Recently we caught up with one of our most popular coaches, Suzanne Silver, to ask some rapid-fire questions about her coaching practice, and what she's seeing in the market. Read on for an up-to-the-minute account of the common themes our coachees are working on, as a window into the zeitgeist of the coaching world.
What are the most common development themes you're seeing in your coachee's goals at the moment?
Understanding the step-change required to step into leadership roles in this post-pandemic world – becoming aware of and understanding the more intangible (soft-skills) elements of leadership, including decision making at different levels, and then communicating those decisions across a broader scope, strategy, vision, your unique leadership identity/brand, gravitas and personal impact etc. These are classic leadership development themes, and they continue to be the core of my coaching, but they’re amplified now post COVID because leaders are dealing with remote teams, uncertain financial markets, and increasing staff turn over. Now more than ever we need great core leadership skills to balance the ship.
My senior clients are feeling a bit more uncertain and insecure considering the wider ambiguity of the markets, and are second-guessing their decisions and being more tentative than usual. I definitely observe an overall trend in leaders being less confident - we’re all in uncharted territory right now. I am helping my clients to first identify the ambiguity, and then become more comfortable with this environment (normalizing it). We work on ways to feel more confident making decisions without all the information we previously had when the markets were stable and in growth mode, and ensuring they’re ready to change direction and adapt when new information arises.
What models or coaching methods do you find have the most applicability in your engagements right now considering these issues?
I find that insights about how the human brain/psyche works (a bit of neuroscience) are very pertinent to my engagements right now. I also see frameworks relating to how one’s inner-narrative influences them are relevant, as it gives the coachee a tool to reframe their narratives to be more helpful, so they can consciously choose what to do. So in short the models I tend to use are Narrative Coaching, with a bit of Existential Coaching in the mix too. Existential Coaching is something I have more recently come across and I find it intriguing. In its most basic form, existentialism is the philosophical belief we are each responsible for creating purpose or meaning in our own lives.
How are your coachees typically measuring their development progress through this period?
My coachees are typically using self-reflection, as opposed to tools or measures. We build in a lot of observation and self-questioning to gauge progress against goals e.g. How did that go? Why did that go well? What specifically did I do? Why did that not go so well? What might have created a different outcome? What wider impact did that have (beyond the immediate impact)? What has changed for me? How do I feel now? How do I think now? Etc.
Has there been any trend in the type of coaching engagements you're seeing at the moment? Ie trigger events, or types of coachees seeking out development?
Many of my clients are going through some sort of transition, either a more senior role, a new position/new company etc. The theme of confidence always seems to arise with the majority of clients, either consciously or sometimes it sneaks out unexpectedly. These are timeless themes in coaching! It’s what I love working with, and really what the coaching experience is well-designed to support.
Finally - what's your outlook for the second half of 2022 - is coaching more or less pertinent for companies right now?
Absolutely, more pertinent! There’s now an impetus for team coaching (in person) during offsites since travel has become somewhat easier recently and people haven’t met with colleagues for such a long time. I believe that as people are feeling fewer restrictions, they are feeling ready to explore who they are and what they are doing in the world and their lives! The rest of this year is an opportunity for growth as we keep emerging out of COVID and reflect on the past 3 years, and ideally take the learnings to move forward.
Thanks Suzanne! If you’re looking for team coaching, leadership development, or career transition coaching, or any of the points Suzanne has mentioned are relevant to your business, please reach out: email@example.com