Coaching for the third age -the Re-attiring play of voices

Jen Gash

At our last meeting in April we explored the subject of coaching those in the third age – at the point of elderdom – or whatever we might call it. This followed a different route from the usual, with my offering up myself as a client to the group – and offering an audio play / drama for participants to deal with as they wished.

What i heard from you at the close of the session was that the play served as a very different type of device to carry the inquiry and the learning – and that it was good to have some thoughtful pre work of a different kind. They said that my stepping into a vulnerable space, and offering myself up as client  provided an opportunity to work with a living case study, with the client present.

The spilling out of ‘confessions’ into the play had an unexpectedly  cathartic effect for me – and also had the same effect for some others who were coat tailing on the stories, and parallel processing.   It was clear that my issues and challenges not unique to me, but true for others not just in third age but also others in transition or who have clients in transition.  

We all felt that there was enough juice in this session to warrant a further session on the same subject, not just as a contribution to ‘help the aged’ but also for others facing similar life and career transitions.

some of the provocations that arose from this session included

Provocations and challenges 

  • Letting go – is more complex than it seems
  • Addressing underlying melancholy – which is of course human and allowable 
  • Okay to stay with the trouble 
  • Allow the song in your heart to be out there in the world  
  • Allow the need for mourning 
  • The psychodynamics of grieving, and of survival and adaption – and the need for courage in the face of that. 
  • The inevitable reaching back to youth.
  • Making peace, seeking a place of peace  
  • Is there a slowing .. but is that not a good byproduct of ageing? 
  • Cloaks and gowns are fine and grand but they can also hide things. Are robes about power and control? 
  •  End of career? Or is that word a bedfellow of the R WORD – indicating a finite termination.
  • Is retirement a construct that we could retire?  There are at least five ages, and we can work until 100 should we wish 
here is the play itself in all its glory – I am told that playing it while cleaning behind the fridge works well

Daniel Doherty on Simon Western’s ‘Edgy Ideas.’

In this episode Daniel shares his research and experience of credentialing and accreditation in coaching.  His findings ask many questions about the credibility of practices, often delivered by self-appointed regulation bodies, some that make a lot of money from the process.  Daniel identifies eight consumer types of coaches in relation to accreditation and credentialing:  The Enthusiast, Complier, Susceptible, Pragmatist, Procrastinator, Agnostic, Ideologue and Inquirer; each seeking or resisting accreditation and credential for different reasons.  Daniel and Simon discuss the importance of critical thinking to question these credentialing norms, and how the practice of attaining accreditation is often a process more aligned with audit culture and collecting a number of hours in training and practice with very little quality control on what happens in those hours.  An important podcast for coaches, trainers and HR and managers purchasing coaching.  Bio After thirty years experience of coaching and business consulting that became increasingly  globalised in nature, Daniel returned to the UK from South Africa in 2005, to complete a PhD and to teach and research in a variety of Higher Education Institutions.  In 2006 Daniel founded the Critical Coaching Research Group, which he continues to lead to this day. His preferred research idiom is narrative practice; in the past two years he has authored two satirical novels set in the coaching world, and is in the process of writing a series of ‘plays for voices.’

Types of Coaching Credential Consumer: and the social construction of the coaching accreditation market.

I attach for your interest my draft paper arguing the above – it is the same paper that the edgy ideas podcast draws upon. I would be eager to hear any feedback, thoughts or concerns regarding this polemical piece. Daniel