.

He put much emphasis on coming out of

his head and being able to live from his

heart. We coupled this with his desire to

be authentic and he started to act upon

this at home and at work.

He arrived for session 11 glowing. He

reported: “ I went for a walk in the rain

and finished up sitting in the park for

many hours. I suddenly became acutely

present and everything took on a bright

vibrant aspect. I could suddenly no

longer separate myself from the trees

and the birds and the rain. My whole

being filled with bliss and a lifetime of

sorrow was released”.

may be helpful. I have developed the

model and could write an entire book

on it, but the below is a brief overview

from the lowest level to the highest. But

note that whilst we have a dominant

level, we also show lower or higher

levels from time to time, depending

upon the situation. Also we will often

have lower level “stuff” to resolve later.

Most people who are attending

transformational coaching are

transitioning from level 4 to 5 or from

5 to 6. Very different approaches are

needed. For 4 to 5 it is necessary

to explore feelings, beliefs, values

and purpose and connect a person

to their inner world. A space similar

to that proposed by the humanist

psychotherapist Carl Rogers is useful

(empathy, unconditional positive

regard, congruence). For 5 to 6, Leon

VanderPol’s model is more useful in

which a person connects directly to


None of this can be rushed and certainly

cannot be faked! Each stage needs to be

completed more or less.

L, the executive attended for 12

sessions. During the first half we

L went on to take a one year sabbatical

from work before resigning and

setting up a consultancy company

specialising in employee engagement

and wellbeing. His original company

had failed to develop and there was no

longer a match – they lost an awakening

leader. Transformational coaching was

exactly what he needed, and as the

world goes though the challenging

times we are now in, many can see the

emergence of a new relationship with

life, the environment and economic

models. Transformational coaching will

be highly relevant and only coaches who

have gone through transformational

coaching themselves will have the

Presence to coach others.

Steven Lane

Steven Lane is a personal development and transformational coach and trainer. With a varied background including coaching, therapy, 7 years

as a Buddhist monk and a decade as a business and NGO consultant, he has spent the last 20 years dedicated to helping individuals heal

themselves and discover the depths of their potential. He works with private individuals and organisations in person and via Skype/Facetime.

Tel: (00353) 0851003916



34 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

MIT’s Strategic

Agility Project…

reveals that




executives and

Team Coaching:

Coaching Teams of


Professor David Clutterbuck discusses team coaching,

the PERILL model, and puts forward some expert

advice on approaching the organisation of a Team

of Teams, from values alignment, team development

plans and communication.

managers is



Just as focusing on individual

performance doesn’t necessarily

lead to improved collective (team)

performance, high performing teams

don’t necessarily work together to

deliver a high performing organization.

In his book Team of Teams, retired US

general Stanley McChrystal offers a

number of examples of how functional

silos within organisations or even

within departments can undermine

performance overall. Every increase

in the efficiency of a narrow slice of

the organizational system can reduce

the effectiveness of the whole.


These insights are not completely

new, of course, but it is only now, as

team coaching becomes increasingly

entrenched in organizations, that

the focus is beginning to shift to

the wider system beyond the team.

The emerging challenge is: how do

we apply what we have learned

about coaching teams to coaching

multiple, interdependent teams?

The PERILL model was the first

significant attempt to apply

complex, adaptive thinking to

work teams. It identified from

extensive literature analysis, six

factors that interact to drive or

hinder collective performance.

At their simplest, these factors

interact in three dimensions but

there will be times and situations

when all six are influencing and

being influenced by each other.

The six factors are:

• Purpose and motivation:

having a clear reason for

being and a clear direction

that energise and capture the

imagination of team members.

When individual and collective

identity coincide around a

common purpose, great things

are possible.

• Internally-facing systems and

processes: in particular, work

design and interdependencies,

communication and decisionmaking

• Learning: how the team

enhances its performance (how

it does today’s tasks), capability

(how it enhances its skills and

resources to tackle tomorrow’s

tasks) and capacity (how it does

more with less)

• Leadership: the moderating

factor that influences whether

each binary combination of

other factors is expressed

positively or negatively.

What is a Team of Teams (TOT)?

Traditional organizational structures

have a hierarchy of teams, with

leaders of individual teams linked

within a team of managers, who

in turn are linked into more

senior manager and leader teams.

Communication happens up and

down through these managerial

“linking pins”. A team of teams may

or may not have formal leaders

for each team but communicates

through about multiple points

of connection between teams

horizontally, vertically and

transversally. While traditional

structures aim to produce greater

efficiency, TOTs aim to increase

effectiveness and agility.

How can teams of teams build

shared purpose and motivation?

MIT’s Strategic Agility Project (Sull

et al, 2018) provides a disturbing

review of strategic awareness

amongst leaders and middle

managers. It reveals that strategic

alignment amongst executives

and managers is consistently

overestimated, with only slightly

more than half of top teams agreed

on the highest three strategic

priorities and only 22% of their

direct reports able to name the

top three priorities..

• Externally-facing systems

and processes: how the

team interacts with its



how it understands those

stakeholders and they

understand it, how the

team manages conflicting



resources etc

• Relationships: factors, such

as trust, respect and genuine

concern for each other’s

welfare, which enable close


36 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Among practical approaches team

coaches can initiate are:

• Encouraging every team to

create and share a narrative

about what the organizational

purpose looks like from their

perspective and what they

can best (and or uniquely)

contribute to achieving the

purpose. Sharing these stories

with other teams in the TOT

structure allows them better

to understand and appreciate

each other – but also to develop

a clearer consensus about what

they need from each other

to achieve their part of the

purpose and what they can do

to support each other.

• Identify in each team the tasks

its members find most and least

energising. This gives birth

to opportunities for creative

swapping – re-design of tasks

and roles that make more

flexible use of the energy within

the whole TOT system.

• Explore the concept of

interconnected responsibility.

Just as individually-based

reward systems undermine

teamwork, so teams can

develop an internal focus on

their responsibilities. Making at

least one third of each team’s

key performance indicators

(KPIs) reflect contribution to

the system changes attitudes

and behaviours, so that teams

take partial responsibility and

ownership for other connected

teams’ performance, capability

and capacity in respect of

achieving the collective


How can teams of teams enhance how

they interface with stakeholders and

the external world generally?

The external interfaces of each

team will have some similarities

with those of other teams in

the system and some unique

connections. In many cases, this

will mean interacting with the same

external system of systems, but at

different points. So, for example,

while the executive team might be

connected with its counterpart in

a major customer, teams at lower

levels might be connected with

users of the products or services.

In a typical organization, data

from these interactions passes

up and down functional silos. In a

genuine TOT, information is shared

equally horizontally, vertical and


As a team coach, we might facilitate

a team in developing better ways

of listening to and capturing

information from its stakeholders.

With a TOT, it’s important to be

aware of and capture information

relevant to other internal teams as

well. Critical questions include:

• How is this information relevant

to achieving our collective

purpose as a TOT, as well as for

our team on its own?

• How do we listen to stakeholders

with the ears of other TOTs?

Stakeholder mapping is

usually carried out at either an

organizational or a team level. In

a TOT, these two levels of mapping

can be integrated in an intermediary

level, which shows the overlaps

between individual teams and

connects directly to both team and

organizational purpose.

Achieving similar

levels of trust

between teams is

challenging. Our

tribal instincts

kick in very easily,

leading us to view

“outsiders”, who

we should be

collaborating with,

as rivals…

How can teams of teams build

more effective, collaborative


Psychological safety and the trust

that it builds are fundamental to the

performance of individual teams.

Achieving similar levels of trust

between teams is challenging. Our

tribal instincts kick in very easily,

leading us to view “outsiders”, who

we should be collaborating with, as

rivals for, for example, resources,

attention, or reputation. Building

inter-team trust is not greatly

different from building trust within

teams. Practical approaches include:

• Sharing personal histories and

team histories. In a merger

situation, rapid integration can

often be achieved when tow


teams share with each other

“How we became the team we

are now”.

• Sharing each team’s values.

There is usually a great

deal of commonality, which

may have been downplayed

in an atmosphere of

rivalry. Rediscovering the

connectedness between them

promotes understanding. Where

there are differences of values,

rather than engage in “right and

wrong” mindsets, the two teams

can explore how the diversity of

values can enhance how they

work together to support the

shared purpose. (One outcome

can be redefining work roles,

so that aspects of the task that

don’t energise people in team

A, are seized with enthusiasm

by people in team B.)

• Having swift and respectful

processes for resolving interteam

conflict. Existing conflict

/ predicting future conflict.

Clarity about behaviours that

build and undermine trust and

reviewing what happens in


• Physical location – having a

desk in the other team’s work

area, to encourage regular

human interaction

• Having an agreed trust recovery

process. This recognises that

trust does get broken from time

to time and that, rather than

let to fester, both teams have

a responsibility to repair the

damage as quickly as possible.

Two key principles underlie an

effective trust recovery process.

One is that this is a learning

opportunity. The other is that

with humility and a continued

focus on collective purpose,

trust may be strengthened by

the experience.

How can teams of teams develop

better shared systems?

Team coaching can help with two

key systems:

• How do we communicate and

coordinate across TOTs?

• How do we make fast and

accurate decisions that involve

several TOTs?

38 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

A knee-jerk response is to make

everyone aware of everything,

which is likely to result in vital data

being buried in an overwhelming

mass of trivia and irrelevant data

from every other TOT. McCrystal

recommends pushing decisionmaking

to the lowest practical level.

For this to be effective, however,

teams need shared communication

and decision-making protocols and

– over and above this – an instinctive

understanding of what other teams

need to know.

Artificial intelligence has much

to offer in terms of learning when

and where to route information

of this kind, but a great deal can

be achieved by old-fashioned

conversation. Regular and ad hoc

inter-team reviews of cases – both

ones that went well and one’s

that didn’t – can build collective

instinctive understanding of what

needs to be transmitted along with

the level of urgency. They also

reinforce shared accountability. The

systems that genuinely enhance

collaboration between TOTs are

rarely imposed top-down – they are

a continuous, emergent learning

process that constitutes collective,

adaptive intelligence.

A pragmatic set of coaching

questions to explore communication

between teams is:

• What information that we

could provide would be most

helpful to you in making good


• When will it be most helpful?

• How can we provide it in the

most helpful way?

To facilitate these conversations,

team coaches can work at the

interface between teams, supporting

them when they come together to

determine what decisions require

or will benefit from input from more

than one team. Among questions

that are helpful here are:

• Who is best positioned to

make this decision (e.g. from

a position of timeliness, and

having sufficient information to

assess the situation)?

• Who should input into the

decision, how and when?

Although there may be some

argument and give and take,

recasting decision-making as a

collaborative activity between

teams helps to break down the

“them and us” boundaries even


How can teams of teams better

learn together?

Much of what has been described

above is in essence about colearning

across team boundaries.

When coaching individual teams,

a team development plan, which

links personal development with

team development and the business

plan is an increasingly common and

practical approach, now standard

for all coaches, who have trained

through Coaching and Mentoring


It is much more difficult to

identify and manage learning

that is needed across and by the

system, but the same principles

apply. Team development plans

can be amalgamated into TOT

development plans that link directly

to the organizational purpose. An

outcome of doing so may be the

identification of hidden centres

of excellence – small but valuable

caches of experience and skill that

can be enhanced and made more

widely accessible, if other teams

know about and value them.

The TOT development plan plays a

vital role in regular (at least annual)

reviews of learning by the system.

Team coaching focuses on helping

teams improve performance (what

they do), capability (what it will be

able to do in the future, if it acquires

the knowledge, processes and

resources) and capacity (how it will

do more with less, as Peter Hawkins

expresses it). TOT development

plans address the same issues and

help teams think beyond their own

horizons, expanding the collective

consciousness and reinforcing

responsibilities to the system rather

than just to a team or an individual

job description.

How can teams of teams use

leadership to greatest effect?

Leadership is not the same

as being a leader. Traditional

hierarchies focus on the role of

the leader, who is expected to

be in control of everything, but

increasingly can’t. The linking pin

model of organizations assumes

that leaders at one level will

become a team under a leader at

the next higher level. It breaks

down, of course, because it

requires only one weak link for

the chain to break. Effective team

coaching clarifies the functions

of leadership and enables the

team to explore together how

these might best be delivered.

A typical outcome is that the

appointed leader knows how best

to add value and that they are

valued by the team. It also frees

them up to focus on tasks that are

more important to building future

capability and capacity.


Within a TOT, leadership may need

to be expressed differently within

teams that have different roles

in relation to the organization

purpose. As in an individual team,

this diversity within a TOT has

potential to be both a strength and a

weakness. Looking through the lens

of leadership functions helps us to

understand the leadership system

in a much more perceptive way. It

requires a mental shift in managers

at all levels from seeking to control

the TOT to facilitating it.

Collective coaching conversations

enable the formal and informal

leadership structures to listening

to what the system needs. For

example, where is it oscillating

in ways that will interfere with

performance and where are

patterns emerging that should

be encouraged and reinforced?

Functions of leadership.

Where do we go from here?

A literature search on TOTs reveals

very little and nothing at all on

team coaching in this context.

Clearly, we have much to learn!

Equally, this provides an immense

opportunity for experienced team

coaches to expand their portfolio.


McCrystal, Gen Stanley (2015) Team

of Teams, Penguin Random House,


Sull D, Sull, S and Yoder J (2018)

No One Knows Your Strategy —

Not Even Your Top Leaders, Sloan

Management Review, (Research

Highlight online February 12)

Professor David Clutterbuck

Professor David Clutterbuck is one of Europe’s most respected writers and thinkers on leadership, coaching and mentoring. He’s the author of

more than seventy books and regarded as a leading global authority on coaching and mentoring. Professor Clutterbuck is a visiting professor to

the coaching and mentoring faculties of Henley Business School, Oxford Brookes University, Sheffield Hallam University and York St John.

40 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

we are all heroes

The Legend of Zelda

and the Hero’s

(Heroine’s?) Journey

and we all have

calls for adventure,

needs for change,

challenges to

overcome, and

goals to set

Zelda di Blasi shows us that the familiar story of the

Hero’s Journey which can be found everywhere from

the Bible to video games, can be a useful framework

for the coach and coachee to work within. It also

provides opportunities for some more adventurous,

thought provoking language as we seek to slay

dragons and banish demons!

A Coaching Model

Clients often come to coaching looking

for some form of change or direction,

perhaps a career transition or improved

performance in an area of their lives.

As coaches we can use change theories

or models to understand the process

of change to help to create direction

and structure, so that we can enable

our clients to move through change in

effective, positive and supportive ways.

There are many coaching models that

can help individuals in transition (e.g.

GROW), as well as change theories (e.g.

Lewin’s 3 Step Model, Prochaska and

Diclemente’s Stages of Change model).

A less common model but a potentially

powerful one in coaching individuals

and teams through change is the Hero’s

Journey by Joseph Campbell and the

work of Jung who discovered that

many legends, myths, stories, books

and Disney movies are built on a basic

pattern and structured in three stages

where the hero goes on an adventure

(the Departure), is challenged by

enemies in approaching the innermost

cave (the Adventure) and returns home

transformed (the Return).

According to Joseph Campbell there are

three possible life paths that we can

take: (1) the village, (2) the wasteland;

or (3) the journey.

The village represents the traditional

life that has been mapped out by

society and culture, where we do as

we are told. We go to school, graduate,

get a job, get married, have kids, buy a

house, work, retire, and finally we die.

If we follow this path, in theory we will

feel secure, safe and satisfied. For some,

this may be true, but for many others

the village is, in Thoreau’s words: “a life

of quiet desperation”.

The wasteland is the path of the rebel

or outcast who reject the village, feeling

cynical and negative, and attempts to

numb these feelings with TV, drugs,

alcohol, criminal activity or isolation.

The third path is that of the journey,

where we follow our hearts, as we

envision something more and are called

to discover something new.

We can go through several hero’s

journeys in our lives when we follow

our bliss, and we find ourselves

experiencing magical moments when

the world opens up, as we connect with

something greater and transformative.

This is also known as the Eudaimonic

or meaningful path to happiness, as

its where we tend to cultivate our

strengths, contribute to a greater good,

realise our potential and find meaning

in life. The Hero’s Journey is about

taking this third path; the journey to find

how to thrive by developing the skills to

discover and travel your own path and

live your own life as the best version of

yourself. A hero’s journey is a path of

self-development. We grow in order to

develop the flexibility and competence

we need to navigate new territory and

overcome the obstacles that arise along

the way.


I stumbled on upon this model when

I discovered scientific evidence on

the power of our names on our lives,

including our career choices, whom we

marry or where we live.

Shakespeare wrote: ‘A rose by any other

name would smell as sweet’, however, I

am not sure I would be who I am today if I

had been given another name, like Maria

for example, which I was almost called.

While my parents had agreed on Zelda,

my Sicilian grandmother managed to

persuade my father to register me in her

own name, and this was later changed,

and as a result, I never got a dowry

from my grandmother, but I did get the

name Zelda. Had I been called Maria,

I don’t think I would have left Sicily,

where I grew up at age fourteen, when I

followed my heart and moved to Ireland

to start a wonderful adventure. The

name Zelda means ‘joy’ or ‘happiness’.

My job is to teach, coach and research

the Science of Happiness. My mother

chose this name inspired by American

writer and dancer Zelda Fitzgerald, the

wife of great novelist Scott Fitzgerald.

Like Zelda Fitzgerald, I love to write and

to dance.

Also inspired by Zelda Fitzgerald,

Japanese cartoonist Miyamoto called

his action adventure game, the Legend

of Zelda. Released in 1986, it has sold

over 75 million copies and is one of

the most popular and influential video

games of all time. This video game was

designed using the Hero’s Journey.

Anthony Bean recently published a

book entitled The Psychology of Zelda,

tracing aspects of the Hero’s Journey.

1. The steps of the hero’s journey

include: the Departure (Hearing the


2. the Adventure (Facing a Challenge);


3. the Return (Transformation).

1. The Departure:

Hearing a calling relates to our life

purpose or mission. We may refuse

or disregard the calling, but this

often intensifies the problems, while

committing to the calling leads us to

confront a boundary or threshold in our

map of the world.

‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with

your one wild and precious life?’,

said Mary Oliver. She explained the

process of departure in her poem ‘the

Journey’, where the hero stops listening

to people around them and begins

to recognise and listen to their inner

voice, beginning their journey in order

to save their life. In starting our journey,

we cross the threshold which takes us

into new unknown “territory”, outside

our comfort zone; where we are forced

to grow and evolve. This threshold is

generally a “point of no return,” once

we are across it, we cannot go back to

the way things used to be.

2. The Adventure:

We are designed for adventures. From a

neuroscience perspective, our brain is

designed to thrive on new experiences

and on challenges that allow us to learn

and grown. Flow states are triggered by

challenges, and the brain floods with

dopamine when it discovers something


Helen Keller, said: ‘Life is either a daring

adventure or nothing at all’. Facing a

42 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

challenge or a demon is also a natural

result of crossing a threshold. A demon

or a dragon is generally something that

appears to oppose, tempt or negate us

as heroes, they are not necessarily evil or

bad; they are simply a type of “energy”,

that we need to learn to contend with,

accept and redirect. Often, demons or

dragons are a reflection of one of our

own inner fears and shadows. Here we

confront “self-liting beliefs” such as:

“You should not be here” or “You are

not good enough”. Developing new

resources is necessary in order to deal

with uncertainty and transform the

“dragon” or “demon.” These resources

include increased self-awareness, the

ability to flex into strength, softness and

playfulness. Completing the task for

which we have been called and finding

the way to fulfil the calling is ultimately

achieved by creating a new map of the

world that incorporates the growth

and discoveries brought about by the


3. The Return

The return involves the hero coming

back to the village transformed and

sharing with others the knowledge and

experience gained from their journey.

Coming back to the village, we share

our story, having come full circle, but as

a new person. Through challenges and

discoveries along the path we acquire

courage, insight, wisdom, resiliency and

greater awareness of ourselves and the

world. When we return to the village

we are able to make our own unique

contribution and become recognized

and acknowledged for who we really


The journey is not always an external

one. Sometimes we travel internally

even as we stay within the physical

context of the village. As a result of our

growth, we bring new ideas and new

life to the village, making it possible for

more to thrive there.

The Hero’s Journey as a Coaching Tool

While a hero’s journey is a personal

journey, it is not something that we can

do alone. Coaching using the hero’s

journey as a model, and especially when

taking a positive psychology approach,

can be very powerful in this journey.

Several coaches have identified the

hero’s journey as a tool or model for

coaching, and provided useful resources


To start with it is important to explain

the concept of the hero’s journey to our

clients, letting them see that they’re

on a journey, perhaps drawing it on a

piece of paper using their story so that

they can pull back and see light at the

end of the tunnel. Coaching sessions

using this model can take place while

walking outdoors in nature in order to

embody the hero’s journey. In research

conducted with Gas Networks Ireland,

together with my colleagues, I found that

coaching clients while walking outdoors

was more energizing, increased levels of

self-efficacy and positive emotions, and

created a greater sense of connection

with clients, compared with coaching

conducted while sitting indoors.

As coaches, we can support our clients

in preparing for their journey by

asking open questions that can get

our clients fired up, excited, and on

purpose, for example by asking them:

“What is your call to adventure?”. Open

and powerful questions can help our

clients plan the actions needed to get

to their destination, and support them

along the way to build skills, believing

in themselves and staying focused on

their objectives.

We can spend time analysing what areas

need attention, what is not working and

what is working, brainstorming on the

possible solutions, thinking creatively

in order to change perspectives

and solutions, and to explore the

unknown. Identifying underlying

beliefs, procrastination, weaknesses,

temptations and challenges, along with

strengths, values, commitment, action,

perspectives, skills and willpower,

to help our clients to identify, face

and transform their ‘dragons’ or their

‘demons’ - in other words their inner

fears, shadows and self-limiting beliefs.

