What makes the CCG distinctive? members survey results 2022

In late 2022, we decided to conduct a current survey collecting members views on the place of the CCG in their personal and professional lives – and what it is that keeps them coming.   This what members new and old had to say, not only about the CCG, but also about the current coaching practice, and their orientation to the coaching world

In late 2022, we decided to conduct a current survey collecting members views on the place of the CCG in their personal and professional lives – and what it is that keeps them coming.   This what members new and old had to say, not only about the CCG, but also about the current state of coaching world, and their relationship to it.

 How would you describe the CCG to others?

Part of my support system.  There I meet with people who are wise and knowledgeable but also genuinely interested in each other.  I have, for example, yet to encounter any sense of self-service, professional predatoriness or avarice. The idea of it being a coaching group is not the preferred emphasis, rather it is about the freedom to be curious and relax into the safety of knowing that you simply don’t know everything (or even very much) but that doesn’t matter. Crucially, for me, it is where I am safe to challenge orthodoxies and explore the tacitly forbidden.  It offers me much, gives me much but promises me nothing.

A lovely loose group of coaches all learning with and from each other

For me CCRG has been a place where people can be pilgrims, tourists, explorers,   meanderers and flaneurs. Also that people can move between these identities, walking in different ways. This has been a key feature of its identity and identities and your roles within it.

A community of practice where experienced coaches of varying persuasions meet to interact with each other and to be stimulated by leaders in the field of coaching

A seasoned, well credentialed group who are unafraid to challenge coaching orthodoxy.

A confederacy of mavericks who are delighted to have found each other, to have found their ‘tribe,’ after false starts with other affiliations. This process of ‘finding’ has tended to be a fairly mysterious one, and welcome all the same.

A transgressive group who are prepared to ask the questions the business schools of professional bodies don’t ask; questions such as ‘supposing everything we know about coaching is wrong?’ or ‘Who owns coaching?  Who benefits?’

A grouping of action-researchers, practitioners, commissioners who are well into a second or third career stage.  Who are well established in their practice and discriminating with regard to the work they seek and take on.

 A group of ‘third actors’ who look to contribute to the development of practice from a positioning of accrued wisdom – without getting too ponderous in claims to ‘elderdom.’

We do our best to embrace the gifts that ageing brings – and most eschew the notion of traditional patterns of retirement in factor of continuous personal renewal.

A fluid organisation entity that remains independent of tethered affiliation to existing professional bodies or higher education institutions.

A group that shares at its heart a commitment to reflective practice in and on coaching. The reflects a commitment to ‘vertical development’ of themes or areas of inquiry rather than spreading our interest at the level of surface learning across a range of shiny offerings.  We recognise waves and bandwagons for social and business change without necessarily getting in behind these without critical review of the same – especially if these waves involve a high degree of performative virtual signaling.

We are wary of committing to a particular ideology or unitary model of practice.  Our stance is more likely to be reflexively  counter-ideology. Between us we have seen enough of these fashionable waves come and go to recognise when they come around once again, dressed as ‘new wine in old bottles.’

Newcomers to the group remark on the extent that we are able to be vulnerable with each other and to embrace ‘unknowing.’ (Vogel.) We are currently thinking that we are as much as ‘brave space’ as a ‘safe space.’ The need to ‘look awry’ is deeply engrained in our world view – and is reflected in a good humoured embracing of some of the absurdity that surrounds our developmental world.

 The group has a strong set of values and unwritten norms of behaviour which, on reflection have developed and firmed up over the life of CCG. I have noticed how some members of the group do not stay part of the group for long. Sometimes the reasons are practical, but in many instances I suspect they did not subscribe to the values of the group and disappeared when the group did not serve their purpose. A common theme amongst the ‘drop outs’is they sought to use the group for their own agenda and could not embrace the collective, critical exploration of coaching issues.

A forum where experienced coaches can discuss and critically assess aspects of coaching. The forum is a safe place where all views including those challenging the status quo are embraced. In some ways the group reflects the values and norms of an high quality coaching session where essential issues are teased out and group members encouraged and helped to find a way forward.

