WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: The Future of Coaching by Hetty Einzig

This book includes a collection of very thoughtful essays that challenge us to think beyond coaching as a tool to improve performance within existing outdated, dysfunctional and even toxic systems.

Einzig asks: Should the role of the coach evolve? What is the role of coaching today? Can coaches support leaders to transform the rules of the game itself? She gets our attention with provocative statements like this one: “While clearly the coach’s role is to listen deeply and create a space for exploration and discovery, I question whether such subservience is part of the coaching role.” She suggests a need for the positive deviant, the coach as not just a speaker of truth to power but with the capacity to work long and deep to pull away the veils of grandiose illusion and help the organisation back on track. She envisions coaches contributing their knowledge, experience, the fruits of their spiritual quests and their reflexive skills, but also their vulnerability and their not-knowing to the new kind of leadership needed in a world too complex for leaders to stand alone.

Einzig suggests that coaches may best have influence in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world by redefining a practice founded on an alternative version of VUCA – Values, Understanding, Creativity and Awareness.

In many respects, this book is a coaching equivalent of The Neutrality Trap by Bernard Mayer and Jacqueline Font Guzman. Both books critique the idea of neutrality or impartiality and suggest that practitioners may have an important role as activists to improve systems, not just individuals.

This book is essential reading for the reflective coach, who is interested in offering more to the world and in finding a practice that resonates deeply with their values.

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