We can ask questions such as: “What

can you do to slay your dragon?”,

“What would happen if you slayed their

dragon?”, “How would you feel?”, “Who

would you be?”, “What would happen

if you didn’t slay your dragon?”. The

miracle question can be very powerful

here, e.g. ““Suppose tonight, while

you slept, a miracle occurred. When

you awake tomorrow, what would be

some of the things you would notice


keep up with your decision?”, “Is there

something in the way that might stop

you?”, “What else could you do?”. These

questions can help increase optimism,

self-efficacy and resilience.

To conclude, we are all heroes and

we all have calls for adventure, needs

for change, challenges to overcome,

and goals to set. In Mans’ Search for

Meaning, Victor Frankl wrote: ‘between

stimulus and response there is a space.

In that space is our power to choose

our response. In our response lies

our growth and freedom’. To this Bob

Dylan adds: ‘A hero is someone who

understands the responsibility that

comes with freedom’.

that would tell your dragon had been


Sometimes the return can be

challenging, and might involve crossing

another type of threshold, as the hero

needs to reintegrate with life and key

relationships. There can be a fear on

our own part of getting stuck in our own

previous existence, and there can be

desire on the part of significant others

for us to stay as we were before so that

they don’t have to change in response

to our movement and growth. In the

final phase, when the hero returns

home, it is important that the coach

gently challenges the client to ensure

that the conditions ahead will support

the implementation of the changes.

Useful questions might include: “Who/

What can support you?”, “What will

you put in place to ensure that you

Considering that coaching is a

“partnering with clients in thought

provoking and creative process that

inspires them to maximise their

personal and professional potential”

(, the Hero’s

Journey can be a very effective way

to creatively structure and inspire

our clients as they change to become

the best version of themselves.

Whether at a crossroad and looking

for direction, perhaps longing for a

career change, for improved health or

enhanced performance, coaching that

is based around the Hero’s Journey can

transform our clients, supporting and

fuelling their passion and purpose.

Zelda Di Blasi

Zelda Di Blasi, MPsychSc, PhD, is a graduate of the Kingstown College Advanced Diploma in Personal, Leadership and Executive Coaching, a

certified HeartMath coach and Strengths Coach. She is the co-founder and director of a Masters in Positive and Coaching Psychology at University

College Cork, where she lectures, coaches and conducts research. Zelda has a PhD from the University of York on the placebo effect and health

care interactions, a Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the University of California San Francisco and a Diploma in Modern Dance. She lives in Kinsale

with her husband and her children Zoē and Joshua.


44 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Those new to

writing may be

anxious to share

their work and

seek opinion on

it very early on

in the process.

Showing the

work in progress

to people too

soon, be they

professionals or

family and friends,

can be damaging.

Coaching for Writing a


Many people dream of writing a book; their

autobiography, a self-help idea, the novel. Most

people don’t get as far as writing the first line.

Countless others have beginnings, but no endings.

Susan Browne is an EMCC accredited Life Coach and

shares some valuable thoughts and strategies for

getting pen to paper.

Clients who reach out to a coach for

help in writing a book are almost certainly:

a) Very serious about finishing it.

b) Experiencing difficulty doing so.

In this article, I would like to share with

you some tips for coaching a client who

wants support for writing their book, as

well as some insider tips from the writer

point of view. I have offered powerful

questions as well as short visualisation

exercises throughout the article that

could be used or adapted in your practice.

On writing my first book, Angel EFT, I

thought about it for three years before

making a serious attempt and finishing

it. Now, writing my second book, as

a coach this time around I can take the

challenges that are ‘the process’ and apply

my coaching skills, as well as help

clients who have come to me for help in

getting their book written.

Overcoming Fear and managing the Inner


Most people won’t start or progress

their book because of Fear. Fear of looking

stupid; Fear of not being as good a

writer as they first thought; Fear of being

rejected; Fear of upsetting someone.

I approach this with the idea that

to write the book is only the first step.

The world is not genuinely sitting,

scratching its chin, watching over their

shoulder. That is just the inner critic. The

inner critic won’t merely go away, but

the client can notice it for what it is, and

tell it that its critique is welcome later,

at the editing stage, but not just now in

the creation stage.

Reassurance that the creation stage is

not even supposed to be good, never

mind finished or ready to show an editor/publisher/the

public can help the

self-conscious writer. Just as one might

put dung on the garden to fertilise it,


the client might need to write some

dung before the good stuff can grow.

Powerful Question: If you could advise

a friend who was feeling fearful about

writing their book, what might you say?

Getting Something Down

For the client who is having trouble getting

started, or has started and then got

stuck, suggest in your session a mind

map. If you are working online suggest

your client get a piece of paper and a

pen and write something in the centre

like ‘ideas,’ or the name of their book.

Encourage them to relax if they are

tense suggest a brief breathing exercise

to help them to be calm. Having them

relax allows ideas to flow better. It’s fine

to doodle images as well as using words.

Visualisation: Imagine that it’s the end

of the week and you have written your

target amount and are pleased about it.

You know it will need editing, but you

feel glad to have done this work and

have this much down. Now ask your future

self if s/he any advice for you, notice

what they say.

Showing up when you say you will –

chunking down goals

The Need for Validation and learning

to Self-Validate

Those new to writing may be anxious to

share their work and seek opinion on

it very early on in the process. Showing

the work in progress to people too

soon, be they professionals or family

and friends, can be damaging. Just like

a baby growing in the womb doesn’t

need to be taken out and looked at, nor

do embryonic ideas for a book. They

need time in the darkness to grow and

receive nutrients.

Clients often seek validation, feeling

lonely and wondering if they are on the

right path. Working with them to trust

themselves and the writing process can

be useful, to create ways of self-validation.

Powerful Question: Which of your

strengths can help you to feel more

confident in this process?

Part of making the action happen is for

your client to create a realistic plan in

bite-size chunks to get their book written.

If they want to write a 40,000-word

self-help book in eight months, look

at how can they break this down into

smaller goals.

On writing my first book, I decided to set

the target of writing just 500 words, five

days a week. It’s not much, but over time

it grew into a book. It was easy for me

to achieve 500 words, and it was measurable.

Until the editing process, which

involves cutting words and changing

things around. At this time, the goals

needed adjusting.

How to know if goals are realistic or


Many writers have the luxury - and precarity

- of having an undefined time

limit to finish the book. Others will have

46 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

inflexible external deadlines to meet,

such as that of a publisher.

You will soon discover if goals are realistic

or not by how the client performs

in meeting targets. Know from the outset,

that particularly if this is their first

book, the goals may need tweaking and

reviewing as you go along.

Setting writing goals that are not

achievable and then not adjusting them

can lead to feelings of failure and selfsabotage.

As a coach, look out for these

tendencies and talk to your client about


Support your client when targets aren’t

being met by saying something like

‘I notice it’s been hard to stick to your

original goal with this. Is it time to adjust

the goal do you think? Knowing what

you know now, what might you change

your goal to?’

Keep Powering Forward

Encourage your client not to begin the

editing process too soon. As in, let them

try to finish an entire first draft before

editing. It’s very tempting to start editing

chapters before you are finished,

but can lead to getting muddled and not

moving the book forward.

Parallel Projects

Some believe that you must get it written

and not worry about anything else.

Others will say that you need to build

your author platform. People you can

sell the book to once it’s written.

This is a very valid point but needs to

be balanced. If the client is working on

their social media posts to build an audience,

this is well and good if the book

is still progressing. Ten minutes on twitter

networking with other writers or potential

customers can quickly turn into

an hour and eat into valuable writing


For me, starting writing first thing in the

morning with no internet use is best.

Even if I want to do an internet search

for some information for the book, I find

it best to write my search query down

on a piece of paper to come back to

later when internet use is allowed.

Writers Block and Procrastination

Sometimes I wish that the term Writers

Block had never been invented. It gets

used as though it were some medical

diagnosis. People will turn to any number

of other jobs to avoid writing, and

the introspective client may even go on

an endless psychotherapeutic quest to

find reasons why they can’t write.

So, how do you confront your client

when you suspect they are presenting

to you with a host of excuses? Naming

procrastination could be the best

gift you can give them, but you want to

maintain the rapport. You want them to

know you are still on their side, and not

catching them out.

Powerful Questions:

• What needs to change for you to

succeed in writing this book?

• What one thing can you do today to

progress your book?

Staying on Task – Being Accountable

Many people writing a book have a lot

of other things going on in their lives.

There is always a reason not to sit down

and write. There are other things to be

done. Writing can be a joy, but it can also

be agony. This is the Fear and self-doubt

that plagues writers and is common to

all. Creating a daily visual check-in that

the coachee can work with can help create

accountability. A paper calendar to

check off when the set amount of writing

completed is very effective.

Visualising the Finished Product

I can’t emphasise enough how much

it helps writers to frequently imagine

their book, already written and printed.

Visualisation: Imagine that you are holding

your completed book in your hands

and feeling great about it. What does

the cover look like, and how does it

feel? What colours do you see? How do

the pages smell? Allow yourself to bask

in the feeling of success and happiness

as you connect with your finished book.

Feel proud of your achievement. Imagine

others congratulating you.

Powerful Question: How would you

like people to feel who are reading

your book?

Susan Browne

Life Coach, EMCC. After mental health nursing for thirteen years, Susan transitioned into her own private wellbeing business. A qualified

counsellor, EFT Trainer, Life Coach and holistic therapist, based in Co. Kerry, Ireland since 2000 and originally from Warwickshire, England. Susan

provides coaching and runs holistic workshops, helping people to overcome self-limiting beliefs and achieve personal goals. Outside of her

wellness work, Susan is writing her second book - a novel. Her first, ‘Angel EFT’ is a Mind, Body & Spirit book published by Dragon Rising, UK.

Find out more about Susan’s work at and and her writing at


Coaching Heroes Award

Celebrating 15 Years of Coaching Education

We are delighted to be celebrating 15 years of Coaching Diplomas at Kingstown College.

When the college first began to deliver the course, coaching was in it’s infancy in Ireland and Europe. Since then it has grown to become a respected

profession, and an invaluable resource for organisations.

To progress the profession so far in such a short space of time must be credited to those who were the pioneers and the champions of coaching.

We have had the privilege to work with many of those people, and many of them have also studied with us.

To mark 15 years of the Diploma in Coaching, we are celebrating 15 people whom we believe have made an important contribution to the coaching

profession, and are honoured that they have accepted the Kingstown College Coaching Heroes Award.



Peter FitzPatrick has almost two decades of HR, L&D and OD experience across a number of Government Departments and Offices, and is

currently Head of Learning and Development in the Department of Health. Peter is currently Co-chair of a Civil and Public Service Coaching

and Mentoring Working Group, which is working on definitions of coaching and mentoring within a public sector context, and assessing the

future demand for these interventions to support staff development and retention.



A native of Connemara, Breda joined IDA Ireland 16 years ago after spending much of her career in the UK. She has worked as IDA’s Head of

HR, Regional Business Development and most recently heads up a team supporting the growth of 270 small to medium sized multinational

companies in the IDA portfolio. Previously, Breda worked as Head of HR and Policy at Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council, UK and achieved a

master’s degree in Strategic Human Resource Management with Manchester Metropolitan University. Breda was educated in Kylemore Abbey,

Co. Galway and Shannon College of Hotel Management. Breda is a passionate believer in coaching for performance and leadership excellence

and completed her Diploma in Personal and professional Coaching with Kingstown College in 2008. She has since applied a coaching approach

with her team and in the approach taken to the development of the leadership teams of multinational companies here in Ireland. ‘It has been

invaluable in my role as a leader, coaching staff here in IDA and with client companies in looking at ways to help them develop their leadership

capabilities for the benefit of the Irish subsidiary and ultimately the economy’.



Frank is passionate and curious about equipping clients with the mindsets , behaviours and skills to have the necessary and courageous conversations

on a day to day basis. He truly believes that this involves the coach and coachee embarking on a shared journey to explore and map out the precise

steps that an individual must take in starting to have a real conversation and how to keep it alive. Frank’s work is about nourishing and sustaining

individuals and organisations by bringing a fresh lens and language to view, and thrive, in the system in which they operate.



Maurice is the Founder and Managing Director of Unleash Potential. He has over 25 years experience in public and private sector at Senior Management

and Executive level. He is a Fellow of the Contact Centre Management Association (CCMA) since 2007 and was the recipient of their Lifetime Achievement

Award. He was a board member of the CCMA for 11 years, six of them as Chairman.

Maurice’s leadership and strategy execution skills have been recognised by many national and international awards including European People Manager

of the Year and European Industry Champion of the Year (ECCA). He became a member of the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC) in 2013.

Maurice brings a different and unique perspective to the coaching experience and is also an accomplished conference speaker. Maurice provides

programmes in Mindfulness, Leadership Development, Diversity and Inclusion, and one to one Executive Coaching. He works in Ireland, USA, Singapore,

and all over Europe delivering services for clients including Airbnb, Paypal, Blizzard, Voxpro, Survey Monkey, Nestpick and Letgo, amongst others.

48 ANNE Coaching DOHERTY Magazine Vol.5


Anne Doherty is Chief Executive Officer of Mindwise New Vision, with a demonstrated history of working in the mental health care industry

for over 30 years. She is skilled in not-for-profit organisations with a specific passion and interest in developing client participation and

engagement strategies. Anne holds strategic planning & business development as core skills (MBA), underpinned by a creative and innovative

approach to Mental Health, Life and Executive Coaching - a qualified Coach/ Coach Supervisor.



Gerry Duffy is an international speaker in Goal Setting, Leadership and Public Speaking. His CV has seen him work with over 1000 companies

and organisations since 2010 and a personal passion for endurance sports has seen him complete many extreme sporting ambitions including

running 32 marathons in 32 consecutive days. With a Masters in Business Practice and a Diploma in Coaching, Gerry has coached many senior

executives and CEO’s and has written three books including THE GOAL GETTER - 35 Different Ways to Reach Your Goals. His clients include Aer

Lingus, Boston Scientific, SAP, Proctor and Gamble and British Gas.



Rosarii Mannion has 20 years of human resources experience including working at board level since 2012. In her career to date she has held a number

of senior leadership roles. Currently on a career break she worked as National HR Director in the HSE for 4 years bringing forward the first ever National

People Strategy for the organisation. She is a passionate believer and advocate for coaching and in maximising coaching and mentoring to improve staff

performance, staff engagement and inclusion. Rosarii is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and a qualified Mediator. She is a Professional Certified Coach

(PCC) with the International Coaching Federation and holds a BA, HDip, MA and MSc. She has recently been awarded a Professional Diploma in Human

Rights and Equality. She is the 2017 ICF Business & Executive Coach of the Year and is the 2018 Legal Island HR Leader of the Year.


Kimberly is a wellness, learning and health initiatives specialist where she works as a psychologist, counsellor, coach, trainer and researcher.

She has worked in the US, Germany and Ireland as a mental wellness professional.

Her exploratory sequential mixed method research in psychology focused on occupational health. Kimberly’s interests are in gender issues

relating to differences between men and women and how they experience debilitating health conditions, which includes the areas of

gender-specific medicine, social psychology, rehabilitation psychology, and occupational health psychology. Kimberly develops and provides

psychology based leadership and wellness programmes with a focus on engagement, diversity and best practice. She is currently serving on

two professional coaching psychology committees, actively writing wellness articles and developing a new wellness coaching assessment tool.



Joyce is a Senior International HR Manager, with a track record of achievement and innovation that spans over three decades in the Utility

industry. She has a particular passion and expertise in the areas of Strategy Development, International Talent Management and Leading

and delivering HR Transformational Change both in Ireland and globally for ESB International . Joyce is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of

Personnel and Development, holds a Masters in Leadership & Management Practice, Diploma in Executive Coaching, and a Diploma in NLP for

Business Practitioner. Joyce is a champion for the development of female talent and among her most noteworthy achievements is the design,

development and delivery of the ESB female development programme – ‘Inspiring & Empowering Female Talent’ – winner of CIPD Diversity

& Inclusion Award 2017.



Sibéal has made significant contributions to coaching and the coaching approach especially since joining the Workplace Health and Well Being Unit as

Workforce. Development Lead. Sibeal previously worked in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Institute of Leadership. In her role as Lecturer and

Programme Director at the RCSI Sibéal supervised performance improvement/change management projects from a wide range of organisational and

professional settings. In addition Sibéal has conducted a number of Workforce Planning Projects in a variety of settings.




Paula Mullin is an Executive and Communications Coach specialising in Executive Presence. She is one of a small number of Irish coaches

accredited to deliver the Bates Executive Presence Index (ExPI) assessment. This science-based 360 model measures Executive Presence.

Paula has 19 years experience working in coaching and communications. She works with multi-national and Irish companies including CRH,

EY, Glanbia, AON and CarTrawler. With a BA honours in Psychology and Sociology from Queens University Belfast, Paula has qualifications in

Executive Coaching, Communications Training, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Public Relations. Paula is furthermore a highly sought-after

executive coach for a number of c-suite and senior leaders across a diverse range of industries. She strongly believes in the importance of

leaders becoming mindful of how they show up day to day and how their presence directly impacts others. Paula is passionate about making

lasting change and developing authentic leaders.



In her work as a Performance Coach, Leadership Development Trainer, Theory U Facilitator, Systems-change specialist, Organisational Wellbeing

and Development Consultant and Yoga Teacher, Nadine pours her energy, care and focus into helping people in business, sport and life

expand into the fullest version of themselves. Her focus is always on helping them to achieve what they are truly capable of, by consistently

managing their own performance, leadership and wellbeing to deliver results. Supporting the person behind the performance is always at the

heart of Nadine’s work. She believes the individual themselves are the one constant force in every performance equation and their ability to

remain focused, present, skilful and grounded against the backdrop of chaos, uncertainty and confusion will always be within your control.

Nadine believes that there is a gap in our current societal, cultural and educational models that fails to adequately teach us to be that constant

force. It is her purpose and mission to fill that gap.



Catriona is an experienced leader with a passion for supporting people and organisations to realise their potential. Proven strengths in

leadership, strategy development, culture change, coaching, change management and business management. Catriona is future focussed,

and enjoys horizon scanning to identify emerging trends and opportunities. Talented at identifying untapped potential and opportunities for

synergy, she is at her best when supporting individuals and groups to be at theirs. Her hallmark is one of delivering quality outcomes through

strong process and powerful teams. Her experience to date spans across healthcare, academia, commerce, leadership and professional

development. This breadth, combined with her education, provides her with a unique perspective. She is an effective communicator, in

academic, business, media and leadership fora and is frequently invited as a key-note speaker at international conferences. Catriona blogs at



Mary is a Coaching Psychologist with 15 years experience in the field of Organisation Development & Talent Management. She is a Committee

Member of the Coaching Psychology Special Interest Group of PSI, and is currently Senior Executive Development Specialist with the Royal

College of Surgeons Institute of Leadership. Mary is a graduate of the Professional Doctorate Programme in DCU (2010), doctoral thesis in the

field of Organisation Development, specifically looking at psychological contract theory in relation to engagement and retention strategies

for high potential graduates (‘Generation Y’) in Professional Services. Regular conference and master class speaker in the area of ‘Engaging

the Multigenerational Workplace’. She is currently writing a book on ‘Recruiting Talented Professionals’ due to be published by Chartered

Accountants Ireland.


Neil currently serves in the Irish Defence Forces. He has extensive military experience including UN peacekeeping missions to Lebanon. He has

successfully completed the Advanced Diploma in Personal, Leadership and Executive Coaching as well as the Advanced Diploma in Mental

Health and Wellbeing Coaching through Kingstown College. In addition to Neil’s specific military role, he forms part of a progressive group

within the Irish Defence Forces which is helping to introduce Coaching and Mentoring as leadership competencies and organisation wide

programmes. At Kingstown College we found the work of Neil and his colleagues to be of particular interest as we traditionally view military

organisations as being the perfect example of a command and control structure. Therefore, to see Coaching and Mentoring being promoted

and successfully implemented is extremely noteworthy.

50 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

The World of a Financial Coach

Morgan O’Connell gives us a personal insight into his role as a Financial Coach,

his journey to that career and how money is still a subject which evokes emotion

and consequently a reluctance to speak about it.

My parents always said that the three things

never to discuss at dinner parties were

sex, money and religion. They didn’t abide

by these rules however and, as a young

boy, I often overheard heated discussions

on these topics with guests late into the

night. When it came to money, strangely,

it was never their own money the guests

discussed but everybody else’s. People just

didn’t discuss their money at a personal

level. This is changing now.

My Journey to becoming a Financial


I find myself at a very exciting time in my

life and career. My recent transition from

financial advice, to debt management

and now to financial coaching has taken

several twists and turns but has seemed

like a natural progression. Looking

back at the journey it seems obvious

that financial coaching was always my

destination. I was driven by a desire to

help and a fear of not being authentic

and transparent.

I wanted to be effective, at a more

personal level and to be unique. I

wanted to distance myself from the

rigid commission-based structure of the

financial services industry in Ireland.

I recognise the good work that many

advisors and financial planners do, and I


do not work in conflict with them. Indeed,

many practicing financial coaches work

with advisors for the benefit of clients.

It is said that financial services are

“sold” and not “sought”, meaning most

advisors who make commission must

apply certain pressure, sales techniques

and persuasion. If this agenda matches

the clients’ one, then all the better, it’s

a win-win. This is not always the case

though and herein lies the conflict of

interest. Many clients end up confused

and worn down with technical jargon,

complex concepts and excessive choice.

They frequently end up acting on advice

due to fatigue, disinterest and lack

of knowledge. Even with extensive

consumer protection regulation in

Financial Services, there are considerable

ethical aberrations.

Moving to the area of debt management,

and helping people to recover financially

from problem debt, was much more

rewarding, and more aligned to my own

values of integrity, authenticity and honesty.

