AoEC Burditt Prize Coaching At Work Extract

Extract from Coaching At Work Article (Coaching at Work, Volume 7, Issue 1)

Campbell wrote the submission with her client, the chair of a charitable, faith-based organisation, to help her “learn about the subsequent long-term effect” (of the transformation) on her client. The breakthrough was sparked by Campbell’s choice to share her impression of the client after the first session in which she felt “patronised”.

She experienced the “most profound moment in her coaching career” during the second session. She had an insight that her client was quick at processing information, then persuading others this was so, becoming impatient and condescending when it did not work. Sharing this word ‘condescended’ sparked off a change in the client’s demeanour. “He said this was against his core values. This was his first real question of himself in this whole conversation,” wrote Campbell.

The client wrote: “It is rare in life for there to be an alloyed exchange…sometimes only that spiritual connection, painful as it often is, will answer. Perhaps this is the only way that what I see as the depth work around matters of ego, self-image, humility and openness can proceed.”

The client learned: “It is important to listen carefully to other people”; “humility is a very under-rated virtue in professional life”; “deeper learning is often, perhaps always, accompanied by pain, honesty and risk-taking on the part of the coach can give something profound and lasting to the client, beginning with opening the gate for the client to also be honest and take a risk”, and – a learning loved by the judges – “the connection between coach and client need not be perfect…for it to be extremely valuable”.

Campbell learned: “That my own sense of transformation on behalf of my client depended on my willingness to transform myself.”

The judges liked her…

  • Questioning on: “How can excellence in coaching be achieved without evaluation of the long-term impact?” and “How do we cater for the ethical dilemma of short-term coaching contracts not offering sufficient support for transformation?”

  • Handling of ethical issues

  • Demonstration of “care for him as my client” without creating dependency

  • Demonstration of a deep desire to help while maintaining the boundaries

  • Conclusion “that transformation can happen in the room and within a short- term relationship”

  • Humility

  • Beginner’s mind

“She helped dissolve the energy of her client without trying to solve his problems…For me, the true test of a coach is one of her final statements: ‘My own sense of transformation on behalf of my client depended on my willingness to transform myself,’” said Burditt.

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