The Evolutionary Coach

June 30th, 2014 | Posted in Change, Fit Leader, Leadership Fitness, success by

A recent search for books related to coaching and mentoring generated a list of over 6,000 titles, including a book called Coaching & Mentoring for Dummies.

Not surprisingly, as organizations around the world seek enhanced performance from their leaders, having a professional coach is viewed as a sign of commitment to the successful development of emerging leaders.

In Evolutionary Coaching: A Values-Based Approach to Unleashing Human Potential, author Richard Barrett distinguishes between two types of coaching.

The first, traditional performance coaching, focuses on helping leaders get better at what they do at whatever level of psychological development the leader may be at.

Evolutionary coaching, by contrast, goes beyond mere performance improvement and addresses the leader’s movement through seven stages of psychological development.

As individual leaders pass through these seven levels (surviving, conforming, differentiating, individuating, self-actualizing, integrating and serving), they demonstrate higher and higher levels of maturity.

To move successfully through these seven stages, individuals must choose growth over safety. If instead, individuals choose safety over growth, they stop growing and remain fixated at their present level of development.

It is important to note that unless the coach has experienced his or her own journey through these various stages of growth, the coach can actually block a client’s ongoing development.

Evolutionary coaches work to instill the following five qualities in their clients to help them advance:

1. Adaptability – managing emotions and self-care so leaders remain healthy and fit.
2. Emergent learning: learning from mistakes and being able to learn by trial and error.
3. Ability to bond – connecting with others and building cohesive teams.
4. Ability to cooperate – working with others to increase collective resilience.
5. Ability to manage complexity – staying calm, remaining committed in the midst of adversity and being comfortable with uncertainty.

According to Barrett, the evolutionary coach does not just help leaders become better at what they do.

The evolutionary coach helps clients participate in their own growth and evolution as a person, as well as the evolution of their organizations and the global society in which they contribute.

Where are you on your own journey to self-realization, and how can you support the growth and increased maturity for those you lead? Check out Barrett’s book for a deeper dive into how evolutionary coaching is redefining how coaches are unleashing human potential.

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