The ability to listen, empathise and be

aware of others became more and more

important. From the hundreds of people

that I helped, I discovered what they really

valued most was being listened to.

In debt management there was a lot of

blaming and shaming and embarrassment.

Many were in financial difficulty through no

fault of their own but were victims of timing

or circumstance. The stress of being in

chronic debt and in conflict with banks was

so destructive to health and relationships.

I estimate that over half of my clients were

separated due to stress, anxiety, depression

and anger. Many broke down at the start of

our conversations because finally they were

sitting with someone that empathised with


Some obviously wanted to hand the

problem over to me to fix. My challenge was

to help them to help themselves by taking

control of their own situation. This was my

vision even before I knew what exactly

financial coaching was.

My eyes were opened with my

experience in gaining the Advanced

Diploma in Personal, Leadership and

Executive Coaching in Kingstown College.

It was a wonderful ethical grounding

in coaching. I then furthered this by

attending the Wise Monkey Financial

Coach Practitioner Certificate Training,

held by the inspirational Simone Gnessen

in Brighton. A lightbulb moment for me.

I realised that financial coaching was

something that others in the UK and

further afield were doing, that there

were organisations and support groups

available and that it was destined for the

mainstream. It gave structure, belief and

weight to my coaching.

Day to Day as a Financial Coach

Financial Coaching is first and

foremost coaching, with goal setting

and achievement at its core. I look at

someone’s life through the lens of money,

and then use established coaching

techniques, with some elements of

advising and mentoring thrown in. Some

purists might argue against bringing

these other elements, but I am using

these terms to describe the process of

educating, enabling, empowering and

teaching better capabilities around


Discomfort, frustration, shame and

anxiety are common emotions that

often colour a first financial coaching

conversation. Listening and being aware

of what is really “going on” here is crucial.

It would be an understatement to say that

money causes conflict in relationships.

The conflict is caused not by money

or lack of it, but by the emotions and

meaning attached to it and what it

represents to each party. Meaning and

emotion around money are taken from

childhood, parents, mentors and past

financial experiences.

How clients feel about money colours

their actions and inactions. Having it or

not, earning it or not, spending it, saving

it, wasting it, talking about it, all impact

the clients lives but also the lives of those

around them.

I ask a series of questions at the

contracting phase with each client to give

me some insight into their beliefs and

financial behaviours.

Examples include:

• What would you do if money were

no object?

• What are your biggest frustrations

about money?


frustration, shame

and anxiety

are common

emotions that

often colour a first

financial coaching


Listening and

being aware of

what is really

“going on” here is


52 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

• What are your biggest fears around


• Have you any money behaviours you

would like to change and what have

you done in the past to do so?

• Have you ever set a money goal and

achieved it?

• How would you currently describe

your relationship to money?

• If you have a partner, tell us how you

make financial decisions?

• What did you learn about money

from your parents/guardians?

• How do you feel when you talk or

think about money?

Clients find it difficult to answer these as

they have never been asked before. Often

this sets the scene for an initial coaching

conversation. Moving into goalsetting

follows from this.

One of the original thinkers in financial

goal setting, George Kinder, posed several

thought-provoking questions in his book

“Life Planning for You”. The most powerful

to me was to imagine yourself as being

secure financially with no money worries

ever again. The question posed is “How

would you live your life? Would it be

different? What and how would you change?

“. This helps a client take a step back and

view things from a different angle, with a

rethinking of what is really important to


At the beginning of my coaching journey

I felt overwhelmed with decisions about

what coaching tools and competencies

were the best fit for clients’ financial goals.

There were so many and my attempt to

shoehorn some into coaching conversations

did not always work well. I started to be

less rigid with the coaching tools and to

use them as a guide. I began looking at

solution focused tools. One that I have

become comfortable with is the OSKAR

Model (below), which focuses not on what

is wrong or the barriers to success but on

what actually works. It was developed

by coaches Mark McKergow and Paul Z.

Jackson and published in their 2002 book,

“The Solutions Focus: Making Coaching and

Change Simple”

O- Outcome (objectives, benefits of

achieving the vision)

S- Scaling (where you are on a scale of 1-10

in relation to reaching your outcome)

K- Knowhow and Resources (identify what

works and who can help you move up the


A- Affirm and Action (commitment to small

steps forward)

R- Review (strengthen momentum with



Whether a healthy pension pot,

educational savings, a debt free state

or being “in control” of spending or

negative emotions around money, the

financial goal needs to be clear. The

feeling that goes with goal achievement

needs expression. The good thing about

money is that it is measurable, and this

helps with goal achievement.

As an example, a recent client felt she

was getting nowhere with her financial

goal of buying her own apartment. She

was a high earner but put herself on

the scale of 3 out of 10 when scaling

her on the OSKAR model. Through

coaching, she identified what would

move her up the scale. She analysed

emotional triggers and priorities around

spending. She developed better habits

with this awareness. Her goal of saving

for a deposit became both a habit and

a priority. She increased momentum by

taking little steps like reorganising direct

debits and shopping in different places

and at different times. She became

more interested in “value” and filtered

spending through reframing questions

like “do I really need this and what is

the alternative?” She has become less

worried about “status spending” and

more focused on the things that matter

to her. She also became an expert in

abandoning her “cart” both online and

physically. Small definite changes will

help her to get to where she wants,

with the loss of some (not so important)


The future of Financial Coaching

While the coaching culture is growing

in Ireland, financial coaching is still in

its infancy. With the taboo of speaking

about money lifting, this method is

sure to grow. The recent corporate

“wellness” trend brings a welcome

focus on lifestyle issues for those at

work, money included.

General Practitioners are very aware

that stress and anxiety due to financial

problems is more prevalent in the last

10 years and identify money, work

and relationships as the three main

causes of stress in those presenting at

their clinics. Addressing the underlying

causes of stress is beyond their scope,

but they are becoming more open to

referring patients for money therapy

and coaching as well as other more

traditional therapy options.

Morgan O’Connell

Morgan O’Connell is a practicing Financial and Career coach. He is the first Financial Coach in Ireland holding the Certified Financial Planner©

accreditation. He is a qualified Financial Advisor (QFA) and Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP). He holds a Graduate Diploma in financial

Planning from UCD and most the Advanced Diploma in Personal, Executive and Leadership Coaching from Kingstown College. He is an

accredited Practitioner with the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). His coaching style is simple, uncluttered, energetic and

challenging. He is married with 3 children and lives in Dublin, practicing nationwide.

54 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

The 5 States of Team Success

As Team Coaching continues to increase in popularity, Sinead Fitzgerald

examines The 5 States as an evaluator, report and workshop to develop the

individual and team, and ultimately the organisation.



Communication Accuracy









©Brendan Foley 2019

The 5 States of Team Success





Wellbeing Results



With a background in Drama and

Sociology, working with people,

understanding people and further

learning has always been a passion

of mine. After 17 years teaching in

schools, clubs and afterschools, I

decided to change my career path. I

retrained in an area that although was

new still meant I would be working in

the area of communication, groups

and team effectiveness.

Working in Seachange Now in Dun

Laoghaire afforded me just that

opportunity. Each year I endeavoured

to learn a new set of skills and so

trained in the Insight psychometric,

EQi (which focuses on emotional

intelligence) and The 5 States model.

The one element that brought

all these skills together was my

coaching course with Kingstown

College. The world of executive


coaching opened my eyes to the

benefits of 1-1 coaching. As part

of this programme I gained a

practical and hands on approach to

coaching. In our first module we put

our coaching theory into practice

with peer coaching sessions. Peer

coaching is a confidential process

through which two peers, or

classmates, work together to build

new skills, teach one another and

conduct practice coaching sessions.

I can honestly say that every area of

my life improved during this process.

Within my professional life, I gained

a new confidence, and within my

personal life I became more focused

an organised.

I was impressed by how well my

peer coach listened and picked up

on certain words that I used during

the coaching session. I had said them

without really considering them but

they opened up so much discussion

about how I felt and thought about

certain areas of my life. It was very

easy to talk to the coach and I did not

feel judged. He was very respectful

in how he asked questions so I

didn’t mind expanding further on my

answers. The gift of another person

giving you time to listen, understand

and explore is gold. However, it’s

not just listening that enhanced

each session; I always came away

with a required action identified by

the goals I set for myself during the

session. The key to coaching is that

the answers lie within, the coach

simply facilitates and explores these

answers with the client.

Continual professional development

is a key criteria in working within

the field of coaching. So when our

Managing Director, Brendan Foley,

introduced The 5 States to the

Seachange Now team the timing

couldn’t have been better!

The 5 States aims to unlock the

potential of not only an individual

but also a team. In Seachange Now

we found our team effectiveness

work was increasing year on year.

However, we found it difficult to find

a tool which could snap shot, at that

moment in time, how a team was

performing, interacting and evolving.

Through Brendan’s bestselling book

‘The 5 States of Success’ an evaluator

and workshop were born.

By answering questions around

each state, an individual can look at

we found it

difficult to find a

tool which could

snap shot, at

that moment in

time, how a team

was performing,

interacting and

evolving. Through


bestselling book

‘The 5 States

of Success’ an

evaluator and

workshop were


the areas which they may need to

strengthen or leverage in order to be

part of a successful team.

The State of Clarity creates an

insight which can manifest really

good communication and build


The State of Connection explores

how empathy is not sympathy but

it is beneficial to understand where

someone is coming from, therefore

building trust. This state also creates

teamwork and relationships.

56 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

The State of Certainty creates belief.

This state creates the qualities of

confidence and tenacity.

The State of Vitality creates action.

By examining our mental, emotional,

physical and spiritual wellbeing we

can create action and results.

The final State of Spirit creates

purpose. This state also creates

the qualities of leadership and


In our workshops the clients can

identify the various strengths that

exist among the members of their

team and therefore assist each

other in areas that may need work.

Through discussion and facilitation

the team can understand how to

create and maintain wellness in

times of transition, through various

success strategies identified in their

5 States profiles.

One case in point was an aviation

company we worked closely with.

The 5 States Programme was

introduced to help leaders within

the organisation to become more

self-aware and to develop their skill

set to manage others. 57 Leaders and

Managers had a 1:1 coaching session

and a 5 States Personal Report.

During our work we found the State

of Connection was really high among

the team, which meant the key to

their success was through personal

engagement of the workforce. As

such, showing the teams that they

were truly valued, which mattered in

this company.

The State of Vitality was really low

and was becoming a barrier to

success. People were emotionally

and physically drained. However,

this did not mean that everyone was

working to their potential. In fact, the

opposite was true. Work conditions

and poor relationships between

all levels of leadership were the

biggest factors at play. A feeling of

being underpaid and undervalued

permeated the organisation.

• The Programme also identified the

bright spots in the company. The

organisation had really good people

and talent. All that was needed was

the right culture to channel this.

• We also identified strong leadership

from the CEO. He displayed a handson

and practical approach which

was consistent with the vision and

communication within the company.

• There was great talent at various

levels within the company and this

showed great signs for the future. We

identified that these people must be

retained, as they would build the

culture of the future. To this point

some of the long tenure people must

change or move.

The three key areas our 5 States

Programme identified:

• The Need for Retention - good staff

were leaving to get better pay and

conditions from other companies

and then returning as contractors

on a better rate - this made the

existing staff feel undervalued and

underpaid (state of connection).

• The Need for Focus and Wellness

– Most of the senior leaders and

managers were very stressed but did

not have the tools to deal with it.

Stress and time management skills

needed to be addressed.

• The Culture - ‘them and us’ – staff

and management were starting to

break down. The Senior Managements

attendance at workshops helped to

show the company was listening.

WIIFM (what’s in it for me) needed to

become clearer so that all staff had

more a business- than union-style

mindset. It was identified the need

to share the rewards with the people

making it happen.

In a nutshell we encouraged the

company to engage their people

emotionally and build their vitality

in order to create team and in turn,

company success.

Sinead Fitzgerald

Sinéad has worked in the areas of education, accountancy and office management - bringing clarity and understanding to the needs of

her clients. With 17 years experience working in the teaching profession Sinéad has a practical approach that is tailored to the needs

of the learner. This comes through in her training and interpretation sessions where clarity and understanding are paramount. Sinéad’s

focused approach creates clarity and helps clients to connect with the reality of their challenge and in doing so plan a clear route

forward. A master at handling priorities Sinéad guides people toward doing the right things at the right time. Her strong communication

skills allow her to articulate concepts clearly and accurately, thereby building a strong skill-set and mindset for those she works with.


58 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Goldilocks and the

Neuroscience of


An understanding of how the human brain works

is essential knowledge for coaches. But how can

we gain an understanding of this vast and ever

evolving research? Especially for application to the

coaching profession. Kingstown College faculty

member Rachael Clarke Ph.D. distills the world of

neuroscience into easy to understand principles

and real-world advice on how to introduce it to your


Once upon a time, like Goldilocks, I went

searching for ways to help myself be the

be a better leader. I tried working more

and more hours “this is no fun, I’m tired and

grouchy all the time.”

I tried telling people what to do, or better

still, doing it for them- “that didn’t work

either- now they are grouchy and I’m still

tired.” Finally, I found a coach and got to

know myself a little better - “Ahhh this

is just right” I said happily and gobbled

it all up.

Coaches are turning to neuroscience to learn

more about how we think, how we develop

and how we perform. I’ve gone back to my

neuroscience roots to infuse my practice

with tools and techniques designed with

the brain in mind. In this article I share key

principles about the brain for facilitating

learning and change and how we can build

these into our coaching practice.


The brain is a connection machine

The brain creates million of new

connections each second. It loves to

make connections, its how we makes

sense of the world.

If I asked you to think of a banana and

what it means to you? You might come

up with different things - the smell,

color, taste. You may recall eating

a banana and watching Bananas in

Pajamas on TV. We all have different

concepts for ‘banana’ and they connect

when we think of the word.

We make connections to things we

already know, it helps us develop our

mental maps. It feels good, as chemical

neurotransmitters are released (e.g.

dopamine or noradrenaline) which

drive people to take action. When

we are unable to make a connection,

when we cant think our way out of a

problem, we hit an impasse. Coaching

helps people to resolve this by helping

them think differently and create new

mental maps.

To help: Often, we focus on what’s

we can see – results, behaviours of

individuals. Focusing on what is driving

this, the thinking and feelings of the

person makes it an effective tool for


1. Awareness is key. To support your

coachee to identify the dilemma,

I ask them to phrase the issue in

this format: I would really like to

_____________but ____________.

Putting it into a short sentence,

and focusing on the want, reduces

the load on the working memory

and increases the processing

power available for considering

the question from a range of

angles. Avoid getting lost in the

details of the problem and getting

overloaded with information, you

lose clarity of distance and can’t

see patterns as easily.

2. Help people make their own

connections – What stage are you

at in your thinking of this? How

clear is your thinking on this? What

connections are you making as we

talk about this issue?

3. On seeing an aha moment, take a

moment to highlight the insight

and help deepen the wiring around

their new thinking. E.g. how do you

think we might move this insight

forward? Whats do you thing your

next step is based on this insight?

Up close, no two brains are alike.

Everyone has a unique set of

connections for how they think about

things. Your mental maps are different

than everyone else’s. How you solve

a problem is simply that - how YOU

would do it. Other people are likely to

use different mental pathways to get


Because no two brains are alike, we

all learn better when we find our own

answers. Which is why advice giving

rarely works. So If we want to improve

the quality of others thinking our best

option is to help them process ideas


To help: Remember the energy of

finding an idea yourself generates

noradrenaline and dopamine, driving

people to want to take action

1. Use questions to make their ideas

more clear, e.g. how long have you

been thinking about this? How often

do you think about this? When are

you most likely to think about this?

2. Focus on finding relationships

between concepts- what one word

that describes how you are feeling

right now? What impact is this

having on you physically? What is

the insight brewing at the back of

your mind?

3. Support them in prioritising their

thoughts - on a scale of 1-10,

how would you rate x? Scaling

things as percentages, ratios and

ratings helps the brain rise about

the detail and think about their


The brain hardwires everything it can

- this drives how we see the world

The brain is constantly changing. New

ideas or behaviours use our short term

memory (conscious brain) which is a

very limited resource for the brain.

The brain prefers to hardwire any

behaviours or thought or activity, that

can be repeated into our longer term

memory (non-conscious brain) so it can

draw from when needed.

The experience of learning a

new skill e.g. driving a car, shows

the shift from conscious to nonconscious

and how something is

repeated, even a few times can

become part of our hardwiring and

something we do automatically.

This hard wiring helps to keep our

short term working memory free

and fresh, allowing us to make new


Our short term memory (also called

the Conscious Brain) is where we

hold information in mind before

processing it. It is where all high level

thinking processes happens- deciding,

understanding, memorizing etc and

is controlled by a tiny area of the

brain, behind the forehead called the

Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC)) – its energy

intensive, has a small capacity and is

easily distracted!

Called the Goldilocks of the brain, the

PFC functions best when everything is

60 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

just right. Research by Neuroscientist

Amy Arnsten shows peak performance

is achieved when out brains have just

the right amount of two chemicals

Noradrenaline (the chemical for

alertness) and Dopamine (the chemical

of interest). If the balance is not right

we are bored or overwhelmed.

Coaching with the brain in mind means

working with the limitations of the

PFC in mind. It often involves getting

people to move away from autopilot

and old habits and into more conscious

thought. It takes significant effort and

energy from the coachee as the brains

preference is to use the option already


It’s hard to deconstruct old wiring, it’s

easy to create new wiring

We try to change our old wiring all

the time. Trying to get rid of habits

no longer serving us by focusing on

the issue is often ineffective. We can

end up deepening the connection we

are trying to break and creating more

awareness of problems. Focusing on

solutions is a better strategy. It creates

energy in our minds and helps the brain

stay in a positive state so we get more

creative and open up more to ideas.

Keeping Hebbs Law (1949) in mind,

Neurons that fire together, wire

together. Three keys to helping habits

and new wiring to stick are

1. Pay the new habit a lot of attention.

If we want to create a new, long

lasting connection in our brain,

we need to pay it a lot of attention

in the form of the quality and

quantity of focus. Getting people

to put energy in, by having them

think about it, write about it, speak

about it all make links to different

parts of the brain and help create

new maps with more density and

more firmly.

2. Repetition. Repeating the behaviour

every time situation X arises, helps

the brain build new hardwiring.

Implementation intentions are a

great way to help us remember

to repeat something – If I am in

circumstance x, then I should do y, in

order to achieve Goal Z.

3. Positive feedback is a signal to the

brain to do more of something.

It reinforces the new wiring the

coachee is trying to make so it

becomes a hardwired habit. When

you give positive feedback when

you notice the coachee focusing

on solutions, the brain sees this

as a reward which helps to further

embed the new habit

Good news! Experience consistently

and continuously changes the brain.

In the fairy story, Goldilocks was the

villain trespassing into the homes of

the three bears. In the original, she

gets eaten as a result. There are no bad

endings here.

Healthy brains retain the ability to

change and adapt and grow new

connections over our entire life (called

Neuroplasticity). Our role as coaches is

to get curious and design experiences

that take full advantage of this capacity

for change. I hope this article has



Arnsten, Amy. NeuroBiology pf Executive

Function. Catecholamine Influneces on

Prefrontal Cortical Functions. Biological

Psychiatry. 2004 Oct. (published online)

Rock, David. Quiet leadership. (New York;

Harper Collins, 2006) Brain based - coaching

principles identified in this article originate

from the NeuroLeadership Institute.

Taylor, Katherine and Marienau, Catherine.

Facilitating learning with the adult brain

in mind: A conceptual and Practical Guide

(Wiley; 2016)

Rachael Clarke Ph.D.

Rachael Clarke, PH.D. is a executive coach and facilitator. A neuroscientist with 12 years healthcare leadership experience with AstraZeneca

at a local, regional and global level in the fields of Compliance, Sustainability and Learning and Development. Rachael is passionate about

empowering daring, authentic and sustainable leadership by helping leaders become the best they can be.

Rachael holds an first class honors degree in Human Physiology, a postgraduate diploma in Statistics and a Ph.D. In Neuroscience. Her advanced

diploma in Professional, Leadership and Executive Coaching is from Kingstown College and she is certified in Intelligent Leadership and Brain

-based coaching methodologies. Rachael is a member of the Kingstown College Faculty and works with the NeuroLeadership Institute.


Congratulations to Our Graduates in 2018

62 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Case Study: Introducing a Mentoring

Scheme in the Charity Sector

There are almost 29,000 non-profit organisations in Ireland. Most organisations

are very small with very few paid staff who are on modest salaries. Adrienne Collins

introduces us to Carmichael, a registered charity which supports these small

organisations, giving an insight into the day to day operating of their Mentoring



Being mentored can be invaluable

for people, both individually and in

their role in their organisation. It is

particularly important for leaders in

the non-profit sector. The Carmichael

Mentor Scheme provides mentoring

free of charge to chief executives of

non-profit organisations in Ireland.

Chief executives are often in a difficult

position, trying to show they are in

control and doing a good job to the

board of directors and trying to lead the

staff. External support from someone

who is independent, impartial and who

has personal knowledge and experience

of relevance to their situation can be a

significant support to them in their role.

Carmichael and the Carmichael Mentor


There are approximately 29,000 nonprofit

organisations in Ireland. Most

organisations are very small with low

levels of paid staff on very modest

salaries, delivering significant public

benefit for society. (Benefacts, 2018).

to challenge, to encourage exploring

new ideas. Mentors need a range of

skills, the most important one being to

be an active listener. Others include

coaching, being a critical friend, a role

model, providing a “guiding” rather than

a “doing” hand.

The Carmichael Mentor Scheme started

as a pilot in 2012 in response to ongoing

concerns about the difficulties faced by

chief executives of small voluntary and

non-profit organisations and the lack

of support for them by initiating a pilot

mentor scheme.