 A group that has over time endured and adapted while many other bodies, institutes and training providers have come and gone. Maybe there is something to be said for persistence and longevity – even legacy

A virtual coaching masters without the finals paper at the end – there is no end to learning  

A friendly, supportive, knowledgeable hub for coaches who practise, think, explore, ask questions and who don’t take themselves too seriously

CCG discussions and topics provoke reflection and challenge me to think differently and explore other ways of seeing the world. It’s so much more than ‘Coaching’

 What brought you towards the CCG?

In a word – Daniel.  At the time Daniel was a kind of informal mentor and he invited me to join. I trusted his judgement and proved right to do so.

Writing.  I met Daniel on a writing course and was invited. In a way, it found me.

Daniel’s invitation, but I remain there because of the creativity in the group and the feeling of freedom around what coaching is

Introduced to it by Bob Garvey, who was my MSc C&M supervisor and who currently provides supervision for me.

The group was recommended to me by my coaching supervisor.

Jen Gash raved about it and I was looking for a group of coaches who came from all sorts of backgrounds and experience. I wanted to learn, wonder, contribute (in a little voice but getting louder).

What in your professional origins drew you towards coaching?

  • Action `Learning practice
  • Organisation development consulting
  • Wishing to move towards shared democracy – beyond neo-liberal and neo-feudal imperatives – coaching as a force for social change,
  • Academic inquiry into developmental forms.
  • ‘a coach all my life’ before the term was glorified
  • restless – pursuing an inquiry
  • experiential learning

What is it that keeps you coming along to the CCG?

It is part of my support system.  Indeed, the group gives me much of the depth of contemplation and head-clearing relief that supervision sometimes can’t quite reach.  Mostly this has been in the shape of ideas to follow through and reading to take up as well as helpful detangling of my own mind and life.  I think that this is because there is no expectation, judgement or process involved and, again, no superstars.  ‘Critical’ does not imply critique.

The welcoming and non-judgmental atmosphere

The quality and variety of speakers and provocateurs

I think Daniel does a superb job in organising, recruiting stimulating speakers, and facilitating the meetings. I think his standing in the coaching world allows him to attract very high calibre contributors. There is clearly much goes on here behind the scenes to make all this happen so seamlessly.

 I am a relatively new person to CCG and so am aware that I may bounce up with all manner of fine things that are, simply, done and dusted.  At the moment, however, what I most value about the group is that I do not feel sidelined in any way or somehow on probation.  I am quite used to this being a feature of being new to a group of people!

Dan is brilliant and sets the tone perfectly. Speakers/ facilitators – I always take some new thinking / learning away.  It’s academic sometimes, controversial, funny often. Everyone is happy to share experiences and learning, to question.

CCG discussions and topics provoke reflection and challenge me to think differently and explore other ways of seeing the world. It’s so much more than ‘Coaching’

Content never allowed to become stale. There is always a new angle being introduced which challenges my thinking and expands my horizons

 How has your relationship with coaching evolved over time?

I have become more rebellious, yet more faithful to it.  Less respectful of the academic homesteads and their hierarchies, yet more attached to the diversity of voices I hear. I find more that the real usefulness of coaching is in places and for people outside of big corporates and their leaderships, including today’s academic landscape.

As you know I have a love/hate relationship with the coaching industry, but my take on coaching (i.e. as a compassionate guide to help another learn and grow) evolves with newly acquired skills and ideas, but the essence of me remains the same.

I have been coaching and mentoring for a significant period of time and much of this was self-taught. This prompted me to undertake an MSC in C&M in 2016 at Sheffield Business School, graduating in 2018. This confirmed my thinking that I was operating at EMCC Senior Practitioner Level and gave me a renewed sense of confidence as well as new techniques and approaches to try. Since that time, I have oscillated between an appropriate confidence and an inappropriate sense of hubris!! I think the CCG has helped me to settle into Stettler’s 3rd Generation coaching most comfortably.

I am more confident to play with coaching and less bound by my coaching training.

 I was never a ‘professional’ coach with qualifications and a full time role in the coaching world. I would therefore describe my relationship with coaching as that of an enthusiastic amateur which started as a requirement of my role as line manager, HR Director and trainer – and which has developed in sophistication and understanding through reading, development seminars, experience and of course the CCG.

How would you describe your current relationship with the world of coaching / leadership, as it presents itself to you and others?

