A CCG inquiry into coaches’ transitions as they experience ‘becoming.’
Background to this inquiry
the theme of ‘coach maturity’ within the CCG, the precursor to what we now term coaching ‘becoming’, can be traced back to 2011, when it was first posited by Professor David Megginson, on one of his frequent visits to Bristol. this notion of maturity also aligned with ideas at that time as the coach as ‘elder.’
Megginson and Clutterbuck’s work on ‘coach maturity is outlined in the article below.
Re-attiring – the Radio Play
After a period of quietude, a revival of this theme reoccurred at an early 2021 CCG conference on ‘coaching at a later age,’ based around Daniel Doherty’s radio play ‘Re-Attiring.’
it is perhaps little surprise that interest in pursuing this theme has grown as we, the participants, have ourselves aged, moved on in career stage, and have developed our practice to allow engagement with clients who are also advancing through career stages towards maturity in their respective professions.
Association for Coaching ‘Cliff’ project.
There was appetite at the time to take this inquiry within the CCG further, which, after a pause, we pursued more strongly in 2022. Sometimes projects on maturity take a while in maturation, to compost. This enterprise was accelerated by a February 2022 seminar on ‘coach identity,’ convened by the Association for Coaching Research Special Interest Group, and led by CCG members Roger Bretherton and Adrienne Rosen, who encouraged several of us to share our personal and professional ‘cliffs’ or transitions as later stage coaches in the form of writing and in conversation during these SIG meetings.
Contemporaneous with this nascent inquiry was the research into ‘on the becoming of a coach’ – s study concerning ‘coach maturity,’ led by Bob Garvey of CCG, the findings from which we at CCG have explored in depth with Bob `Garvey during several of our 2022 and 2023 during online and in-the-room CCG gatherings. This research paper is attached below.
On becoming a coach: Narratives of learning and development
D. Rajasinghe, B. Garvey, W.A. Smith, S. Burt, A. Barosa-Pereira, D. Clutterbuck & Z. Csigas
Coach maturation: understanding the why, what and how has the potential to influence the coaching profession in its own journey of professionalisation. This paper seeks to provide some insight into how experienced coaches understand their own development processes. With a few exceptions, little has been published on coach development and the literature evidences its strong emphasis on client development leaving a vital knowledge gap in coaches’ learning and development. This study aims to address this void by exploring experienced coaches’ experience of their developmental journeys by employing Interpretative Phenomenological analysis (IPA) as a research methodology
June 2022 – first in-person meeting since lockdown
This meeting was important in terms of signifying the first in-person meeting to share heartfelt gratitude that we had all lived to tell the tale. And to congratulate ourselves on the success of our Zoom-based conferences that kept the momentum flowing. It was at this meeting that heard of Bob’s becoming project and revived our interest in picking up on our own project that was picking up steam during covid.
Formalising the Becoming Project: scope and purpose
At this point in late 2022, this episodic inquiry became formalised. We adopted the term ‘becoming’ with regard to the emergent nature of what we are inquiring into. A principal purpose of this inquiry is to help participants discover something that we each know and cherish about ourselves that we didn’t know before. This inquiry goes beyond the confines of professional coaching roles, to address the whole person in relationship to the individual’s lived life, including their relationship to coaching
The project is primarily for the benefit of the inquirers, in line with fundamental ‘action research’ principles. It does not plan to feature classical research outcomes such as peer-reviewed papers or material for conferences that, at times, enhance the researcher above the researched. The primary reason for engaging in action research is ‘to assist the actor in improving or refining his or her actions.’
CCG Becoming Project Framework
This early project formation birthed four regional groups who each set their individual direction, within some broad guidelines and shared time frames. These four groups, based in London, Bristol, Sheffield, and Devon, have met in person, but also online and in a combination of pairs and trios to progress the work. The plan was for each regional grouping to generate their own ‘makings,’ including, but not limited to, writing, drawings, diagrams, objects of inspiration, photos, voice recordings, and snatches of jazz, to be collectively shared at the 9 October gathering.