Carmichael, (itself a registered charity),

supports these small organisations

and works to build capacity within the

sector by promoting best practice and

supporting boards in their governance

role. It is one of the leading specialist

training and support bodies for nonprofits

throughout Ireland, providing

services such as

• Office accommodation to 48 nonprofit


• Support services and facilities

• Training and support services,

including the Mentor Scheme

Coaching or Mentoring?

Much has been written about the

differences between coaching and

mentoring but in my view the Carmichael

Mentor Scheme combines the best of

both – a non-judgemental independent

support using coaching skills; and

insight from experience in management

or in the non-profit sector. In the context

of this programme, the mentor’s role is

to share their knowledge, to listen and

provide context to issues and problems,

to act as a sounding board, to aid in

exploring consequences of potential

decisions, to provide information and

feedback, to facilitate self-discovery,

Volunteer mentors were recruited by the

Co-ordinator of the Scheme (currently

the Chief Executive of Carmichael). The

feedback from the pilot was so positive

In some cases, a

mentor may act as

an independent

sounding board

while the mentee

explores issues

and decisions;

in others they

want to share

knowledge and

experience; in

others to help

tease out issues

and explore

possible solutions.

64 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

that the board of Carmichael made a

decision to continue it on a long-term

basis – it is now an established support

to the sector. The board decided to

bear any costs involved – staff time,

administration and other overhead

costs – and to provide the Scheme free

of charge to mentees. Two rounds of

mentoring are organised each year with

an orientation session for mentees. A

total of 62 people have been mentored

to date (July 2018). The mentoring

assignment lasts approximately nine


Experienced Mentors

Mentors come from a range of

backgrounds from for-profit, public

and non-profit sectors. Some want

to support the voluntary sector by

using their corporate experience in

accounting, finance, human resources,

governance and business consultancy.

Others are professional coaches who

want to do some pro bono work to

support leaders of small voluntary

organisations. Other mentors bring

their experience and understanding of

the non-profit sector to the relationship.

While some mentors are working, others

have retired and want to share their

knowledge and skills. Mentors only

need to commit for one assignment –

the Co-ordinator checks once or twice a

year to see if they are prepared to take

on a new mentee. Sometimes mentors

are not available due to work or other

commitments or due to continued

involvement in a mentoring assignment

that ran on longer than expected.


Mentees to date have come from

a very diverse range of non-profits

– telephone support helplines;

community groups; support groups for

a range of physical and mental health

conditions; development organisations;

organisations dealing with issues

including homelessness, enterprise,

social services, sport, legal. Most work

in organisations with less than 10 staff.

In some cases, a mentor may act as an

independent sounding board while the

mentee explores issues and decisions;

in others they want to share knowledge

and experience; in others to help

tease out issues and explore possible

solutions. Mentoring is very useful in

helping someone through an important

transition in learning, coping with a new

situation, career or personal growth.

Sometimes people come to mentoring

because they feel stuck and want to

change the way they are working or to

think in a new way.

Mentoring Topics

Popular topics for mentoring in

this Scheme include strategic or

business planning; governance, board

relationship management; financial

management; human resources;

grant applications; fundraising;

communications, PR, marketing, social

media; service delivery; introduction to

non-profit sector or a sub-sector within

it. Some mentees have come to work in

the non-profit sector for the first time,

for example, moving from business

consultancy to heading a small health

charity, and they want some grounding

in the sector. Others have changed from

They found it very

helpful to have

someone neutral to

speak with who was

not linked to either

the board or the

staff and who could

be objective.


one area within the non-profit sector

to another, for example, from poverty

relief in Ireland to development work


The Co-ordinator matches mentees with

mentors after the orientation meeting,

taking into account what mentors are

available and the specific needs of the

mentee. A small number of mentees

decide not to go ahead following the

orientation session or when they are

offered a mentor, for personal or workrelated

reasons, including a change of


Mentors have suggested that the

first meeting should be seen as an

introductory meeting to scope out the

needs to be addressed, the readiness

of the mentee to engage and the

compatibility with the mentor. It is

important to spend some time building

a rapport at this meeting so that both

parties feel comfortable. Both mentor

and mentee review and sign the

memorandum of understanding which

includes a confidentiality agreement.

The mentee decides the level of

confidentiality about involvement in

the Scheme. Some mentees tell their

boards they have a mentor and have

full support for that. In a few cases, the

mentor has met with the board. Other

mentees have reported that they felt

their board might judge them as weak

for seeking a mentor and therefore did

not tell them they were involved.

Mentoring Sessions

The mentoring assignment usually

involves six to nine meetings over a

period of seven to nine months at times

and dates agreed by both parties, but

this varies depending on the needs

being addressed and the nature of the

relationship. It should not last more

than a year except in exceptional

circumstances. Many mentors suggest

meeting for approximately an hour on

a monthly basis for 6 sessions initially,

reviewing at that stage if further

mentoring is required. If so, up to 3

additional sessions can take place. Some

spread the sessions over a longer period

to suit work or other commitments of

both parties or because of geographic

distance. Some mentors arrange to

meet mentees for six 2-hour sessions.

In cases where a mentee is seeking

help with something specific, a smaller

number of sessions may be agreed to,

in a tighter time-frame. Some use skype

for some sessions, but all agree that it is

best to have a face-to-face meeting first

to establish the relationship.

The Carmichael Mentor Scheme has

been evaluated on an ongoing basis

since it began. All mentees and mentors

are asked to complete an evaluation

form following the final session and

submit it to the Co-ordinator. They are

asked to provide high-level feedback

on the process and the relationship,

they are not asked about the content

of the meetings. Mentors are invited to

an annual review meeting or to submit

feedback in writing in advance of the


Six Years of Success

The feedback over the last six years

has been overwhelmingly positive and

indicates the value of the Scheme.

Feedback from mentees indicates

that the Scheme makes an important

contribution to the individuals

being mentored in three areas – the

importance of the relationship with the

mentor, the expertise of the mentor

to support their development in their

role; the benefit to the mentee’s

organisation. Some mentees realised

they needed more support from their

board or needed to influence the makeup

of the board to ensure the skill set

required for good governance. Others

had staffing issues which they did not

want to bring to the attention of the

board. They found it very helpful to

have someone neutral to speak with

who was not linked to either the board

or the staff and who could be objective.

Mentoring provided an opportunity

to explore strengths, weaknesses and

ambitions in confidence; was a source

of challenge to assumptions about

the job and how it should be done;

enabled growth in self-confidence and

self-awareness; was a sounding board

66 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

for new ideas and approaches, before

presenting them to the Board or the

staff; provided the chance to learn from

someone else’s mistakes; and provided

insights into the politics and decisionmaking

processes and structures in other

organisations. Mentees commented on

the confidential support in a trusting

atmosphere, feeling empowered, having

the space to think “outside the box” to

discuss issues that can arise between

boards and CEOs, the benefit of having

open and challenging discussions, the

experience of the coach, of the “wise

non-intrusive response”.

Challenges for mentees include

allocating time and energy to the

Scheme, exposing themselves to

critique; taking the risk to try out new

ways of thinking and working.

In addition to supporting mentees

to do their work more effectively,

some mentors commented on the

expertise being of direct benefit to

the mentee’s organisation (in many of

these cases, the boards were aware of

the mentoring programme and in some

engaged with the process to review

how they operated as a board). Many

mentors were surprised at the lack

of governance skills at board level in

some organisations. In some cases

they supported the mentee to bring

new people with greater governance

skills onto their boards or to move

their boards’ focus from operational to

strategic issues.

Clutterbuck notes that “The golden

rule seems to be to have a relatively

formal structure for the programme, but

as much informality as possible within

the relationship.” This is one of the key

successes of the Carmichael scheme,

with a formal process (application,

rounds of mentoring, documentation)

and an informal and flexible relationship

between mentees and mentees.

The Scheme is increasing executive

capacity within the sector, albeit on

a relatively small basis, by providing

an opportunity for learning and

development for the leaders, the

organisations they work in and the

organisations that mentees may

move to in the future. The Carmichael

Mentor Scheme is dependent on the

commitment of mentees to engage

in the Scheme and is indebted to

the goodwill of mentors to make the

Scheme possible and to providing this

invaluable service.

If you would like to join the

Scheme as a mentor, please

contact Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí,

Chief Executive, Carmichael,

North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7.

Tel 01-8735702.

Adrienne Collins

Adrienne Collins is a Social Policy & Research Executive with the Citizens Information Board. She has also worked in the HR & Governance and

Training teams in CIB. She worked previously for Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups, Irish Council for Overseas Students and Co-operation

North. Adrienne has sat on boards of Irish Refugee Council and Voluntary Service International. She has done short term voluntary work in India,

Sri Lanka and Ghana and performed a range of other volunteer roles. Adrienne has a Degree in Economic & Social Studies, a Master of Equality

Studies, an Advanced Diploma in Personal & Executive Coaching, a Certificate in Corporate Governance for Not For Profit Organisations and an

Advanced Facilitation Skills certificate.

About Mentoring

According to Clutterbuck, good mentors mix challenge and stimulation with empathy and concern.

Mentors need a range of skills, the most important one being to be an active listener. Others include

coaching, being a critical friend, a role model, providing a “guiding” rather than a “doing” hand. The

mentor’s role is to share their knowledge, to listen and provide context to issues and problems, to act

as a sounding board, to aid in exploring consequences of potential decisions, to provide information

and also feedback, to facilitate self-discovery, to challenge, to encourage exploring new ideas.

The programme works best where the coachability of the mentee is high – where they are committed

and motivated to improve and/or change. Mentors engage in asking provoking or powerful questions

to create movement in the way the mentee thinks.


25th Annual EMCC Conference - Dublin 2019










68 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Mentoring Irish Rugby

Players for Life After Rugby

What happens when your sporting career ends in your 30s? In this article, Master

Coach Paula King describes the unique relationship between, IRUPA, the Irish

Rugby Union Players’ Association and the Institute of Directors (IOD) and the

partnership they created to launch their Business Mentoring Programme.

This article describes the unique

relationship between, IRUPA, the Irish

Rugby Union Players’ Association and

the Institute of Directors (IOD) and the

partnership they created to launch their

Business Mentoring Programme.

IRUPA was founded in 2001 to help to

promote and protect its members both

during and after their careers. It first began

offering services in the area of player

development with the appointment of

a Player Services Advisor in 2008. Today

the association runs a nationwide Player

Development Programme and has five

Player Development Managers (PDMs)

around the country, facilitating player

development at all levels. IRUPA is the

collective voice of players on all issues and

through its Executive Board it advocates

for player welfare within the Irish Rugby

Football Union (IRFU). Its members are

supported across a range of issues, from

contract disputes to career development.

The mentoring system launched with the

IoD is one example of IRUPA aiming to help

further in the development of all young

men and women playing professional

rugby in Ireland.

The IoD is the representative body

for over 2,300 directors and senior

executives within the private and public

sectors in Ireland. From chief executives,

managing directors and senior executives

to board members and chairpersons, the

IoD membership covers the breadth of

industry, ranging from start-up companies,

SMEs and not-for-profit organisations


…many studies

have described

the vulnerability

attached to

athletes during this

process and how

this vulnerability

adds to the

transitional stress.

to large companies, multinational

corporations and public-sector bodies.

Creating this unique link through the

mentoring programme enabled talented

rugby players to be partnered with

talented business people.

Prior to the announcement of the launch,

the foundations were put in place for

the programme, commencing with an

invitation to IoD members to respond

to a request to partake in this mentoring

initiative. An overwhelming response

was received from the members and,

throughout that summer, the IoD worked

in conjunction with IRUPA to develop

panels of mentors who could offer a

wide range of skills and experience

which players could access. The role of the

IoD mentors was to assist players in postplaying

career planning, the setting of nonrugby-related

goals, including educational

and personal development, and facilitate

industry-specific experience. The role of

the mentor was also seen as one of advice,

support, encouragement and networking

opportunities and introductions. For players

at these levels, the focus is always about

preparation, and this initiative was an

opportunity for them to apply the same

approach in developing their off-field

careers. Mentors and players were matched

based on a range of factors, including

common interests, educational background,

professional interests, skills and geographical

proximity, with players in each province

taking a ‘hands-on’ approach to selecting a

suitable mentor.

Nearly 100 mentors were assigned to the

initiative from the IoD, with the aspiration

that 60 players would be involved in the


Reason for embarking on the mentoring


Drawing together research which has been

carried out into the transition for a top

athlete from his or her sport to a career which

will provide them with both the financial

security and a fulfilled life, many studies

have described the vulnerability attached

to athletes during this process and how this

vulnerability adds to the transitional stress.

Research recognises the dedication it takes

to achieve and maintain professionalism or

elite standards, but this may come at a cost

(Pearson and Petitpas, 1990). The narrowing

of focus may alter the developmental

perspective and inhibit certain life skills

and life experiences, which would be of

assistance in career planning and personal

planning (Blann, 1985; Pearson and Petitpas,

1990; Sowa and Gressard, 1983).

Other studies have shown that there is

a reduced level of career maturity in top

athletes. A potential explanation for this

reduced level may be found by examining

developmental theory. As individuals

reach late adolescence, they are faced

with the task of establishing their personal

identity (Chickering, 1969; Erikson, 1959).

As explained by Marcia et al. (1993),

identity development necessitates an

active exploration of possible roles and

behaviours, followed by a commitment to

the occupational and ideological options

that are most consistent with an individual’s

values, needs, interests and skills. It has

been proposed that the commitment and

exclusive dedication necessary to excel in

sport may restrict athletes’ opportunities to

engage in exploratory behaviour (Chartrand

and Lent, 1987; Pearson and Petitpas, 1990),

which is critical for subsequent personal and

career-identity development (Super, 1957).

Individuals who make commitments to roles

without engaging in exploratory behaviour

are said to be in a state of identity foreclosure

(Marcia et al., 1993).

Foreclosure may be brought on by

the demands and expectations of the

environment or may be a result of

individual choice (Danish et al., 2004).

In college undergraduates, identity

foreclosure has also been associated

with a dependent decision-making style,

in which responsibility for important

decisions (e.g. career choices) is deferred

to others (Blustein and Phillips, 1990).

Several authors have suggested that the

physical and psychological demands of

intercollegiate athletics, coupled with the

restrictiveness of the athletic system, may

isolate athletes from mainstream college

activities, restrict their opportunities

for exploratory behaviour and promote

identity foreclosure (Chartrand and

Lent, 1987; Nelson, 1983; Petitpas and

Champagne, 1988). Consistent with these

findings and the theoretical propositions

of Jordaan (1963) and Super (1957),

research has shown that many athletes

have restricted career and educational

plans (Blann, 1985; Kennedy and Dimick,

1987; Sowa and Gressard, 1983). In

70 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

addition to identity foreclosure, another

aspect of self-identity, athletic identity,

may be relevant to the career decisionmaking

process in athletes. Part of

multidimensional self-concept, athletic

identity consists of the cognitive, affective,

behavioural and social concomitants of

identifying with the athlete role (Brewer et

al., 1993). It has been suggested that many

athletes either lack the time or interest to

do career planning or view it as a threat to

their athletic identity and their dream of

being a professional athlete (Kennedy and

Dimick, 1987).

Taking the above research into account, it

has been hypothesized that individuals

with a strong and exclusive commitment

to the athlete role are less prepared for

post-sport careers than individuals less

invested in the athlete role (Baillie and

Danish, 1992; Pearson and Petitpas,

1990). In support of this argument, athletic

identity has been inversely related to postsport

career planning before retirement

from elite amateur sport (Lavallee et al.,

1997) and ease of adjustment following

sport-career termination (Hinitz, 1989;

Lavallee et al., 1997).

However, we cannot ignore the many

positive aspects of athletic identity and

the many skills that players learn while

they are playing that could be transferred

to business.

role, with little exploration of alternative

identities, can be associated with negative

outcomes (Brewer et al., 1993; Coakley,

1993; Miller and Kerr, 2003).

The sport-business-mentoring relationship

can be beneficial to both parties, as players

have usually developed sports-based life

skills that can be transferred to the business

world. Gould and Carson (2008) defined

sport-based life skills as ‘those internal

personal assets, characteristics and skills

such as goal setting, emotional control,

self-esteem, and hard work ethic that can

be facilitated or developed in sport and are

transferred for use in non-sport settings’

(p. 60). These life skills can be behavioural

(communicating effectively with peers and

adults) or cognitive (making effective decisions);

interpersonal (being assertive) or intrapersonal

(setting goals) (Danish et al., 2004).

The inspiration behind this initiative

was, therefore, that while these skills

are transferable, players may not always

be confident in their ability to transfer

them. Having a mentor to help them

identify the skills that they have and how

these are applied in the business world

would therefore be beneficial. Having

access to a mentor whom the athlete

respects provides a fresh perspective and

encourages future career planning.

Approach and methodology

Core principles

Confidentiality – all issues discussed

between mentor and player are


Guidance – mentors will offer advice

and guidance and assist with selfdevelopment.

Post-rugby planning – the relationship

should concern itself with non-rugbyrelated

issues and focus on helping a

player ready themselves for their postrugby

career. This should include advice

and assistance with work placement

opportunities, possible educational

opportunities, advice on obtaining a

work–life balance and development

of skills such as leadership or public


Goal setting – mentors will help players

set non-rugby-related goals, including

educational and personal development,

lifestyle and family. Goals will be shared

with the mentor and reviewed on an

ongoing basis.

Mutual challenge and learning – there

should be mutual benefit for both

parties in the mentoring relationship, in

terms of exchanging ideas, creating and

establishing goals and developing selfawareness.

High athletic identity, while associated

with restricted personal development, can

lead to positive experiences for athletes

(Sparkes, 1998). It is highly correlated with

athletic performance, higher commitment

in training and a focus on sporting goals

(Callero, 1985; Horton and Mack, 2000).

It has also been linked to high levels of

self-confidence, positive self-image and

healthy lifestyle habits (Callero, 1985;

Horton and Mack, 2000). A strong athletic

identity does not necessarily mean that

an athlete will not be able to develop

successfully in other areas outside of

sport, but solely emphasizing the athlete

Following the appointment of the 100 mentors

to the mentoring programme, the IoD

and IRUPA issued guidelines outlining the

vision for the programme, including:

1. Core principles of the mentoring


2. Mentoring guidelines

3. What players should expect

4. Key contacts for the programme

5. FAQs.

Person focused – academy players often

need to juggle their rugby lives with

college responsibilities. This programme

will take this into consideration and

the programme timings will be tailored


Mentoring guidelines

The following guidelines were issued to

all mentors and players:

• Once matched with a player, mentors

should take the initiative at the start and

make initial contact with their player.


• If at any stage throughout the course

of the mentoring relationship,

a player fails to get back in

contact with their mentor after

two attempts, the mentor should

advise their regional IoD mentoring

representative, who will contact

IRUPA. Having been contacted by

IRUPA, if the player still fails to make

contact, they may be removed from

the mentoring programme.

• Mentors and players should aim to

meet 3–4 times a year.

should agree on all aspects together.

> Mentors and players should tell

each other their initial expectations –

expectations may be realis- tic or may

need to be re-focused.

> Mentors and players should agree on

procedures and goals for the relationship

in general going forward.

> Mentors and players should agree

on the role and responsibilities of the


What players were advised to expect

• Mentoring can assist players to set

and clarify goals, keep them focused

while working to achieve those

goals and provide advice, support

and encouragement.

• Players should discuss aims and

goals, find out their strengths and

weaknesses and get advice on areas

they need to improve upon. Players

should not expect their mentor to

help with all problems.

• Ideally, the initial meeting and at

least one meeting a year should be


• An agenda should be set for each

meeting, with follow-up at every

subsequent meeting.

> Mentors and players should agree

on the role and responsibilities of the


> Mentors and players should agree on

how many meetings they will have – and

when, where and how long?

• The success of a mentoring

relationship will depend, to a large

degree, upon the player’s attitude

and commitment. Players are

expected to be proactive and work

with their mentor in order to achieve


• Each mentoring relationship is

unique and a flexible approach must

be taken in each case. However,

mentors should be willing to share

their own insights and experiences,

to encourage and support players to

build connections and, if pos- sible,

to facilitate opportunities to gain

industry experience during or after

their playing career.

A mentor should:

• Ask questions and challenge

• Suggest networking opportunities

• Boost confidence and encourage

• Offer advice, but the decision to act

on it will be for the player

• Nudge, not nag.

> While the initial meeting should be

about getting to know each other, it

should also set out how the relationship

will operate, and the mentor and player

> Mentors and players should exchange

contact details and determine an

appropriate level of contact outside of

face-to-face meetings.

> Mentors and players should agree

on any prepa- ration needed by both

the player and mentor in advance of


> As early as possible, the mentor and

player should set out goals and a plan of

action for the player.

> Subsequent meetings should assess

progress towards goals, re-assess goals

and add new goals, as required.

There was a recognition that, in some

instances, mentors might feel they

personally were not able to assist a

player in a particular area. In this case

they were encouraged to continue to

act as a mentor while introducing the

player to other people who could offer

assistance. However, such introductions

should only be made having consulted

with the player.

• The mentor should assist the player

to assess career options post-rugby

and to formulate plans.

• The player should make the

decisions and take the responsibility.

The sport-businessmentoring

relationship can

be beneficial to

both parties, as

players have usually

developed sportsbased

life skills that

can be transferred to

the business world.

72 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

• Players are encouraged to focus

on what they want to achieve and

on how to do so. Mentoring is not

the same as counselling; players

shouldn’t expect a shoulder to cry on.

• Mentoring relationships cannot

answer or solve all questions or

issues for a player. It is important that

the player is realistic about what can

be achieved; this is why setting goals

at the outset is so important.

Key learning outcomes

Supply versus demand. One of the

key challenges since the mentoring

programme was established has been

managing supply versus demand.