As someone who would like to change it in many ways and, in so doing, clear the foggy understanding that surrounds it for so many in our worlds and societies. As someone who wishes to open up the scope of coaching so that it becomes part of a systemic way of living and working, thinking and being that is ethical and dares to cite values such as trust, love and beauty as lodestones.

 know I’m particularly torn regarding the accreditation bodies, who try to prevent coaching becoming the wild west, whilst at the same time perpetuating the commoditisation of coaching – need a glass of wine and good cheese for this discussion lol

I still have belief in power of coaching, but an in and out of engagement with bodies and institutions, and in and out with battles and challenges to the same. In many ways I am burnt out with making those challenges to professional entities.

I remain committed to depth inquiry, and believe that  this depth approach bears strong fruit if you are unfair to dive into vulnerability and unknowing.

I continue to pour myself into writing and review, which comes out aa raw and naked at time; while recognising not everyone is up for this level of internal challenge

Coaching – oh some people get the value of it and some don’t (usually before they try it and just question the price). Lots of people want direction, advice. That’s ok if done in a good way. Some love the enquiry, depth, space to find ways of thinking that really change stuff.  They’re the ones I love working with. Sometimes it’s more transactional and we sit on the edge of connection. That’s ok too as they get something too.

Leaders – oh I battle with the word.  People who use the word a lot for themselves can get stuck. I’ve always disliked labels, pigeon holes but humans generally seem to want them, a constant struggle for me. Sometimes I meet people who question it too and that’s wonderful.

Leadership…that’s a tricky thing. A set of behaviors rather than a role/title…but sometimes that’s hard to live out and for others to believe in.

My time with CCG has developed an early suspicion of the large coaching ‘professional’ bodies who set themselves up as creators and arbiters of good practice, but in reality are essentially self-serving.

Which aspects of the current coaching landscape do you push against?

So many! Goals. The rule of the Model.  Insisting on success as definable. The sense of wanting to box it in and nail it down along with all those involved when one of its beauties is that it is unregulated, diverse and has no single USP.   Also the whole competencies and accreditation standards stuff (which goes with the afore said). Another way to put this is that coaching is part of the world and not a container within it that produces items for sale.  That coaching is a career-choice is assumed and the paraphernalia of business is ever more built up around it, but there may be another way to look at it; this is one of the things the CCG helps me struggle with !

Generally, anyone who tries to set too many rules around what coaching is and isn’t.

The simplistic, formulated approach that promises ‘results’ despite the complexities of the human condition

 so many pressures to join groups, bodies, networks that are keen to capture and keep me

shallow virtue signaling, and shallow engagement with causes

I am in some despair that the need for a guru still persists – this is proven model if you want your offering to gain traction – and the guru is most usually a man.

grooming of novitiates with dodgy prospectuses

giving legitimacy to coaches to act as psychological diagnosticians – who can declare where a client ‘sits on the spectrum.’

so many unqualified folk out there in the wild west peddling all sorts of dodgy therapies – including hypnotherapy.

The dominance of NLP

Bogus spiritual claims

Boasting about extravagant fee rates

Judging performance on fees alone

Labels, categories, pigeonholes. Hierarchy.

Organisations that want to fix people. People who’ve been made to believe that they need to be fixed (I don’t push against them just what made them feel like that).

Big coaching companies that just do a job and measure productivity against it.

 In comparison with other coaching entities or bodies, what is CCG not?

 An overseer, a pedagogue, a business or a definer of practice and purpose.

an institute, a training body, a cult

A guerrilla marketing wing for someone else

An academic entity, an awarding body, a professional body

a place to relive the traumas, a spiritual community

not led by a self appointed guru 

A stickler for rules

 New directions in practice that respondents mentioned

  • bio leadership
  • systems leadership
  • bio dynamics
  • sustainability
  • antii fad and virtue
  • regenerative
  • agarism
  • regenerative way – regenerative energy
  • healing
  • coaching as dialogic relationship
  • the poetics of coaching dialogue
  • writing it all down
  • narrative practice
  • story telling
  • giving back
  • scruffy research
  • vertical development
  • focus on one or two things
  • how to keep yourself alive amid all of this

I am looking forward to the Group making things together.  Things like some much needed research and some writing that allows coaches and those of their kind to fly because it pushes them off the edge (apologies to Guillaume Apollinaire).