MODEL AGILITY: COACHING EFFECTIVENESS AND FOUR PERSPECTIVES ON A CASE STUDY

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Abstract

The effectiveness of coaching can be enhanced if coaches are familiar with multiple psychological models, can hold these in mind simultaneously, and are able to apply them as appropriate to their clients—a capacity we refer to as model agility. To illustrate this capacity we first explore some of its ramifications and parallels to the challenges of leaders as well as leadership coaches. Then, using 4 well-known psychological models (cognitive behavioral, psychoanalytic, positive psychology, and adult development), we present an annotated transcript of a coaching session to show how agility translates into different questions and formulations of the coaching engagement. We conclude with a discussion of the value of this approach to coaching. Implicit in our perspective is the idea that the psychological models and their applications to coaching differ from therapy but still can usefully inform how a coach frames the engagement. It also assumes these do not form a complete approach, because organizational-dynamics, cultural, and other factors also create a context within which the coach and client operate.

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