When the IoD sought expressions of

interest from its members to join the

mentoring programme, it was heavily

oversubscribed in all provinces. A

broad mix of skills, expertise and

backgrounds was created on provincial

panels in order to meet the needs of a

diverse player base. Once three panels

were established – approximately

90 IoD members in total – supplyversus-demand

issues continued, as

the mentors involved outnumbered


Managing expectations. One of the

key challenges in the process has

been managing expectations on both

sides. From a mentor perspective, all

have been enthusiastic and keen to

get involved; however, as outlined

below, not all players are ready

for a formal/ structured mentoring

relationship. Facilitating networking

and connections between players and

mentors has been far more beneficial

and has enabled relationships to form

organically. Expectations were perhaps

overly ambitious at the outset, and

through trial and error the programme

is finding the right balance to create

fruitful and worthwhile interactions

between players and mentors.

Real need. Unless there is a real need

from a player for a mentor, the player will

disengage. Networking events, where

players and prospective mentors mingle,

tend to result in a better introduction

to the concept of mentoring; pairings

cannot necessarily be forced.

Scheduling. As the players train

practically daily, and mentors generally

work full-time in business, making time

to meet can be challenging, especially

for national-level players and extremely

busy or self-employed/ entrepreneurial


Time. It takes time to build a relationship.

Players may not immediately appreciate

the time and attention that the mentor

has given to the process.

Lack of understanding/clarity. Some

players have suggested that they are unsure

of what is expected of them in a mentoring

relationship. They have a sense that it is good

for their off-field development but don’t

really know why. Often the players meet a

mentor once or twice but then the process

stalls as both player and mentor waited for

the other to get in touch.

Future career. Some players have an idea of

what they want to do, but most don’t have

a very clear path in their minds, so they are

reluctant to engage with a mentor as they

feel they might be wasting the mentor’s time.

Possible over management. There may have

been a perception that there was a greater need

from players – and a less formalized approach,

where a player comes with a specific need or

question, or perhaps is looking for some work

experience or internship, has fostered better

engagement between players and mentors.

There needs to be understanding by mentors,

too, i.e. although they have signed up and

are ready to devote their time to becoming

mentors, they may not be called upon (as there

is only a limited number of players) and that this

is no reflection on their experience, qualification

or skill set.

Case studies

Player 1 experience

I suppose some of the challenges for

athletes is obviously the serious injuries

that you as a player can receive in the

game. Also I think knowing and trying

to figure out what you are going to do

after rugby is also a challenge for most


My hopes and dreams from a rugby point

of view are to play for Ireland and to

fulfil my full potential as a player before

I retire. Outside rugby it would be to set

up and run a successful business of my

own, be happy and enjoy life.

The fact that I know I will succeed and

get to where I want to go in rugby and

in life if I always work hard enough for

it. And also I believe the set-backs you

receive make you stronger for it.

I believe it’s very important not just to

meet new business people who might

be handy to know in the future but also

it gives you the confidence of how to act

in a real job later in life. Also gets rugby


players out of their comfort zone and

into a realisation of the real world a little,

prepares them for after rugby more.

This mentoring really made me

appreciate what I do for a living as I saw

what it was like to be sat inside an office

all day! Helped hugely to keep me very

busy during a tough time of injury and

also makes you have another type of

discipline in your life which is good.

high performance is that it requires a

complete commitment and dedication

to train and compete at the highest level.

In such a drive to fulfil one’s potential,

other aspects of life such as career

development, social commitments and

non-sporting interests can often be

put ‘on the back burner’. The challenge

for athletes is to manage performance

influencing factors while maintaining

and developing themselves in aspects

of their lives other than sport, as well as

planning for the future.

My own hopes and dreams are to live

a happy and meaningful life! To enjoy

time with people who are important to

me and to pursue different challenges in

order to get the best out of life!

I believe on some level that I can

overcome difficulty, and I tend to have

quite good perspective – failure or

disappointment in the sporting arena is

small stuff compared to so many people

who have genuine difficulties to deal

with in their lives. It’s sort of a challenge

within myself to see how much I can

extend myself I guess. Having a great

support network is key, and also looking

for inspiration everywhere to keep your

own will fueled.

potential in other areas of life, and in

doing so prepare them for life after sport.

A mentoring relationship can give the

mentee invaluable insight, knowledge

and perspective that they otherwise

would not get. It can also provide them

with opportunities to try new things or

develop new skills.

The value my mentoring relationship has

had is that I have had a space to discover,

to be me, to have a thinking partner who

knows what the business I would like to

get in to is like, and also who has come

to understand my strengths and how I

could plug them in to the world. I have

been able to appreciate the value of my

sporting experience and how I can use

that now, and in the future. I have had

the opportunity to learn from you and

with you, and you have given me the

chance to trial and give things a go, with

support and feedback. Mostly you have

been there to serve me out of your own

good will.

This has been the cornerstone of what

I feel is a very good relationship. I feel

I have developed as a whole person, in

knowledge, skill, understanding, I am

awake to possibilities, I am far more than

just a sportsperson.

Player 2 experience

Challenges for top athletes:

Elite or professional sport will rarely

be a lifelong career. The nature of

Sports people tend to be so invested

in their career that their identity is

completely built around them as a

sportsperson. A mentor can help to

develop the athlete as a whole person

and help and guide them to fulfil their

This article was originally written by Paula

King for the Sage Handbook of Mentoring”

Paula King

Director of Kingstown College, Paula is a psychologist and leadership coach. She is registered with the British Psychological Society (BPS) on

the Register of Competence in Psychological Testing. She is a member of the Society for Coaching Psychology. Paula holds an MSc in Coaching

and Organisational Development from Portsmouth University and is Past President of the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (EMCC)

Ireland. She is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and Master Practitioner Level with EMCC.

Paula has received the prestigious ‘Best Global Coaching Leaders’ Award which was presented to her in Mumbai in February 2017 and is the

first Executive Coach in Ireland to have received this international recognition. Paula is also a recipient of the EMCC European Coach of the Year


74 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Case Study: Leadership and

Management Development

within an Garda Síochána

Oliver Nally takes us behind the scenes for an indepth look at the leadership and

management development in the police force of the Republic of Ireland, and how

coaching and mentoring are used within the organisation.

“We have yet to find a company

that can’t benefit from more candour,

less denial, richer communication,

conscious development

of talent and disciplined leaders,

who show compassion for people”

(Sherman and Freas 2004 p90 in

Clutterbuck and Megginson p 19).

The Garda Síochána Leadership &

Management Development (L.M.D.)

section is based in the Garda College,

Templemore, Co. Tipperary. It is headed

by a Superintendent, along with an

Inspector, four Sergeants, one Executive

Officer, one Clerical Officer and one

Temporary Clerical Officer who make

up the team. The remit of the section

is to develop, deliver and facilitate the

leadership and development training

for newly promoted personnel from

Sergeant/Executive Officer to Chief

Superintendent/Principal Officer to

ensure their personal development as

they transition into their new role.

Currently the section has responsibility

for the development of in excess of

seven hundred recently promoted

personnel going through their

development programmes.

To facilitate these programmes L.M.D.

Sergeants are qualified in areas of

Executive Coaching & Mentoring,

training and education, quality

management, Supervisory and

Leadership GRID®, MBTI psychometric

tool, 16PF, Emotional Capital Report

3600, Synergogy training, Emotional

Intelligence (EI) and BarOn Emotional

Quotient Inventory EQ-i.

Leadership & Management

Development Sections Role

The work of the Leadership &

Management Development Section is

underpinned within an Garda Síochána

Mission and Strategy 2019-2021 where

it states in Section 5, Our People – Our

Greatest Asset

• An Garda Síochána will develop our

leadership capacity and provide

strong visible leadership and

• Develop a learning culture,

underpinned by honesty, integrity,

openness and a respect for


The L.M.D. role is to develop and facilitate

a series of learning interventions

to meet the specific personal and

professional developmental needs

of the newly-promoted individual.

These development programmes are

a partnership between the newly

promoted individual, their manager,

their nominated mentor and the L.M.D.

section and are based firmly on human

rights principles and the Garda Síochána

Code of Ethics.

All development programmes

incorporate a series of modular

learning interventions to meet the

specific personal and professional

developmental needs of the individual.

These training

interventions give

individuals a safe

psychological space

in which to reflect,

verbalise and explore

challenges and issues

which help them

grow as managers

and leaders in our



These programmes build on the existing

levels of knowledge, skills and expertise

of the participants and provide the

scope for further development to

meet the managerial responsibilities

and challenges of managers in An

Garda Síochána. The key pillar of

these programmes is that they are

operationally focused.

The L.M.D. section supports the

participant in making connections

between their rank/grade competencies,

in assessing their skills gaps and in

the completion of their personal

development plan to encourage

reflection and growth. The section

actively encourages newly promoted

individuals to accept responsibility for

their own learning and development.

Each programme also incorporates

mentoring and in the facilitation of

a psychometric tool to increase selfawareness.

The development tools

utilised per rank/grade as follows -

• Sergeants/Executive Officers –

Myers Briggs Type Indicator

• Inspectors/Higher Executive

Officers – 16PF Personality Test

• Superintendents/Assistant

Principles – E.C.R 360

• Chief Superintendents/Principle

Officers – E.C.R. 360.

Mentoring & Coaching within an Garda


There is a distinction between coaching

and mentoring. The K.P.M.G. case study

in Memon et al p. 137 is simplifies this


“A Coach helps a person develop

their own approach to something.

A Mentor shares experiences and


The Leadership & Management

Development Section within an

Garda Síochána has been facilitating

mentoring relationships for over 10

years on all development programmes.

It is seen as an essential and beneficial

constituent part of these programmes

and which now has become the “cultural


The Mentoring aspect of the

development programmes have the

following objectives –

• To provide practical support and

guidance in order for the mentor/

mentee to commence their role in

a positive and constructive manner.

76 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

• To clarify the role of the mentor/


• To ensure that mentors/mentees

have a good understanding of the

mentoring process.

• To explore the skills required to be

a successful mentor/mentee.

• To answer any questions that the

mentor/mentee might have.

To ensure that the mentoring aspect of

the development programmes are met,

the mentors are invited to attend the

development programmes where their

roles and responsibilities regarding the

mentoring relationship are explained.

The positive and negative experiences

of mentoring are shared within the

group and the confidential contract is

then introduced which the mentor and

mentee sign.

The initial one hour mentoring sessions

are then facilitated on site. Separate

feedback from the mentors and

mentees is given after the sessions

which has proven hugely positive.

On the Inspectors Development

Programme we have recently

introduced triads in advance of the

mentoring session taking place. These

triads give individuals an opportunity to

discuss real life issues and the following

feedback is a testament as to how well

it has been received -

· “It gives space to solve a problem”.

· “It gets everyone in the mood (Triads

in advance of the mentoring sessions)”.

· “It’s a great start instead of meeting in

a corridor”.

· “Triads are very useful. It’s great to

talk as 90% of what I deal with are I.R.


Coaching within an Garda Síochána

As part of the Inspectors and Higher

Executive Officers Development

Programme the 16PF psychometric is

facilitated. This particular self-reporting

psychometric tool looks at sixteen

separate traits of an individual. After

the report is completed a coaching

session with a qualified member of the

Leadership & Management Section is


As part of the Senior Leadership

Development Programme, Roche Martin’s,

Emotional Capital Report 360 is facilitated.

This psychometric tool is a leadership

development tool that provides people

with a comprehensive interpretation of their

leadership potential based on emotional



• It examines ten different


• Self-knowing

• Self confidence

• Self-Reliance

• Self-Actualization

• Straightfordness

• Relationship skills

• Empathy

• Self-Control

• Adaptability

• Optimism

The person takes the assessment and

rates him/herself accordingly. He/

she then invites direct reports/peers

and their supervisor to take the same

assessment. Each rater is then given

an opportunity to give anonymous

feedback regarding the individual

with whom the assessment is being

facilitated for.

One member from the Leadership &

Management Development Team then

facilitates a Coaching session with this

individual regarding the results of their

E.C.R. 360. As part of their development

programme they are allowed up to

4 extra coaching sessions with an

externally approved coach.

Some anonymous feedback from the

Coaching sessions is as follows-

• Excellent learning opportunity that

opened my mind to alternative

ways of thinking or viewing things

from a different perspective.

• An extremely worthwhile exercise.

Initial misgivings about the

process were unfounded and the

entire exercise was found to be

extremely productive and focused

on outcomes.

• Good in that it provides the leader

with a new way of thinking about

leadership and how a person leads,

human behaviour in the working

environment, the standards and

values that a leader sets him/

herself and how different situations

are approached.

The feedback from coaching sessions

within an Garda Síochána remains

unanimously positive and its continued

provision remains an essential element

of an Garda Síochána’s investment in its



The Leadership and Development

Section is committed to the

development of newly promoted

individuals within an Garda Síochána.

Mentoring and Coaching are a vital

and necessary component of these

development programmes. These

training interventions give individuals

a safe psychological space in which

to reflect, verbalise and explore

challenges and issues which help them

grow as managers and leaders in our



1. An Garda Síochána – Mission & Strategy


2. Making Coaching Work – Creating a

Coaching Culture. CIPD, 2015. David

Clutterbuck & David Megginson.

3. Mentoring an Entrepreneur: Guide for a

Mentor. Sage, 2015. Memon, Rozan, Ismail,

Uddin and Daud.

Oliver Nally

Oliver is a Sergeant with over 20 years’ experience in an Garda Síochána. He is currently based in the Leadership and Management

Development Section in the Garda College, Templemore, Co. Tipperary. An Executive Coach with qualifications in Leadership and Management

he brings a real energy, a sense of lived experience and an encouraging attitude to the possibility of growth in developing the future leaders of

the organisation. He is passionate about people and policing and in empowering the authentic and ethical self to be the best version that you

can be.

He currently is responsible for the Inspectors Development Programme and has inputs on various other development programmes including

the facilitation of coaching sessions. He also is the Garda coordinator of the new Garda Executive Leadership Programme which is due to

commence shortly.

78 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Finding Your Coaching Niche

Alana Kirk is a successful author and coach and she offers some direction for

those who are new to the coaching profession, (or veterans who need to restart

their marketing plan!), on how to make the transition from learner to practitioner.

What does success look like? As coaches,

isn’t this one of the most important

questions we can ask a client? But it’s also

one we need to ask of ourselves too.

For many new graduates of the Kingstown

College coaching courses, building the

skillset of listening and questioning is

front of mind when training in the various

techniques and models. Focus is also

directed towards garnering the experience

of converting theory into practise through

peer and external coaching. But being a

successful coach practitioner doesn’t stop

at skillset and experience: the holy grail

of a successful practice is a calendar full

of clients. Coaching is one thing; running

a business is something else entirely.

Clutching newly acquired diplomas,

staring at a calendar full of blank spaces,

how do graduates leap into the space

from learner to practitioner?

For those with no business experience,

it can be fairly daunting prospecting

for prospects. We know we have to put

ourselves ‘out there’, but ‘out there’ seems

like a very large, unknown space, filled

with experienced practitioners already

providing valuable content on websites,

building client bases from referrals,

testimonials and marketing, and providing

successful services to companies, teams

and individuals.

Coaching is about listening, questions,

and proven models. Running a business?

Doesn’t that mean marketing, branding,

ROI analysis, standing out amidst the

competition, logos, spreadsheets,

budgets, and invoicing systems? And

where does a calendar full of clients come

from? If that’s not the background you

know, where do you start? Well, you start

by coaching yourself.

What does success look like as a coaching

practitioner? If you were to wake up in six

months and have the perfect business,

who would your clients be? There are

two ways to find clients: the ‘dive into

the ocean and hope you can grasp some

slippery fish with your bare hands’ way;

and the ‘sit on a boat with a spear, knowing

exactly which fish you want to catch’ way.

The spear is your niche, and the target fish

are your ideal clients.


By refining the kind

of client you can

best serve - and will

best serve you - you

will give yourself the

greatest opportunity

to develop signature

packages, and bring

your best to the


Knowing what kind of coach you want

to be, and who your ideal clients are

will make so many of the other business

questions easier - the who, the where,

the how and the what to market yourself.

One of the easiest ways to do this is

to cultivate your niche, based on your

own unique offering. What do you bring

to the table along with your coaching

credentials? What authenticity makes

you different from other coaches? What

experiences and background adds to your

own credibility? What style do you deliver

and respond to best? Where do you feel

most energetic and engaged?

From humble beginnings mainly

associated with sports, coaching has risen

to a multi-faceted global activity that spans

a multitude of areas: life, health, wellness,

career, sports, dating, education, business,

executive, leadership, performance, team,

parent, interview, sales … the list goes on.

Which sphere you sit in, depends very

much on your own interests, experience

and skills. Perhaps it would seem sensible

that the broader your arena the more

clients you’ll get, but the more strategic

and focussed you are, the better your

offering will be, and the more likely you’ll

be to attract the ideal client. By refining

the kind of client you can best serve - and

will best serve you - you will give yourself

the greatest opportunity to develop

signature packages, and bring your best

to the experience.

I was lucky that I knew early on exactly

what type of coaching I wanted to do,

and who my ideal client base would be.

As a writer and journalist, I’m currently

interested in, and writing a book about,

the issue of mid-age, and how this

generation of women in particular, are

redefining it in a way no other generation

have been able to do before. In just 50

years, we have been given an extra twenty

years of life expectancy, but rather than

them being added to the end of our lives,

they are being experienced in the middle.

The signposts that most of us have been

encouraged to follow - education, career,

partner, mortgage, kids - suddenly run

out, but old age is still decades away.

Women (and men) are often left in a

place of change and uncertainty, but also

unprecedented opportunity, and from my

own life experiences and coaching skills,

this is where I feel I can make the biggest

impact. I want to help women learn to live

intentionally, and to find the potential this

time of life holds for them, often during

great change. So I’ve taken life and career

coaching and niched it down to ‘midlife

coaching for women’. That’s where I sit

on the sphere of coaching opportunities;

those are the clients I want, because they

are the clients I will serve the best.

Finding yours is the important first step

in deciding how to start practising. Mastin

Kipp, the American trauma coach and

best-selling author of Claim You Power,

highlights how important it is to pursue

the ideal client, what he calls the ‘allin

client’ - one who is invested in the

process, and self-motivated. Not only

will you be able to target your marketing

better, you’ll be more confident, you’ll

work more efficiently and ultimately

be more successful and likely get more


What are you selling?

So once we’ve decided who we are talking

to, we then have to decide what to say. Part

of being a practitioner is knowing what

you’re selling. (Hint: it’s not coaching!).

It’s important to remember, we are not

selling the process; we are selling the

outcome of coaching. Clients don’t care

about the frameworks, or the dynamics of

our fabulously logo’d models. They care

that we will help them out of a rut, or see

what their purpose is and navigate how

to get there. There aren’t many people

out there who go to bed at night worrying

about how SMART their goals are. I’ve

yet to meet someone wring their hands

and ask me what are the seven steps to

success. They’ll be worrying about real

and important personal and professional

problems - the boss they can’t get on with,

the money that just won’t stretch, the

promotion they can’t seem to get, the selfesteem

they can’t find, the confidence

they just need to start over.

As practitioners, we know coaching works.

We know we can make a real and lasting

difference to people’s lives. That’s what

they need to hear; what will they be able

to do / have / be once the coaching work

is done. Listening to the language our

clients and the people we have coached

to date use, then translating what we do

into what it does for them will be our

marketing message.

So, knowing our client and message, it’s

time to get on with the business of starting

the business. Another important lesson I

learned from my own life, reinforced by

Kipp’s advice to coaching practitioners, is

that there is never a perfect time to start,

in this case setting up our businesses.

Well, there is actually; it’s now.

I consider myself a ‘recovering

perfectionist’ which means I’m no longer

80 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

I’m no longer held back

by that crippling belief

that everything - in

this case, beginning

my coaching practise -

has to be exactly right

before I begin.

held back by that crippling belief that

everything - in this case, beginning my

coaching practise - has to be exactly right

before I begin. I’m setting up a business,

not launching astronauts into space -

that actually does require a certain level

of perfect precision. With coaching, it’s

better to have a website we can change

and improve over time, than no website

at all. It’s better to get moving, than stand

frozen in decision-making over the colour

of our logo; we can coach without one.

Starting our business / practise / career

/ freelance side-job is not a moment in

time, but rather an on-going process that

will constantly change, adapt and grow as

it develops.

Some things may work, others might not,

and things may need fine-tuning as we get

experience. Taking a ‘trial and correction’

approach rather than a ‘trial and error’

approach, means we can get going and

start our coaching career from where we

are now, rather than a perfect point in

the future when all the stars are aligned

(because they rarely are.)

We don’t look at a toddler who can’t walk

on the first attempt as a failure. We see it

as a naturally progressing work in progress

and offer constant support

and encouragement. As coaches, we know

from goal setting that identifying what we

want, helps us design the path to get there.

We need to also remember, that the path

is also full of valuable lessons. Apparently

99% of the time planes are in the air, they

are off course. Yet the pilots know their

destination and their job is to constantly

course correct to get there, adapting to

weather, air currents, and flight paths.

As founder of Amazon Reid Hoffman

famously cites, “If you aren’t embarrassed

by the first version of your product, you

shipped too late.”

The point is, just begin. Now. As you

are. You’ll never be ‘ready’ but making

mistakes and learning from them, being

proactive in your success rather than

reactive means you’ll get there sooner. As

coaches we know how easily we can be

limited by beliefs that aren’t necessarily

true - as practitioners we need to identify

them in ourselves, and work to overcome

them. One of the benefits of becoming a

coach through a supported programme

like Kingstown College, is that there is

no shortage of mentors, teachers and

peers to help coach you on your coaching

business journey.