An early prompt question was, ‘how would you describe a pivotal/seminal moment in your passage towards coaching becoming’
The Bristol group followed a pattern of pairs and trio activities designed to generate makings. These participants then came together on 8th June at Arnos Manor to share collective makings, and to refine their collective making – a series of collages to take forward to the CCG-wide gathering on 9 October 2023. The London group met twice, sharing written makings, and supporting each other in their inquiries offline. The Sheffield meeting was confounded by snow, but have coalesced around Bob Garvey’s continuing inquiry. The Devon group has met once. It was anticipated that considerable personal and professional development will accrue from participation in this project – and that bonds and networks will be deepened and strengthened. This outcome has eventuated in abundance as the project has progressed.
This methodology has been naturalistically driven, and emergent to date. At its heart lies an action research / narrative inquiry / writing-as-inquiry / action learning approach. In spirit, it shares common cause of with the ‘on the Becoming of a coach’ project in being philosophically based on Interpretative Phenomenology and Hermeneutics as it concerns an inquiry into lived experience, and the process of sense-making from the same inquiry. We have chosen the term ‘becoming’ with regard to the emergent nature of what we are inquiring into, which is about what we are ‘becoming,’ and also considers ‘how we are becoming.’ The first in-person meeting in Bristol reinforced the notion that a principal purpose of this inquiry is to help participants to discover something that we each now know and cherish about ourselves that we didn’t know before.
The project is primarily for the benefit of the inquirers, in line with essential action research principles. It does not have to feature classical research outcomes such as peer-reviewed papers or material for conferences that, at times, enhance the researcher above the researched. A driving force behind this inquiry has been an urge to return to the CCG roots as a space for deep inquiry that illumines the field.
September 2023 curation of individual articles for Special Edition of the AMED journal ‘e-Organisations and People’
Bob Garvey, when working on the publication of pieces falling out of the major Rajasinghe et al project, discovered an opportunity for individual writers within the CCG ‘becoming’ groups to contribute short 1500-word pieces reflecting on their individual becoming journeys, the deadline for end September being met by seven contributors. This activity is now in the hands of Bob and the AMED editor Pauline Willis, who will progress this in due course. If nothing else, this invitation has prompted a decided acceleration in the production and sharing of written pieces.
October 9th 2023 CCG Becoming Gathering at Arnos Manor
This meeting was designed to pull together all of the various makings from the various regional becoming meetings. This sharing resulted in the identification of 16 broad themes. These themes are now being further worked up by participants to a point of agreement, at which point the group will decide where these themes go from here. A summary of this gathering is attached.
CCG book – a collection of becoming accounts, to be published in late 2023.
Daniel Doherty has agreed to curate and take to publication a collection of becoming accounts, for which high appetite was expressed, particularly among those who have part completed their work.
To move this along, I suggest a word limit of 1500 – 4500 words, though it could be at either end of the scale.
It would be really helpful if submissions were proofed for typos and grammticos – otherwise I may have to charge a small fee for so doing.
CCG Graphics collection
In addition to the Book collection, it was suggested by Mary that we might also pull together visual representations, including collages, Venn diagrams etc, for sharing and distribution, online or in book form.
25th April 2024 – in-person gathering to continue Becoming work.
16 / 17th October In person – just for us.
9th October Emergent Themes
- The nature of wisdom – and how that shows up in our work
- The search for personal truth
- The use of powerful personal accidents, ricochets, and interruptions to deepen our interventions
- Curiosity as a driving force – nosiness
- Revealing vulnerabilities – self and clients
- Being on the outside, becoming on the outside
- Personal origin stories, foundation stories, the weaving of narrative
- The resistance to name or categorise our practice
- Is coaching a bullshit job – pure social construction
- Stripped back – what is at the heart of coaching practice – that never goes away
- Pervasive ambiguity, ambivalences, paradox, and a sense it will never be finished
- Is this CCG group at beyond conventional coaching in our career stage?
- Is coaching as a profession moving towards peak coaching
- Transitions – at a personal level but also at the macro level for the profession – and client perceptions of what it is – and whether it is needed
- Writing as a sense-making practice
What happens after coaching?
what comes after coaching? we considered a number of levels eg what comes after coaching for the client, for the coaching, what comes after coaching for the coaching profession, and what happens for the coach when the economic need for coaching goes?
This theme will continue to emerge