Bifocal Vision

In a recent coaching supervision session the coach asked me whose agenda the coach should follow - that of the coach, the coachee or the client. The immediate answer is often that it is the coachee's agenda that we should follow. But if the coaching has been commissioned by an organisational client then of course that client, typically represented by the coachee's line manager or HR advisor, should contribute to specifying the organisational benefit the coaching is intended to deliver. But whether the coaching is privately or organisationally funded, there is also another agenda in play.

When we ask a coachee what they would like to get out of the coaching, or out of a particular session, we discover what their explicit agenda is. But there is also a larger context within which the coaching happens. This larger context concerns the journey our coachees are making through their lives to the fullness of who they can be. But the nature of this journey is often elusive and unfolds only gradually.

A key role we can play is to notice these signs of unfolding and help them come into being. We act as a mirror, reflecting back to the coachee what is emerging so that they can see more clearly and then cooperate with what is happening rather than work against it. Thus, in working with coachees, our goal is to help them achieve their explicit agenda whilst at the same time to support them in bringing into being those things that are seeking expression in their lives. In terms of Psychosynthesis these can be thought of as emerging from our unconscious - either the lower unconscious when patterns that no longer serve them are ready to be resolved and transcended or the higher unconscious when some aspect of their potential and future is ready to be embraced.

So as coaches we focus on two things: the topic that the coachee is directly presenting to us and the journey through life that the coachee is travelling. This "bifocal vision" enables us to serve both who the coachee is and who they are becoming. If we can manage this effectively then we enable our coachees to achieve their immediate coaching goals - and to do so in a way that is aligned with their larger purpose.