So go, grasp your new certification and

begin. Coach and make a difference

to people’s lives. As Mary Kay Ash, a

revolutionary and iconic businesswoman

said, “If you think you can, you can. And if

you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Alana Kirk

Alana Kirk works words for a living, as a campaign writer for the non-profit sector, as a journalist, and as a coach. Her bestselling memoir, The

Sandwich Years dealt with love, loss, dying and living. Her curiosity for people’s lives, and helping to tell their story has been the cornerstone of

her career, from her work with UNICIF in countries such as Iraq and Sierre Leone, and then with Barnardos, to the everyday stories and subjects

she covers as a freelance journalist for the UK and Irish media. She is currently working on her second non-fiction book, The MidLife Manual,

and practises as The MidLife Coach. She lives in Dublin with her three young daughters and a menagerie of animals.


82 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

What makes for Successful


Andreea Artilean Ph.D. writes about her experience as a young coach and explains

how she has successfully used the OK matrix to ensure she enters the

coaching room with the correct mindset to best assist her clients.

Coaching is a creative process that

stimulates our mind and our spirit in

order to get out the best of ourselves.

It is a meaningful conversation that has

the purpose to help individuals achieve

their personal and professional goals,

improve confidence and performance in

all life areas, develop competences and

make changes for a more fulfilling life.

Coaching is transforming lives and

people. More than a process in itself, it

is a “way of being”.

Through coaching, we learn to accept

one another despite our differences, to

be non-judgmental, to actively listen,

to put ourselves in the other’s shoes, to

be in the service of another person and

to offer our support in people’s way to

success. If everybody in this world had

these skills, our life on this planet would

be much better.

But what makes coaching successful?

Apart from a set of skills and ethics

that the coach should have and put

in practice, is it the client that should

commit and cooperate? Or is it about

something else…

Studies in the field are discussing about

the coaching relationship as being the

critical success factor in developing


There is no other relationship like

coaching. How does that happen?

Well, compared with other helping

professions, like therapy, we observe

that the therapist is the expert, the one

that has the knowledge and expertise to

help his patient by offering advice and

knowing what is right for him, while the

patient is often the one that needs to be

fixed/healed. Also, if we compare it to

mentoring, the mentor is the expert, the

Sometimes in our

self-talk we respond


negative to these

questions and then

we start to blame

ourselves and feel

inadequate for the

role, or even worse we

develop the impostor



one that has mastery over one particular

field and the mentee is the one that

needs to learn and grow, looking up to

his mentor as a role model.

The coaching relationship is meant

to be a powerful one characterized

by rapport, trust and support that

makes the client feel safe enough to

take the risks necessary to grow and

change. Unlike other professions, the

coaching relationship is based on an

equal partnership, with the central

assumption that the client is the expert

“each person is unique and whole

and has all the resources and answers

inside”. Acceptance, empathy and

respect are some key ingredients for

any coaching relationship to work and

succeed to “unstuck the stuck”. These

elements were introduced in therapy

and counseling by Carl Rogers (1961),

once with the humanistic thinking

and person-centered approach, and

are considered core competences for

coaches as well in establishing effective

working relationships with their clients.

In this respect, research evidence

indicates that the relationship is a

critical success factor. For instance, in

both therapy and executive coaching,

the quality of the relationship explains

around 30% of the change (Peter

Bluckert, 2005).

Another example to evaluate the

quality of a coaching relationship is

coming from Transactional Analysis.

Frank Ernst developed the OK matrix,

also known as ‘life positions’. As you

will observe, there is an ideal position

which is desirable to take especially in a

coaching relationship, but also in other

interpersonal situations.

• “I’m ok, you are ok” principle sets

the ground for collaboration and

open communication. It means that

we are two unique and complete

persons, healthy and sound, and

we accept each other exactly the

way we are. Nobody needs to be

fixed or rescued.

• “I’m not ok, you are ok” could

appear in the moments when in

front of a certain person we feel

inferior in our competence as

a coach. The other might have

reached a level in his/her career

that we have never done, or his/her

intelligence and competences are

so strong that it makes us think “I’m

not good enough for this”. This is

not a healthy position in coaching,

because apart from making us show

up with low self-esteem, we will

transmit perhaps unconsciously

that the other is superior to us, and

the relationship will be imbalanced.

• I’m ok, you are not ok” is also a

very dangerous position in my

view, because it makes us deviate

from important coaching ethics.

When I see the other as being “not

Ok” there is a high risk to see him

inferior, incomplete, needing to be

fixed or even worse, your ego gets

elevated and you as a coach lapse

into the sin of judging him and his

life decisions because you feel


• “I’m not ok, you are not ok” is

basically explained that we both

need to be fixed, neither of us really

trust oneself or this relationship.

I used to rely a lot on this matrix,

usually to take care of myself as a coach

when I evaluate my performance and

my value. Because we have to admit,

there are times when we ask ourselves,

am I good enough for this client?

Am I able to provide any value in this

session? Will I be able to work with an

executive? Sometimes in our self-talk

we respond automatically negative to

these questions and then we start to

blame ourselves and feel inadequate

for the role, or even worse we develop

the impostor syndrome.

But once we remember this principle,

I’m ok - you are ok, the courage comes

back to us, and we realize we are all

human beings. Also, actively keeping

this principle in my mind helps me very

much in my first sessions with a client.

The first meeting, when you don’t really

know what to expect, you rely on “I’m ok

- you are ok” whatever would happen.

This usually sets a healthy ground for

your relationship to grow further. The

client feels accepted and respected

and from there you can start building

trust. He feels you provide the same

acceptance and respect for yourself

as well and he gets inspired to do the


Based on my experience as a coach, I

could say that the relationship has a

crucial role in the coaching effectiveness.

I am a young coach and let’s admit, this

is usually seen as a disadvantage. I had

my first executive coaching sessions at

around 28 years old. Even though I saw

it as a great achievement in my career

that I was enthusiastic about, I have to

admit that I had big concerns knowing

that I would meet managers at 50 plus

years old, with 15 plus years of working

experience. When I found out who my

first client was, my first thought was

“Oh, this person is a ‘dinosaur’. He

is so brilliant and has so much more

work experience than I do. He needs a

more experienced coach”. Looking at

the OK Matrix, practically my thoughts

were “You are ok, I’m not ok”. Because

I studied psychology and coaching a lot,

I knew that this type of thinking is not

going to work. So I started to cultivate a

positive self-talk in order to reframe “I’m

not ok” into “I’m ok”. I remembered that

coaching is not about who is the most

intelligent or has more life experience

in the room (even though it seemed

hard to believe even in myself). It is

84 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

about putting my coaching skills in the

service of another who can benefit from

the process that I’m able to initiate and


So, how I prepared myself for these

meetings was exactly in this way,

remembering the principle “I’m ok,

you are ok” and get on with it. I know

my skills, I’m a professional coach and

I trust my practice. You are a manager,

you have your own skills (different than

mine) and you are the expert of your

life. I’m here to offer you my support,

to help you to become better in what

you do. Let’s see how we can make this


So, I embodied this attitude and

walked my self-talk, being careful to be

authentic in the coaching relationship

and having in mind that the relationship

might be the key ingredient for our

coaching success, and indeed it was.

Finally, I think there are lot of

implications of this for our practice

as coaches. Because what a client will

remember of a great coach, would

be less about the techniques and

psychological approaches he used, but

about who was the coach as a person,

the warmth and the feeling that he

transmitted. So, next time when we

coach let’s ask ourselves: ‘‘Have I really

been OK with this client?’’, ‘‘Have I put

him above or below me? Have I hidden

myself yet expected him or her to be

authentic?’’, ‘‘What attitude did I show

up’’? Of course this model helps us in

any inter-personal relationship.

Andreea Artilean Ph.D.

Andreea Artilean is an organizational psychologist and HR consultant in the business sector, delivering training and coaching with managers

and leaders from various companies. She has experience in working with cross-cultural groups and teams, being a trainer and coach for

youth in different European projects. In the last year she has worked in the Council of the European Union in the Human Resources, Staff

Development Unit..


How to become a Life

or Executive Coach

International accreditation should be

the number one priority of anyone

considering a career as a life coach. This

ensures that you are coaching in line

with international best practice within

a quickly progressing profession, and

should be working and studying with

the goal of progressing through the ICF

credentials. International organisations,

governments and individual clients

view those credentials as a mark of

approval and quality.

provides you with a globally recognised

credential which is even more important

as technology allows coaches to engage

clients all over the world.

ICF also accredit Life Coaching Courses

such as the Diplomas offered by

Kingstown College. This is the fast track

to ICF credentials with 160 recognised

The path to professional life or executive training hours.

coaching anywhere in the world will

look like this

Since the 1990s, coaching as a

profession has evolved from a separate

1. Study an accredited Life Coaching

Course like the Advanced Diploma in

Personal, Leadership and Executive


private practice to being a leadership

style within progressive organisations.

Not only does it help to achieve

corporate goals and targets, it also helps

retain talent within the organisation.

2. Build up your coaching hours – even

with pro-bono clients

Life coaching courses explore intriguing

subjects such as resilience, positive

3. Apply for Accredited Certified Coach psychology, emotional intelligence,

status with ICF, or Practitioner with EMCC conflict, values and beliefs. Every client

is different and every coach is different,

4. Continue to learn and develop as a

life coach with Continuing Professional

Development opportunities such as

seminars, conferences and Masterclasses

so often life coaches are not only using

the popular coaching models such

as GROW, they are developing new

models which help their clients resolve

challenges and achieve goals.

About the Coaching Profession

Do you have what it takes to be a Life

The techniques of Life coaching were Coach?

used by people in various disciplines

from sport to business for the last

century, but life coaching really only

became established as a profession in

the 1990s. It was during that time that

the International Coach Federation

was founded, which is now the gold

standard for life coach accreditation

Paula King is the course director of

the Advanced Diploma in Personal,

Leadership and Executive Coaching at

Kingstown College. She is the recipient

of the Global Leadership Coaching

Award and was recently announced

as European Coach of the Year. She

with 30,000 members worldwide. believes that a coach should approach

Anyone considering the profession a session with “the total understanding

that the human being in front of them

has the answer within them”.

But one of the most important skill

taught on life coaching courses is to put

judgement aside. And that is not easy

because as coaches we could approach

an issue with our own pre-determined

beliefs and values –which may not be in

line with those of the client.

“Put aside judgement” advises Paula, “If

we walk in to a room with our clients,

genuinely holding them in unconditional

positive regard we cannot go wrong.”

That said, a coach also needs to

recognise that clients may have

cognitions that are not serving them,

leading to emotions that are disabling

them, leading to actions that are not

assisting them to achieve their goals.

“[As coaches] We work in that space

using all of our tools, our techniques

and professionalism to help clients

achieve their goals and their vision.”

Start your journey to becoming a coach

with Kingstown College!

86 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Artificial Intelligence in

Coaching and the Job


Rapid improvements in technology can be life

changing. For others it is job changing! Christa Ilieva

takes an indepth look at the latest developments

in chatbots and artificial intelligence and how

these technologies are impacting coaching and


What is Artificial Intelligence and

Internet of Things and what would be the

possible impact?

One of the widely used definitions of

Artificial Intelligence (AI), sometimes

called machine intelligence, is intelligence

demonstrated by machines, in contrast

to the natural intelligence displayed by

humans and animals.

AI combines certain specific characteristics

such as: (i) complexity: with machine

In more and

more jobs AI

will perform

better than

humans, without


replacing them…

learning, AI can learn from other AI (ii)

autonomous behaviour: depending on

the application, AI software can reason,

gather knowledge, plan intelligently, learn,

communicate, perceive, and manipulate

objects. (iii) data driven: AI entails data

gathering, data processing and data

analysis; (iv) openness: AI combined

with hardware can create new tangible

products and/or deliver services. However,

AI has for now only a limited capability to

mimic emotions.

The Internet of Things (IoT), is a system

of interrelated computing devices,

mechanical and digital machines, objects,

animals or people that are provided

with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the

ability to transfer data over a network

without requiring human-to-human or

human-to-computer interaction. With IoT

proliferation in daily life, the virtual and

material worlds would merge and every

domain of society will be touched.

AI and IoT bring and will bring many

positive developments, as liberating

people from difficult jobs, shortening

working times and improving health. At

the same time the rapid introduction of

new technologies and AI in all areas of life,

raises also questions:

• What direction will the increasing

autonomy of AI take? AI will act

within its safety limits independently,

autonomously and without


• What will be the impact on human

social relations due to the increased

use of interfaces for human contacts,

in parallel with the shrinking places

of human gathering at the work place


(teleworking), romantic relations

(online dating), friendship (social

networks), free time and going out

(online games and virtual reality),

internet commerce, e-administration,


• What will be the legal personality,

legal rights and obligations given

to AI? What will be the rights and

obligations of AI on the job market,

compared to those of people? Will

AI/robot rights be equal to human


• What will be the impact of AI on the

job market, and what measures are

taken to adapt human workforce to

the forthcoming changes?

AI has already an impact on almost all

segments of the job market (farming,

transports, manufacturing, customer

services, medical care, schools, hotels,

banking and stock exchange). Many concrete

examples can be given about companies

using AI: Uber, Marriot, Bank of America, Pizza

Hut, Nestle, Walmart, Amazon, Tesla, Shiseido,

Adidas, ING, Zara, numerous industries

in China and Japan. In 2018 JP Morgan

introduced software that replaced 360.000

“man hours” with processes that take only

a few seconds. Digital technologies produce

cars, drones, smart homes and even viruses.

In more and more jobs AI will perform better

than humans, without necessarily replacing

them though.

The nature of the remaining jobs will

change considerably, impacting the social

integration of people, who will need to adapt

to new requirements in an increasingly

complex job market.

88 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

According to a study of the University of

Oxford from 2013 (Fey and Osborne),

47% of employment in US will be at risk

by 2034 due to automation.

The McKinsey report from 2018 on the

future of jobs estimates that “Automation

and AI will lift productivity and economic

growth, but millions of people worldwide

may need to switch occupations or

upgrade skills...”. The reports adds that

“We estimate that between 400 million

and 800 million individuals (one fifth of

global work force) could be displaced by

automation and need to find new jobs by

2030 around the world...“. It also says that

“A larger challenge will be ensuring that

workers have the skills and support needed

to transition to new jobs...”, concluding that

“75 million to 375 million may need to

switch occupational categories and learn

new skills.” Unavoidably, such profound

changes on the labour market will start

trickling down to the coaching profession

and coaching clients.

What can the coaching community do in

this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex

and ambiguous) context?

The International Coach Federation

(ICF) defines coaching as “Partnering

with clients in a thought-provoking and

creative process that inspires them to

maximize their personal and professional

potential”. This is completely aligned with

the huge needs that will arise from the

fundamental changes that AI is expected

to produce on the job market.

EMCC and ICF could start a reflexion on

how the coaching profession could adapt

best to these changes and use it as an

opportunity to popularise further the use

of coaching as a tool of transformation and

change adaptation. Moreover, coaches - on

the basis of their closeness to executives

and human resources in companies, but

also to people in all spheres of societycould

give valuable feedback and make

proposals. Industries and governments

could also be included in this reflection

process. The aim of the feedback and

proposals would be to facilitate the

training and integration process of the

clients left behind by the introduction of

AI, reorienting them to new career paths.

One ICF initiative, that had already taken

place was launched by ICF France in

2018 entitled “Will AI be the coach of

tomorrow?“ and it raised the question

on how to link artificial intelligence with

emotional intelligence.

A very important role of the coaching

profession would be to raise awareness

about the importance of this topic, and

the timely and adequate preparation for

these large scale and quick changes, as

the responsibility for the success of this

transformation cannot be left only to

the individual. Coaches can play a very

important proactive role with proposals to

integrate coaching ex-ante in the process

of AI transformation of human societies, in


order to be next to the people in periods

of time when their support will be most


Some new coaching practices

The coaching profession cannot exist

independently from people and coaching

thrives on changes in the world. Some

new coaching approaches and tools in

an AI-transformed human society include

and might include among others:

Coaching and training support based on


• coaching chat-bots and apps. selfimprovement

apps. For example

AIMEE Kronos (Artificial Intelligence

for Managers and Employees),

learning app Qstream;

• conversational interfaces, teaching

assistants, digital tutors

• digital coaching: advantages:

coaching between sessions, easier

connection with clients and improved

accessibility, increase of number of


• augmented coaching tools

• coaching for specific jobs, using

digital simulators

Coaching sessions in different

configurations with the participation of:

• coach, coachee and AI coach;

• coach, coachee, manager, and his AI


• group coaching of human and AI


• coaching of managers who

employ mixed staff (human and

AI employees);executive coaching

on new methods of management;

coaching when the AI is the boss of

human employees?

• coaching AI coaches, AI mentoring;

possibility of an AI coaching another

AI ?

• AI coaching people in the setting of

business and executive coaching.

AI can interact with employees,

managers and human resources,

thanks to access to data AI can

foresee issues that can be resolved

in advance.

New elements in training and

accreditation for coaches:

• guidelines for work with AI coaches

and AI, based on practice in the

working environment

• help elaborate specific coaching

approaches for the huge scale

transition due to AI, including

existential coaching, reorganising of

free time

• including in the coaching curriculum

a chapter on managing technological

transition and adapt accreditation


• contributing to values for AI coaches

• reflection on possible new

definitions of coaching

• coaches contributing to the better

understanding by AI of the social


New coaching approaches:

• coaching assisted by AI to

complement human coaches

• development of entirely new

branches of coaching. For example in

a society where work will no longer

be the anchor of society.

AI coaches could


understand more

quickly the needs

of a coachee

thanks to data.

• help develop coaching strategies, so

that certain skills are not entirely lost

for humans

• new coaching tools to resolve issues

between AI and humans

• new coaching tools to manage

the psychological impact of

mass introduction of AI and

robots; coaching tools to manage

performance stress at work under

productivity pressure and certain

lack of anonymity. Right to forget and

right to forgive?

• coaches could play an important

social role by expressing in confidence

people’s needs in a period of transition

• coaching by AI: AI will have access to

enormous data using a global network

with exhaustive information on

coachees and coaches. How will the

discrepancy in the level of available

information affect coaching between

AI and humans? As AIs are linked to

networks, a human coach should coach

all AI’s simultaneously? AI coaches

could theoretically understand more

quickly the needs of a coachee thanks

to data.

90 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

• developing adapted coaching

approaches for the young people

who are using predominantly AI

interfaces from their early childhood,

with a focus on direct human


• new coaching practices to motivate

and prepare people to participate in

a job interview in competition with an

AI, and in front of an AI panel member

(AI job interviews are already used in

several countries). Despite this there

are biological limits of speed and

volume of information that can be

processed by humans, which cannot

be overcome even by the best

training. Relations on the job market

and between human and AI coaches

will be probably characterised by

cooperation, complementarity and


• millennial managers will turn more

and more to digital coaching and

digital “deputies.”

• coaching on the emotional

interactions between AI and people.

There is already a certain convergence

between humans and the digital

world. On one hand digital interfaces

become more and more user

friendly, but also people are adapting

constantly to new technologies.

Humans attach themselves to AI, but

the “attachment” of AI to people will

remain for the foreseeable future a

pure imitation. For humans emotions

are essential as emotions are behind

motivation and goal setting, which

is the drive of a person’s behaviour.

There is the opinion that emotions

play an important role in coordinating

mind’s sub-programmes. Despite the

entry of AI coaching, the value of

human presence and true empathy

will remain a precious gift which

human coaches can give.

One of the big differences between AI

and human intelligence is the process

of thinking and mind awareness. In

2018, the author of this article visited

the exhibition “Artists robots” in Paris


artistes-robots), and the impression

was that though the artistic works

often approached what human artists

do in terms of techniques and artistic

creativity, the process was different, and

this was reflected in the end result. Artist

robots combined easily in new ways

(there was 20% liberty of expression

given to the artist-robots) all kinds of

artistic elements, which is one of the

essential traits of creativity, On the

other hand exactly this feature of not

having emotional taboos (for example

disintegrating completely a human face

or creating difficult to support sounds

only from algorithms) gave the author

an uneasy feeling of meeting an alien

intelligence. Emotions and emotional

intelligence are based on thousands

years of biological evolution to go in

pair with cognitive intelligence. As the

process affects the end result, it will be

difficult to imagine that an AI coach will

give the same results as a human coach.

The more functions humans delegate to

AI and robots, the more the difference in

process might influence the end results.

Different end results in coaching should not

be a bad thing, as long as they help people to

develop to reach their highest reaching goal.


The doubling every two years of computer

power, data, and funding will bring an

exponential introduction of AI, not to

mention the possibility of quantum

computers joining forces with AI.

Besides the criteria about technical

security, there should be also taken into

account the general impact on people

and society of the mass introduction of

AI. What will be the impact on psychology

and public health of collaboration

between humans and AI?

ICF, EMCC and the coaching community

should proactively contact industries and

respective government authorities so that

the coaching profession be integrated in

this unprecedented transformation of the

job market from the very beginning: by

coaching employees to orient themselves

to new professions, jobs and occupations,

by contributing to training programmes,

by coaching on the new relations between

humans and AI, using the whole palette of

present and future coaching approaches

and tools to help develop the full potential

of people.

Christa Ilieva

Christa Ilieva is economist and holds a Master in International economic relations. She has experience in this field in different environments:

private and public sectors and NGOs in several EU countries. Christa is graduate of the Kingstown college Advanced Diploma in Personal,

Leadership and Executive Coaching and pursues with passion her coaching practice. She has also hosted solo and collective painting

exhibitions. Christa has participated in brainstorming conferences and platforms on the impact of New Technologies and Artificial intelligence

on society.


25th Annual EMCC Conference - Dublin 2019












92 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Is Coaching Good for the Planet?

