This article is written by Denise Pang, Principal Coach of ODE Consulting.
In 2008, the late Sir John Whitmore said,
“We have reached a crucial point, the beginning of a shift away from hierarchy into self- responsibility. It may take 50-100 years for a full transition, but we are emerging into a world where people are taking far more of a responsibility for their lives. Coaching is an industry that works towards this far better than any other. Coaching helps build responsibility into the other person by enhancing their capability to make choices and decisions of their own.”
Almost 10 years later, we are witness to the dramatically disruptive force of what Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, calls the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. According to Professor Schwab, “it is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.”
In the ten years of delivering coaching-related services to our clients, we have successfully synthesized these two powerful points of view and found that coaching as a mindset, capability and practice is fundamental to what it means to be human.
If the Fourth Industrial Revolution is synonymous with the Digital Age, you will recognize buzz words or phrases such as “taking the robots out of humans”, “future of work”, “displacement of jobs by automation technologies” all of which are contributing to a major public concern globally.
As we move into the disruption and uncertainty of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we apply our PASSION methodology to support our clients through organizational change. Built on the power of coaching conversations and facilitation, it starts with a fundamental shift from a ‘victim’ mindset to one of self-responsibility and empowerment.
As Coaches, we work with business leaders to visualize and articulate a change vision, including the ability to listen and connect with the diverse personalities. Coaching conversations can be facilitated to create a safe space for respectful candor and staying solutions-focused.
In adopting a systemic approach to organizational change, it is important to engage all levels of the organization, by surfacing employees’ unheard views and aspirations to coaching operational or functional managers to overcome their own inertia to change so they will play key roles as change agents.
On Being Human
Adopting coaching as a mindset, capability and practice can have a profound impact on how we manage ourselves and how we interact with others.
At ODE, we train and certify coaches based on the International Association of Coaching (IAC)’s nine Masteries. Based on the experiences and testimonials of the coaches that have completed our program, many have shared how learning and practicing coaching has fundamentally changed their relationships with themselves and with others.
Since its inception, the key objective of coaching is in developing others, to realize their full potential. This applies to all forms of coaching, from the playing field to the dinner table at home to the boardroom. However, if we overlook the mindset, capability and practice of coaching to achieve this, we start to limit the scope of the power of coaching as an advanced form of relating with others, which is fundamental to being human.
The Digital Age is an opportunity to unlearn our role of humans in the industrial age of consumerism, mass production, and repetitive tasks, and relearn or reconnect with what are uniquely human characteristics and capabilities, that machines can only, at best augment, but certainly cannot replace.
Coaching as a Mindset
By understanding the intention of coaching, and how perceptions shape our reality, our coaches learn the importance of adopting an open mindset, learning how to suspend judgment, temporarily, and believing in the resourcefulness, creativity, and potential in themselves and in others.
Coaching as a capability
Coaching is a set of skills that can be learned – to build trust, to be present, to listen and perceive, to convey meaning and feeling, to clarify and invite possibilities, and to support. Basic skills of relating with others that underlies emotional or social intelligence, of being human.
In the work of Judith E. Glaser “Conversational Intelligence” and other neuroscientists like Dan Siegel “Mindsight”, they talk about neurochemistry in our brain when experiencing trust and connection, and how epigenetics allow our brains to transcribe these new patterns and neuropathways, making it possible to heal ourselves, increase our feelings of self- worth and improve our emotional state.
Clarity and Framing
In the vast ocean of data that is being collected the clarity to see the forest from the trees, to harvest insights and glean what is most pertinent, taking into consideration the complexity of exceptions, dynamic conditions, circumstances and consequences. Coaching is a valuable tool to help analysts think before acting.
Imagination and Creativity
Beyond advanced techniques and technologies, coaching helps to unlock the human ability to imagine and create, drawing on inspiration from expanded possibilities from new, unrelated areas.
Aspiration and Will
Finally, coaching enables leaders to act; take self-responsibility, direct resources, rally teams and design actions to build a sustainable future for our children and continued evolution of mankind.