22 May, 2010

Coaching people through transitions - lifespan development perspective

Some thoughts on how we can bring lifespan development theories to our work in coaching people through transitions.

I was responding to a question from a student today following a university lecture I gave on coaching people through the parenthood transition, as part of a coaching psychology module. We had been looking at Levinson’s (1978, 1996) ideas about transitions and life eras, as well as cognitive-developmental approaches, such as Kegan (1982). Thought it would be helpful to share these thoughts more broadly:

The way I tie the life eras and developmental stages into my perspective on transitions is:
1. that people may have different goals depending on their life stage, so it can help our empathy as coaches to tune in to that (could be very different from the goals we might assume if we are not currently in that life phase e.g. varying career goals etc) (e.g. Cox, 2006)
2. people at different developmental stages will have access to different resources, solutions and states within themselves for handling complexity, relationships and demands and we have to work with people at the stage they are at, rather than assuming they are at the same stage we are (may be further on or further behind so to speak), or wishing they were at a different stage that might be easier to work with. (e.g. Kegan, 1982, 1994)

However, an important proviso: as coaches / coaching psychologists, while it can be helpful to have insight into where people are ‘coming from’ the most important thing - in my opinion and experience - is to be present to the real individual in the room rather than getting caught up in our imagination of who they are because of their life stage (so we carry the psychological knowledge ‘lightly’).

For more on the references behind this, please see the extended text by clicking the title of this entry. And do email me if you have a shared interest in this area.

30 April, 2010

Association for Coaching Leadership Coaching Conference 8 July 2010

I’m looking forward to this Association for Coaching Leadership Coaching conference, which I will be reporting for Special Group in Coaching Psychology publication The Coaching Psychologist.
Details and booking are on the Association for Coaching website, and there is a flyer attached below here.


21 April, 2010

Wisdom, Uncertainty and Imagery: my SGCP Events Report

In my role as Conference and Events Reporter for the British Psychological Society Special Group in Coaching Psychology, I regularly report events for our publication: The Coaching Psychologist.
A combined report on three excellent events from 2009 can be read on the SGCP website.
SGCP Event Report
The events are:
The Psychology of Wisdom: Connections for Coaching.
Julie Allan, March 2009.
Working with Uncertainty - An Existential Perspective for Coaching Psychologists.
Professor Ernesto Spinelli, May 2009.
Imagery Techniques for use within Coaching Psychology and Coaching Practice.
Professor Stephen Palmer, August 2009.

12 March, 2010

Transitions and the Meaning of Life: The Vital Role of Coaching Psychology

Jennifer Liston-Smith; Siobhain O’Riordan and Sheila Panchal led a workshop at the Association for Coaching Conference Going Global 2010, exploring the implications for coaching of three ‘meaning of life’ turning points across the lifespan: turning 30 (Sheila Panchal), becoming a parent (Jennifer Liston-Smith) and Retirement / later life (Dr. Siobhain O’Riordan).

The conference programme information read like this:
Workshop: ‘Transitions and the Meaning of Life: The Vital Role of Coaching Psychology’
Do you coach people through those big ‘meaning of life’ moments? With bags of experience working in major organisations and of shaping the world of coaching psychology, these presenters will share an opportunity to deepen your work with people who are Turning 30, Becoming a Parent or Retiring. And you’ll have a chance to refresh your own life vision! Come and share a lively exploration of the psychology behind transitions and an upbeat look at today’s generational factors, globalisation, and global repositioning. Placed in context with questions such as, ‘How do these affect people’s transitions today?’ and ‘What are the new pressures, challenges and opportunities?’