In recent memory we have seen images of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg make

headlines as she appears to single handedly take on the UN, the US President and

other world leaders to move them to take action on climate change. Can one person

change the world? Jo Sachs-Eldridge considers if coaching could also be making a


In his book, Authentic Happiness,

Martin Seligman, the founder of

Positive Psychology, grapples with

the questions of whether there is any

greater meaning or purpose in his work

or whether ‘..the science of positive

emotion, positive character, and

positive institutions will merely float

on the waves of self-improvement


I too grappled with these same

questions. Is there a greater value in

helping people find their strengths,

believe in themselves, or find another

perspective? And most importantly for

me, having spent many years working

in the field of sustainability is whether

coaching can contribute to creating a

positive, sustainable future for us all?

At the heart of coaching is the belief

that we are all creative, resourceful

and whole, have enormous capacity

for growth, that we strive for personal

authenticity, are all searching

for meaning and purpose and an

understanding of the world and our

role within it.

Therefore regardless of the reasons

people come to coaching or the goals

they want to achieve, can the changes

that happen to an individual as a

result of the coaching process lead

to changes that contribute to a better

world? Could it be that the very tools

and knowledge we gain from the

coaching process are the same tools

and knowledge we need to enable

us to do what’s needed now? As Lucy

Neale describes it in her seminal book

‘Playing for Time’ - ‘As we step into a

new geological age of a four billion

year process on Earth, called the


‘anthropocene’, it is hard to imagine

as humans we are accountable for

reimagining our world on behalf of

ourselves, subsequent generations

and all species’.

In this article I suggest some of the

ways that the process of coaching

could contribute to reimagining and

creating a better world.

Questioning the status quo: The

coaching process can often involve

the questioning of our own beliefs,

particularly self-limiting beliefs such

as ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I can’t

do it’. This questioning of things that

we have believed to be true, perhaps

all of our lives, enables us to look at

everything differently and gives us

the freedom to be able to question

other elements of the world we live in.

Bringing a different perspective to our

accepted truths’ can potentially lead

us all to ask more questions about

the way things are done, locally and

globally. The mantra that ‘this is the

way it has always been and therefore

it always will be so’ no longer needs to

be accepted. The process of coaching

enables us to see there are other

ways of looking at ourselves and

therefore at the world and that change

is possible. A broad perspective, an

ability to ask questions and a belief

in the possibility for change are key to

making changes that will be good for

the planet.

Being more aware: Often we act

on ‘auto pilot’. This ‘auto pilot’ is

very useful as it allows us to handle

complex life situations without

experiencing an overload of mental

processing.However living on ‘auto

pilot’ can also result in us not seeing

what is really happening. The coaching

process allows us to reflect and talk

about our actions or behaviours

which allows for the development of a

deeper understanding of the thoughts

and feelings that underlie them. A

coach can facilitate this by asking

questions to sharpen our attention

and help us to become more aware of

what is happening. Being more aware

The need to

constantly acquire,

the need to have

more, the need to

have the latest, the

biggest, the

detrimental for the


of ourselves can also bring a greater

consciousness of what is happening

out there in our communities and

the world around us. Is it possible

that switching off the ‘auto pilot’ and

switching our awareness back on can

lead to greater appreciation of our

environment and the impacts of our

actions (or inactions)?

94 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Believing in enough: The need to

constantly acquire, the need to have

more, the need to have the latest, the

biggest, the detrimental for

the planet. It has been suggested that

it is our feelings of inadequacy and

unworthiness that leads us to consume

more and more. But those feelings can

change through the coaching process

by enabling people to appreciate all

that they are and all that they already

have – their strengths, their talents,

their relationships, their health – and

to value them above and beyond

anything they could buy. Could this

greater contentment and shift in

values contribute to the consumption

of fewer unnecessary things?

Focusing on the future: An

acknowledgment of the past and

identifying the impact of life

experiences, both positive and

negative, is an important step in the

coaching process; however, what is key

to the coaching process is the focus on

the future – what you want your future

to be, where you want to be, what you

want to be doing with your life, what

will bring you real happiness. With a

growing awareness of the impact of

climate change on our future we are

Many of us believe

nothing we do will

make a difference

while others feel

it is up to them

to save the world.

Neither is true.

increasingly linking thoughts about

our own personal future plans with

thoughts of what the future holds

for the planet. Could our increased

awareness, coupled with the tools

for thinking about the future, bring

us closer to making decisions that

will impact positively not just on our

own future but on the lives of future


Believing we are creative and

unlocking our imagination: At the

heart of coaching is the belief that

we are all creative. Yet so many of

us have stopped believing this and

have blocked our imagination. Rob

Hopkins of Transition Towns has spent

many years exploring the role of

imagination in our future. He argues

that imagination is central to empathy,

to creating better lives, to envisioning

and then enacting a positive future.

In his forthcoming book, ‘From What

Is to What If’, Hopkins asks why

imagination is in decline and what we

might accomplish if we unleash our

collective imagination. Does coaching

have the potential to be part of that

unleashing, firstly by acknowledging

that we are all creative and secondly,

by giving us the ‘permission’, time and

space to explore that creativity and

release our imagination?

Being better connected: ‘No man is an

island’, no matter how much they may

believe themselves to be. According

to Daniel Goleman, author of Social

Intelligence, ‘we are wired to connect’.

The very design of our brain makes

us sociable. We are naturally drawn

to an intimate brain-to-brain linkup

whenever we engage with another

person. We are, without doubt, social

animals and we are also incredibly

reliant on each other for all that we do.

The process of coaching can enable

us to better connect with ourselves,

through a greater understanding

of our thoughts, beliefs, values,

strengths, passions and dreams. This

greater self-understanding can lead to

greater kindness, trust and respect, for


That developing kindness, trust and

respect for ourselves can change the

way we interact with others, shifting

us from jealousy to pride, from anger

to understanding, from competition

to cooperation. Could this sense

of connectedness in turn lead to

decision-making based on the needs

of others, even future others, as well

as ourselves?

Finding our strengths: We are very

unlikely to have any impact if we

are living someone else’s life, or are

working to our weaknesses, or don’t

know what we really even care about.

Once we have developed, through the

coaching process, a greater knowledge

of our strengths and passions will we

find it difficult to not bring our true,

authentic selves to our communities

– whether that be our families, our

workplaces, our town or village or

wider society? And is it possible that,

as social animals, our true selves will

strive for the greater good rather than

an individual goal?

Being empowered: What the planet


needs is action. It needs people to

step up. It needs us to believe we can

have an impact. Many of us believe

nothing we do will make a difference

while others feel it is up to them to

save the world. Neither is true. We

alone cannot save the world, but as

individuals we can all have an impact.

As Helen Keller put it ‘I am only one.

I cannot do everything, but still I can

do something; and because I cannot

do everything, I will not refuse to do

something that I can do’.

Action is at the heart of coaching and

empowering you to identify and take

the steps needed to achieve your

goal, whatever that may be, is a key

part of the process. The question then

is - can the coaching process not only

empower us to act for ourselves but

also empower us to act for the greater


Trusting ourselves: None of us has all

the answers. But coaching differs from

mentoring and other relationships

where you seek advice from a more

knowledgeable, more senior, more

‘successful’ other, because coaching is

built on the premise that each of us

has the best answers for us within us.

Coaching helps us realise that when it

comes to our lives we are the experts,

when it comes to finding our passions,

only we can do that, when it comes to

using our strengths, that’s down to us.

Good coaching gives us the courage to

believe in ourselves. And the courage

to know it’s ok to sometimes try and

fail because that is all part of the

process, part of the learning, part of

getting closer to where we want to

be. The question then is whether that

courage and greater trust in ourselves

is of value to wider society?

I don’t have all the answers to these

questions, and I know that the plural

of anecdote is not data, but I have

seen people come to coaching in

the pursuit of an individual goal and

through the process of questioning

the status quo, becoming more aware,

believing in enough, focusing on the

future, unlocking their imagination,

becoming better connected, finding

their strengths, becoming empowered

and trusting themselves they have

developed projects, goals and

dreams that are not just of benefit to

themselves but are of benefit to wider


So I do believe that coaching is not

only good for us, as individuals, but

it also has the potential to be good

for the planet. And I look forward to

seeing coaching become more readily

available so that more of us can be

part of creating a positive, sustainable

future for ourselves and generations

to come. There is much to do.


Seligman, M. E.P (2002). Authentic

Happiness. Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Neale, L. (2015). Playing for Time: making

art as if the world mattered. Oberon Books


Stelter, R. (2007). Coaching: A process

of personal and social meaning making.

International Coaching Psychology Review.

Vol. 2, No 2. July 2007.

Markway, B (2013). Why do smart caring

people ignore environmental issues.

Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.

Hopkins, R. (2019) From What Is to What

If: Unleashing the power of imagination to

create the future we want. Chelsea Green

Publishing. vi Goleman, D (2007). Social

Intelligence: The new science of human

relationships. Cornerstone.

Jo Sachs-Eldridge

Jo Sachs-Eldridge has a degree in Psychology, a Masters in Sustainability, Planning & Environmental Policy and an Advanced Diploma in

Executive, Personal & Leadership Coaching. Jo has been part of many exciting projects for change in both Wales and Leitrim. She has designed

and led workshops to empower others to bring their strengths to their communities and is currently a member of the team coaching young

people through the Ideas Collective programme, bringing their ideas to change the world to life. Jo is a coach, a change maker, a community

connector and a mum who still believes we can create a positive future for all.

96 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

... a foundational

part of this was

to ‘discover’

people’s potential

and capacity

as opposed

to naming

deficiencies as so

often happens in

this field.

Case Study: Coaching

through Societal Change

in the Disability Sector -

A Journey of Discovery

and Creativity

During our lifetime we have seen, and will continue

to see, a huge shift in how people with a disability

are respected by society. In this new context, Pamela

Mansell looks at how coaching helps to nurture

capability rather than disability.

What happens when we have a

thought? Where do we go to in our

mind’s eye? How to we connect with

this thought? We connect using our

own experience, our own frame of

reference, our own mental imagery.

So when we think of ‘New York’ we

think of when we last visited, what our

memories were, what was of interest

to us. If we have never been to New

York we recall images from many

receptors, travel shows, magazines,

facebook, other people’s stories and

we use this information to deduce

our own thoughts about New York.

When we think about people with

disabilities what happens? Where do

we go to? Are we shrouded in limiting

thoughts and beliefs about what might

be possible? Or are we hopeful that

someone with a disability is offered

the same opportunities in life as the

rest of us?

Unfortunately whilst that might be a

hope within our society, it is certainly

not a reality. We are aware, for some

of us maybe only partly aware, for

some of us acutely aware, that for

many years, and still today, people

with intellectual disabilities have

been kept ‘separate’ from society,

for some institutionalised for many

years, segregated with others who

are the ‘same’ as they are and distant

from the type of life that I know I have

become not only accustomed to, but

that I expect. The type of life that a

person with an intellectual disability

can experience, again some to a

much greater degree than others, can

deny the person true autonomy and

control, meaningful relationships,

opportunities to love and be loved,

to have dignity and respect and to

experience life to its fullest. Whilst

there has been a move away from

describing people in a medicalised

clinical way, we have a long way yet

to travel to become a society that is

inclusive and truly values and accepts

people differences, seeing the person

first and the impact of their disability

second. In 2018, Ireland ratified the

UN Convention on the Right of People

with disabilities, which acknowledges

that people with disabilities have

not had their human rights upheld.

“The purpose of the Convention is to

promote, protect and ensure the full

and equal enjoyment of all human

rights and fundamental freedoms by

all persons with disabilities, and to

promote respect for their inherent

dignity”. (

The structures of our disabilities

services have been designed in such

a way that sees the disability first and

the person second. Institutional care

is still a predominant operating model

of care for people with disabilities

and this model of care is system

centred (managing ‘care’ for people

with disabilities, staffing, funding,

buildings, programmes, managing

how the person spends their time,

where and with whom) and serves

a target population on the basis of

their deficiencies. The sector, given

the implications of the UN Convention


is now in the process of moving on

from this. So why do organisations

need to continue to move beyond

this? If we truly recognize and believe

that people with disabilities have “a

moral claim on the responsibilities

and benefits of citizenship that far

too often go unredeemed” ( O Brien

& Mount 2015), then we must also

recognize that a structured system

which only manages ‘care’ for people

is also unjustly limiting, not only for

people with disabilities, but for their

families, our communities and society

as a whole. So how can we ‘unstuck’

the stuck?

Establishing a coaching culture

within the Disability Sector.

There are many coaching definitions

but ultimately coaching as Sr. John

Whitmore describes it is a way of

being. It is a way of leading, a way of

treating people and a way of thinking.

Coaching is a way of unlocking

people’s potential to maximise

their own performance. My guiding

principle is that inherently we all have

the capacity to learn and grow and we

can maximise our own potential when

we are empowered, with a willingness

to change, to see our own strengths,

values and vision. When I refer to ‘we

all’ I truly mean all of us. All human

beings have this capacity within them.

their own performance and therefore

becoming unstuck, I began to see

what was possible. I began on this

journey of discovery and creativity,

coaching people with disabilities

and their families to uncover their

own capacities, discover their true

potential, imagine a vision for a more

fulfilled life and plan out how they

could then make this happen and with

what resources.

Working daily with people who have

immense resilience to overcome

barriers in their lives, barriers that I

am sure many of us may have fallen

at, continued to ignite my passion for

coaching with people in this way. Their

lives became unrecognisable from the

beginning of their journey and their

possibilities and opportunities soared.

Having trained as a therapist initially

I knew that the cornerstones of

building an alliance and a relationship

with the person and their family or

the team was vital for this process

to work. I was beginning to see that

creating a partnership based on

trust, unconditional positive regard,

and commitment to seeing what was

possible was paramount and by using

refined listening skills and solution

focused techniques people were

afforded the most opportunities to

progress and so I began to wonder

how I could develop this way of

working further. Having qualified from

Kingstown College with a Diploma

in Executive and Life Coaching and

receiving my EMCC accreditation I

combined many theories of practice

from Seligman and Biswas-Diener’s

positive psychology theories and

strategies, social role valorisation

theory, change theories such as

Sharmer’s Theory U and Kotter’s

Change theory and began to

enhance my own coaching models

and approaches from the coaching

expertise of Whitmore and Co-active

coaching (Kimsey- House, Sandahl

& Whitmore) . The thread amongst

all of my work being that we begin

to look at what was right with the

person, focusing on when the person

is at their best whilst recognizing that

There are many ways in which

establishing a coaching culture can

establish real societal change within

the disability sector. I have been

using coaching skills for many years,

establishing presence, practising

enquiry, empowering others and

fostering change, however I was not

always conscious as to what level and

with what focus such skills could have

supported a person to make changes

in their own life. Empowering people

to overcome barriers and external and

internal interferences so as to enhance

98 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

the person has areas in their life that

needed intentional focus so as not to

have a negative impact on their lives.

Earlier we spoke about how we

deduce our own thoughts and what

creates this, that being experiences

and mental imagery. If society,

organisations and support teams

are to move away from the mental

imagery of people with disabilities

being ‘different’ ‘not the same’

‘dependent on’ others, then people

with disabilities must be afforded

the opportunities to experience this

in another way, a way which is equal

to other citizens in their community,

turning up as community members,

employees, neighbours, friends, aunts,

wives, mothers. Through using positive

psychology strategies support teams,

the family and the person themselves

needed to begin to evidence what

could be different for the person. How

could society truly begin to ‘see’ the

person as a whole, unique individual

and how could they do this with

their family and friends as opposed

to as a client of a large organisation

with the options of many and varied

‘programmes’ and ‘initiatives’

as opposed to opportunities to

experience true and real life.

“ We believe that coaching is chiefly

about discovery, awareness and

choice” (Co-Active coaching, Kinsey

House, Sandal& Whitmore 2011)

This word ‘Discovery’ struck me

when wondering about establishing

a coaching culture within teams. As

described above ‘Discovery’ (www.

capacity-building/ssdl) as I was trained

in, was a process in which I used daily

within my individual coaching and

mentoring work with individuals and

their families. As a foundational part

of this was to ‘discover’ people’s

potential and capacity as opposed

to naming deficiencies as so often

happens in this field, it caused me to

pause and wonder what a coaching

relationship could bring to the person

with a disability but also to those who

offer direct support when needed.

For the majority of people who work

within this sector they have come to

this work so as to make a difference,

offer a leg up to or to advocate for

those who need a voice to be heard.

One of the key pillars of coaching is

awareness. Once we become aware of

something we then have the choice to

change it. Coaching offers a space to

the team to raise their consciousness

around their own unconscious bias

and the mindsets that they have

created around what might be possible

for themselves and therefore also for

the person with a disability. During

this process immense learning and

discovery takes place and new and

creative paths are created within their

professional practice but also within

their own personal life. This discovery

of the person aligned strongly with

101 elements of the person coaching

tool which I found myself drawn to

having seen the benefits of people

becoming illuminated to their own

capacity and the possibilities and

opportunities this afforded them. In

all occasions this exercise has lead

into the use of other tools such as

the PERMA Wheel , the Wheel of life,

the values matrix and VIA Character

Strengths . The VIA character strengths

tool illuminates new perspectives

and encourages people to use their

strengths to realise their potential and

achieve their goals.

Coaching also offers a vital place for

the team to reflect on their own values,

the values of the organisation and the

values of the person. Where and how

can these sets of values work together

and where is their conflict amongst

them. Values are those personal

beliefs and ideals that a person

believes are important. Individually

we use our values as a guide for

making decisions and evaluating the

behaviour of others. Our values are

the product of our family upbringing,

our experiences and the culture in

which we were raised. Acknowledging

within the coaching space that we


all have a set of values and gaining

greater insight into the values of those

around them will aid the team in their

decision making and in the direction of

their work ultimately enhancing their

performance as a team. The values of

optimism, eliciting greatness, honesty,

commitment and trust are some of

the values which seem to elicit the

greatest progression for teams who

are ultimately supporting people with

disabilities to recognise, acknowledge

and empower their own potential.

Coaching can be an enabler of a whole

system approach that is a product of

personal development and a means to

establish trust and of recognising that

humankind is evolving both socially

and spiritually. Victor Frankl writes in

his book ‘ A Man’s Search for Meaning’

“ultimately being human always

points, and is directed, to something

or someone, other than oneself--be it

a meaning to fulfill or another human

being to encounter”.

Here lies the need for transformational

change for large disability

organisations where systems have

historically been created which

separate people from ‘others to

encounter’ and in the ‘caring for’ have

denied the person of ‘a meaning to

be fulfilled’, a true sense of meaning

and belonging in life will never be

achieved separate to community and

society. Such large organisations

are surrounded by competing

commitments such as regulation

and compliance and funding issues,

however if organisations are to create

solutions to such stuck problems as

exclusion of people with disabilities

they must discover how to prepare to

resist the crush of other debilitating

forces and begin to make room for

generative actions to emerge.

Effecting cultural change can be a

difficult process but through coaching

and providing a space for reflection,

creative energy can be harnessed

and ignited so as to bring forth the

internal source of our inspiration and

deepening our connection with others.

Dr. John Whitmore asks

“Could the only thing limiting you be

the size of your vision and your own

self-limiting beliefs?”

An interdependent, high performance

culture of the kind that a coaching

culture can produce can provide

the best chance of adapting to and

flourishing in the face of these

unsettling waves of change that

organisations are facing at this time.

Having begun to implement such

coaching strategies in organisations

small and large I am confident that

true transformation can take place

once people are prepared to take on

this journey of discovery, creativity

and generative action.

Pamela Mansell

Future Solutions Coaching - Executive & Life Coaching and Mentoring Service

Pamela is an experienced Consultant with a demonstrated history of working within organisations and with individuals in the public and

private sector. She is a Professional graduate from CTI London and Kingstown College. Pamela is accredited in Executive Coaching and Personal

Leadership, qualified in Integrative Psychotherapy and skilled in Management, Strategic Planning, Leadership, and organisational change. Her

inherent belief is that we all have the future solutions that we look to and for, and we have the capacity within us to grow and reach our full

potential in whatever area we choose.

100 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

How the Application of a Coaching

Approach Can Facilitate the

Implementation of the Recovery

Framework in Mental Health Practice


Within this paper, current strategic developments within Mental Health Care will be outlined.

This will be followed by a discussion on how the principles of Coaching interconnect with that

of the Recovery approach. The benefits to be gained by educating Mental Health Professionals

(MHP’s) on Coaching as a strategy to assist them in implementing the Recovery framework in

its true essence will then be discussed.


Dr Patsy Mc Sharry

Qualifications: RGN; RMN; BA Nurse Education; MSC in Nursing and PhD in Health Promotion

and Health and Wellness Coach, Mental Health and Well Being Coach

Position Lecturer in Nursing and Health Studies, St Angelas College Sligo which is a college of

NUI Galway.

Concept of Recovery

The Recovery approach is firmly

established within mental health care

policy for a considerable period of time

now. Back in 2006, The Vision for Change

policy document was published which

was seen as the road map to guide Irish

Mental Health Care practice and policy

away from a traditional medical model

approach to care towards a Recovery

approach. According to Anthony (2000),

Recovery is a process; a vision; a belief

which infuses a system which providers

can hold for service users grounded on

the idea that people can recover from

‘mental illness’, and that the service

delivery system must be constructed

based on this knowledge”. Although

this approach is now embedded in

mental health policy and guidelines,

the evidence for the implementation

in practice is not as widespread as

the policy suggests. The culture of

traditional mental health practice has

been slow to change to match the

policy. In recognition of this, in 2017,

the government published a National

Framework for Recovery in Mental

Health (HSE, 2017). This framework

advocates the need for the service

user and their lived experience to

be central to the process. They also

stipulate the need for co-production

between service user and practitioners.

The framework stipulates a need for

an organisational wide commitment

to the development of a Recovery

oriented mental health service. And

the need for supporting Recovery

orientated learning and practice across

all stakeholder groups. The framework

draws on work by Leamy and Slade

(2011) who identified five processes

that people with mental health find

essential for Recovery. These processes

are “Hope” (having a belief that life will

and can get better), “Connectedness”

(within community and not being

isolated because of illness) “Identity”

(identity in life beyond that of service

user), “Meaningful Role” (building on

strengths and skills to have fulfilling

and esteem building activities in life)

“Empowerment” (having information,

choices and confidence to make

decisions on own life). Many of these

Recovery processes are encapsulated

within a Coaching approach.


Concept of Coaching

Coaching draws from an eclectic mix

of underlying theoretical foundations

such as motivational interviewing,

client directed counselling, positive

psychology, and appreciative inquiry.

Application of a Coaching approach

also includes application of tools drawn

from mindfulness based interventions

and cognitive behavioural theory. Bora

et al (2010) state that Coaching grew

out of theories of Rogerian counselling

from a humanistic perspective. They

point out the link with the transport

metaphor put forward by Starr (2008)

and the idea of a stage coach or rail

coach symbolising that Coaching is

about transportation from one place

to another. Thus Coaching is future

based and involves being transported

from one place to another through

development and growth. This concept

is reflected in the process an individual

undergoes in establishing an identity

beyond that of service user within the

Recovery model.

Huffman (2016) suggests Health

Coaching is based on evidencebased

clinical interventions such

as motivational interviewing to

facilitate behaviour change,

the transtheoretical model of

change, goal setting, active listening,

aggregation and trending of health

outcome metrics, and prevention.

In a systematic review by Wolever et al.

(2013) Health and Wellness Coaching

is described as a patient centred

process that is based on behaviour

change theory and is delivered by

health professionals from various

backgrounds. The Coaching process

entails goal setting determined by the

patient, encourages self-discovery

in addition to content education and

incorporates methods for developing

accountability in health behaviours.

Regardless of the various definitions

that exist, Ammentorp et al (2013)

describe the commonalities that

exist within different descriptions of

Coaching within the literature such as

the core assumption that people have

an innate capacity to grow and develop,

a focus on constructing solutions and

a focus on goal attainment processes.

All of which are directly relatable to a

Recovery approach to care.

More specifically to Coaching for Mental

health and Well-being, Kingstown

College within their description of their

Mental health and Well Being Coaching

Diploma, describe the philosophy of

such Coaching as coming from a place

that recognizes that every individual has

potential to lead a fulfilling life, whether

in the absence and/or presence of a

mental health problem.

102 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

What Coaching can offer MHP’s

It is clear that much overlap exists

between the principles and processes

of Coaching and those of the Recovery

framework. MHP’s will thus be expected

to implement this framework and be

familiar with these processes and skilled

in facilitating their development within

the client.

Traditionally MHP’s operated from a

medical model and were seen mainly

as the experts in the professional/client

relationship and offered advice and

treatment to clients under their care.

Under a clinical model of care clients

received a particular mental illness

diagnosis and relevant care and treatment

were then administered in order to treat

this diagnosis. Thus, it is anticipated

that MHP’s may be challenged by the

necessary philosophical and procedural

changes that is required from them in

order to fully embrace and implement a

Recovery approach to care. Application

of a Coaching perspective is proposed

as a mechanism to assist MHPs with the

philosophical shift required to implement

the Recovery framework.

Overlap between Recovery and Coaching

Bora et al. (2010) outlines several areas of

overlap between Recovery and Coaching

philosophies based on the literature.

Many of these areas are reflected within

the Recovery Framework described

above. Firstly, Recovery is about building

a meaningful life with or without the

presence of mental illness. Coaching also

comes from the perspective that individuals

are not broken and do not need to be

fixed. Rather Coaching helps individuals

to tap into their innate resourcefulness to

discover what they truly want. Secondly,

from a Recovery perspective the expert

patient relationship shifts to one of

partnership and co-production as is

reflected in the framework outlined above,

likewise the Coaching relationship is one

of a partnership of equals. Thirdly, Hope

is central to the Recovery approach and

nurturing that hope is a key role for the

MHP. From a Coaching perspective, the

coach believes that the client possesses

all the resources and skills they need to

change what they want.

Fourthly, Recovery represents a move

away from a focus on problems to a focus

on strengths. Coaching also operates

from a strengths based perspective with

appreciative inquiry being one of its

underlying theoretical foundations.

Fifthly, from a Recovery perspective

there is an understanding that clients

are individuals and will have different

approaches to self-management and

no one size fits all. From a Coaching

perspective, the coach creates a

clearing for the client to generate their

own solutions and all individuals are

responsible for the results they generate.

Sixthly, Recovery is about discovering an

identity separate to that of an identity

based on their mental illness. Coaching

compliments this process as it is future

focused and comes from the perspective

of the past does not dictate the future

Bora et al. (2010) suggest that during

Coaching, although past stories and

experiences are acknowledged, Coaching

is about facilitating the client to generate

new stories and unlocking potential.

Seventhly, Recovery emphasises the

importance of clients discovering meaning

in life and life purpose, on the other hand

Coaching urges us to explore and discover

our life’s purpose.

Supporting a positive risk taking

in a safe environment with the

combination of MHP expertise and

Coaching philosophy.

Within a Coaching framework, as a

relationship of equals, the MHP is required to

respect the clients’ autonomy and empower

them to take control of their own lives. In this

way the process encourages the concept of

positive risk taking deemed necessary within

a Recovery approach. Coaching supports

this process. However, a tension could exist

for MHP’s between facilitating and allowing

a client to take control and self-manage

when this might represent a possible risk

to the clients’ safety. As care givers, MHP’s

are charged with a duty of care to protect

and maintain client safety. As the concept of

positive risk taking is an inherent component

of the Recovery approach itself, MHP’s are

required to encourage appropriate risk

taking. The fact that MHP’s have the skills

needed to assess and monitor mental status

makes them ideally placed to facilitate this

process in as safe an environment as possible.

In this way, clients’ get an opportunity to

experiment with possible strategies in a safe

environment, all the while being encouraged

and supported by a health care professional

who is also a qualified Coach who conveys a

steadfast belief in their inherent worth and



In conclusion from the above description,

it is clear that the philosophy of Coaching

has much in common with the philosophy

of Recovery. Coaching can assist MHP’s in

facilitating their clients to move through

the Recovery process from Recovery to

discovery of personal inner strengths and

resources and towards a redefinition of a

more resilient identity. MHP’s coming from

a Coaching perspective can empower their

client’s to take back control for themselves

and support them towards a fulfilling and

meaningful life with or without the existence

of mental illness. Coaching is therefore

proposed as a strategy to assist in making a

Recovery approach a reality in Mental Health

Care Practice. In this way, well intentioned

policy will become more than rhetoric lip




Anthony, W.A. (1993). Recovery from mental illness: The guiding vision of the mental health system in the 1990’s. Psychosocial Rehabilitation

Journal, 16(4), 11-23.

Ammentorp, J., Jensen, H. and Uhrenfeldt, L. (2013). Danish health professionals’ experiences of being coached: A pilot study. Journal of Continuing

Education in the Health Professions, 33 (1), 41–47.

Bora, R., Leaning, S., Moores, A. et al (2010) Life Coaching for mental health Recovery: the emerging practice of Recovery Coaching. Advances in

Psychiatric Treatment, 16: 459–67.

HSE, Government of Ireland (2006) A Vision for Change: Report of the expert group on Mental Health Policy


HSE, Mental Health Division (2017) A National Framework for Recovery in Mental Health


Huffman, Melinda H. (12 May 2016). “Advancing the Practice of Health Coaching”. Workplace Health & Safety. 64 (9): 400–403.

doi:10.1177/2165079916645351. PMID 27174131.

Leamy, M., Bird, V., Le Boutillier, C., Williams, J., & Slade, M. (2011). Conceptual framework for personal Recovery in mental health: Systematic

review and narrative synthesis. British Journal of Psychiatry, 199(6), 445–452. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.083733

Starr J (2008) The Coaching Manual. The Definitive Guide to the Process, Principles and Skills of Personal Coaching. Prentice Hall.

Wolever RQ, Simmons LA, Sforzo GA, et al. A systematic review of the literature on health and wellness Coaching: defining a key behavioural

intervention in healthcare. Glob Adv Health Med 2013; 2:38–57. doi:10.7453/gahmj.2013.042

Dr. Patsy Mc Sharry

Patsy McSharry is a Registered General Nurse, a Registered Mental Health Nurse, has a Masters in Nursing Studies from UCD and a PhD in

Health Promotion from NUIGalway. She is also a qualified Health and Wellness Coach from Well coaches International, and a qualified Mental

Health and Well Being Coach from Kingstown College. Patsy is currently employed by St Angelas Collage as a Lecturer in Nursing and Health

Studies. She is involved in the undergraduate education of nurses and also heavily involved in the running of a Post Graduate level 9 Diploma

in Applied Health and Wellness Coaching for professionals in the healthcare arena. Patsy is a lecturer on a postgraduate course in Community

Mental Health Nursing for Registered Mental health Nurses.

104 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

25th Annual EMCC Conference - Dublin 2019

Reflect - Learn - Transform

The EMCC International Coaching, Mentoring and Supervision Conference

2019 was hosted at the Dublin Convention Centre and with almost 800 delegates

from around the globe in attendance, it was the largest ever EMCC

annual conference. Here are some interviews and images from the event.

Keith Barry speaks about

Confidence and Performance

The European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) hosted their 25th

annual conference at there Dublin Convention Centre in 2019. The opening

keynote was delivered by hypnotist, illusionist and magician Keith Barry.

We can learn

all the sales

techniques in the

world… but unless

our mindset is

correct we will

fail as coaches.

Most people know him as an entertainer,

a magician and a mentalist but what a

lot of people don’t know is that he’s a

hypnotherapist and a scientist, graduating

with a first class honours degree in

cosmetic science from Galway University.

He’s a subconscious mind specialist and

helps people reprogram their mind for


Coaching for Performance in Business

and Sport

At this moment Keith works as a life coach,

executive coach, performance coach and a

mentor to business people and high-end

athletes. Because of confidentiality we

rarely hear about those clients. But one of

those clients is Rory Best, who he has been

coaching for performance. Although Roy

Best is retiring from professional rugby, he

has recorded his best season in terms of

player statistics and performance.

Mind Magic was the title of the keynote

Keith Barry delivered at the EMCC

Conference in the Convention Centre in

Dublin 2019.

Part of Keith Barry’s presentation at the

EMCC Conference was that people will make

active change today. “Very often after I speak

at an event like this I get some amazing

emails from people whose businesses have

skyrocketed just from a moment either at

one my my talks, or Paula’s talks, but there

is a moment that happens – something

clicks with them – and then ultimately it

completely changes their life. And that’s

what this is all about for me”.


Confidence is still a big problem…

Keith also highlighted some unexpected

similarities between business and sports


“The number one thing I come across in

all fields, even with high-end athletes,

successful business people is, most

people suffer hugely behind the scenes

with confidence.”

“Ultimately those type of people suffer

from the same kind of insecurities we

do and for me it’s about how to not fake

confidence but actually grow as a person,

grow that confidence to actually become

the person or performer that you really

want to be.”

“We are pattern followers and pattern

seekers, and we are far more alike than we

are different”

“I teach people to break destructive

behaviour patterns and then form new

behaviour patterns that ultimately leads

them to success.”

When asked about wellbeing Keith

commented on the importance of the space,

but also had a word of caution. “There is a

lot of talk going on about wellbeing … but

I don’t see too many people coming in

with solutions”. “We have to teach people


“I always say as a hypnotherapist, I don’t

hypnotise people to do certain things, I

teach them to self hypnotise and reprogram

their own subconscious mind. So it’s really

an education more than anything else.”

As a life coach, executive coach or mentor,

there was a huge amount to be learned from

this entertaining keynote.

Watch the interview with Keith at

106 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

The secure leader

doesn’t see themselves

managing anybody.

They see themselves

creating the

environment where

people can manage


Prof. David Clutterbuck

on Leadership and Speaking Up

in the Organisation

In the world of coaching, Professor David Clutterbuck is known and

respected for his knowledge and his belief in what is made possible

through coaching and mentoring. At the EMCC Conference in Dublin he

spoke to us after a keynote address about encouraging people to speak up,

delegating tasks, and the changing definition of leadership.

“People, as they move up the organisation,

find that there are fewer and fewer people

who actually have the courage to speak up

to them. It’s just the power dimension”

This position was phrased with slightly

more humour from the stage at the

EMCC Conference in Dublin, as Professor

David Clutterbuck asked the executives

in the audience “who do you have in the

organisation to tell you if you’re being a

prat?” Of course this was met with laughter,

but it is a serious question leaders need to


“If we really want to know what people

are thinking we have to create the

opportunities for them to do that, to speak

up, to have voice”. “…we have to overcome

the natural disinclination to tell the guy at

the top that they are being really stupid, or

to question their assumptions”

Professor Clutterbuck has been a thought

leader in the space of coaching and

mentoring for decades, has written several

books and articles on the subjects, and has

consulted with several large international

organisations. He has seen the effects of

great and not so great leadership and how

conversations with people outside the

organisation can help.


“We maybe have a trusted confidant who

does that, that’s where mentors come in.

Maybe a coach does that in the midst of

a coaching session and says ‘yeah, come

on, pull the other one!’, and because you

can do it in a good humoured way, and it’s

part of the relationship… then this is an

important element in helping somebody

keep grounded.“

One of the other approaches suggested

by Professor Clutterbuck helps to create

a more open conversation between levels

of the organisation. “One of the things we

encourage leaders to do is to share their

personal development plan”

“…tell me when I’m living up to my

aspirations, or when I’m not… When you

do that people will be much more honest

with you”. This is an approach that requires

quite a bit of courage, but it does create

the environment where people are more


One story recalled was of a senior executive

who didn’t believe he was a bully. As the

coach, Professor Clutterbuck asked him to

describe the characteristics of a bully. He

then agreed that in the next team meeting

he would conduct the meeting as a bully,

to show them what a bully actually looks

like, therefore they would know that was

not what he was doing. After only a few

minutes, he asked the team ‘I’m sorry but

I don’t see any difference, do you?”. That

moment of realisation was made possible

by the relationship with the coach, and the

commitment to being open with the team.

A Criteria of Promotion

During the Dublin keynote, there was a

suggestion that a demonstrated pattern

of mentoring should be a requirement

of promotion in organisations. But does

that create an ego challenge where

leaders think they are irreplaceable, or an

insecurity that they may be in fact training

their replacement?

“I think it’s a challenge of narrow thinking”

“In one organisation they wanted to grow

very fast

and mostly organically. We

persuaded the Chief Executive to issue

the challenge to everybody that they

would be measured… by how much of

their job they got rid of each year.”

This challenge was issued to the top 200

people in the organisation.

“The expectation was you would get rid of

25% of your job by delegating it to other

people in your team.” “Some people just

couldn’t cope with that, and they didn’t

have a future in the organisation”

If that organisation was going to grow

bigger, and the leaders were moving into

bigger roles, the only way is to not do all

the things they were doing before. The

approach achieved its objective.

Hiring the Right People

Considering the changes in how

organisations operate and communicate

internally, is it now important to hire

people who are already thinking in the

way of a mentor, or coach?

“Our definition of leadership is changing

quite rapidly and radically. We talk about

the secure leader. The secure leader doesn’t

see themselves managing anybody. They

see themselves creating the environment

where people can manage themselves.

They see themselves as a work in progress.

They are very tolerant of mistakes; they

see mistakes as a way of learning and if

someone is not making some mistakes

they are not stretching themselves. So all

of those kinds of things are very different

to the command and control attitude we

have seen in the past”

Mentoring back in the Spotlight

“I think the conference has been brilliant

because of it’s size - it’s the biggest one

we’ve ever had - and therefore the diversity

of the audience and the contributions, the

increased emphasis on mentoring has

been really helpful in getting that balance

back between coaching and mentoring as

two equal partners in the development.”

Watch the interview with Professor David Clutterbuck


108 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Meet the Faculty

Edward Boland

Director, Executive Coach & Lecturer

Edward Boland is a Director of Kingstown College. Edward is a highly experienced coach, mentor, trainer

and facilitator. He has a particular interest in the area of career coaching and has worked with hundreds

of clients assisting them in how to prepare for and conduct a professional interview. He is the only

qualified Assessor in Ireland for the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and he is a Board

Member of the EMCC in Ireland.

Paula King

Director, Executive Coach & Lecturer

Director of Kingstown College, Paula is a psychologist and leadership coach. She is registered with

the British Psychological Society (BPS) on the Register of Competence in Psychological Testing. She is

a member of the Society for Coaching Psychology. Paula holds an MSc in Coaching and Organisational

Development from Portsmouth University and is Past President of the European Mentoring & Coaching Council

(EMCC) Ireland. She is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

James Mcleod

Executive Coach & Senior Faculty Member

James Mcleod is a key member of the Kingstown College team and a tutor and executive coach. He

has over 30 years of business experience in a variety of senior leadership roles at established media

powerhouses including The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times.

Judith Spring

Executive Coach & Faculty Member

Judith Spring is a member of the Kingstown College Faculty and is involved in design and delivery of

training programmes, consultancy and student support for the College.

Dr Jim Loughrey

Associate of Kingstown College

Dr Jim Loughrey is one of Kingstown College’s external assessors. He delivers executive coaching and

coaching supervision throughout Ireland and has held a number of Executive Director and Board-level

positions within the Public Sector.


Dr. Chandrika Deshpande

Research Lead & Faculty Member

Chandrika is Head of Research and a Faculty Member at Kingstown College. She is a Learning and Development

professional specializing in Talent Management and Organizational Development. She has a Ph.D. from the

University of Mumbai and holds qualifications in the field of HR, Mass Media, Behavioral training and Psychometric

testing. She also has an Advanced Diploma in Personal, Executive and Leadership Coaching accredited by the

European Mentoring and Coaching Council.

Jane Perry

Executive Coach & Faculty Member

Jane Perry is a member of the Kingstown College faculty. She specialises in developing personal and

leadership strengths and, in doing so, facilitates business owners, managers, professionals and teams to

be self-aware, stronger, more confident and notably more effective.

Dr Rachael Clarke

Executive Coach & Facilitator

Dr Rachael Clarke is a Neuroscientist with 12 years healthcare leadership experience at a local, regional

and global level, supporting leadership teams before following her curiosity into the learning and

development space.

Mark Duffy

Executive Coach & Faculty Member

Mark Duffy is a member of the Kingstown College faculty. Mark is an executive coach, corporate trainer

and faculty member with over ten years’ experience in the field. He is fascinated by the psychology of

exceptional leadership, well-being and performance in the workplace.

Cathy Kelly

Executive Coach and lecturer with Kingstown College

Cathy Kelly is an Executive Coach and on-line student support with Kingstown College. Cathy has a

passion for personal growth and leadership development. She is a strong advocate of coaching to build

and develop high performing leaders and teams in a fast-paced environment, as well as during periods

of transformational change.

110 Coaching Magazine Vol.5

Seanie Myler

Executive Coach & Faculty Member

Seanie is based in Omagh and has 30 years’ experience through different sectors and sales disciplines. He

is skilled at improving performance to boost sales success both for individuals and teams. Among other

qualifications, he holds the Advanced Diploma in Personal and Executive Coaching, Certificate in Team

Coaching, and the Diploma in Mental Health and Well Being Coaching.

Gillian Larkin

Senior Executive Coach & Faculty Member

Gillian Larkin is a Senior Executive Coach with Kingstown College. Gillian is also Student Support with the

College. Gillian has a First Class Honours Degree and an MSc from Trinity College in Applied Social Research.

Alan Brereton

Executive Coach & Faculty Member

As an Executive Coach, Alan works in particular with individuals and teams in the creative professions, and

those who would like to develop the competencies of creativity and innovation. He has a background in TV

and media and is Head of Marketing for Kingstown College. Alan lectures on the Advanced Diploma course

and holds a BA in Human Resource Management, a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies and has also

studied Luxury Brand Management.

Train your workforcE at their desk

We can help you to create bespoke training content, provide e-learning

delivery platforms for organization wide education and training, and any

necessary assessments or knowledge reviews.

Let’s talk about how we can combine your expertise with ours!


In-House Training Solutions

Talk to us about delivering diplomas and courses

in-house for your organisation



Accredited by ICF and EMCC, also includes a Level 6 QQI


This internationally accredited diploma is not only a popular

choice for private coaching practitioners, but also for

progressive managers and leaders who want to introduce

a coaching dialogue to management style.



Formerly Train the Trainer

Kingstown College offers the complete Special Purpose Award which

includes Training Needs Identification and Design, and Training

Delivery and Evaluation. This qualification is the benchmark for

those who analyse training needs, and design and deliver training




Accredited by the European Mentoring and Coaching

Council, and also includes a Level 6 QQI qualification

As mental health and wellbeing becomes a greater priority

for organisations, leaders and human resources professionals

need to be skilled in addressing these challenges. Graduates

learn how to communicate and interact with their clients and

employees in a more positive and empowering way.


Accredited by Coaching and Mentoring International (CMI)

This certificate is an ideal qualification to be delivered

in-house to organisations which have, or would like to

promote a culture of mentoring and coaching. Mentoring

has also been well evidenced to impact positively on an

organisations’ recruitment, succession planning, diversity

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• International Business Communication - Creating common

platforms of understanding in international teams

• Coaching for Managers

• Creating Five Star Customer Service

• Conflict Resolution and Diffusion

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• Communicating to Engage, Inform and Influence

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QQI Level 6 Professional Coaching Practice and Ethics,

EMCC Accreditation (Foundation Level)

Begin your journey to become an accredited Corporate

Coach or Executive Coach. This course sets out best practice

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Graduates of this course have the opportunity to upgrade

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Leadership and Executive Coaching, or Mental Health and

Wellbeing Coaching. They may avail of an exemption from

50% of the modules and assessment of that diploma.

Train your workforcE at their desk

We can help you to create bespoke training content,

provide e-learning delivery platforms for organization wide

education and training, and any necessary assessments or

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