Coaching Report # 2

Evidence Based Coaching -in the workplace
“The purpose of coaching is to produce behavioral change and growth in the coachee for the economic benefit of the client. However, barriers for entry into coaching are nonexistent, with many executive coaches knowing little about business, coaching and behavioral change. The best way to maximize the likelihood of good results is to qualify all the people involved.” – Harvard Business Online
‘Evidence-based’ is a scientific approach whereby professional practice is capable of being justified in terms of sound evidence based upon a process of methodical clinical and industry research, evaluation, and the utilisation of up-to-date systematic research findings to support decisions about practice. Evidence-based coaching is a way of distinguishing professional practice grounded in proven science versus the simplistic, unproven coaching approach popularized by the many coaching associations and coach training providers engaged in mass-marketing to a primarily uneducated marketplace.

Evidence based coaching with industry best practice invalidates previously accepted approaches and replaces them with new ones that are more powerful, more accurate, more efficacious, and safer.

Evidence based coaching allows the practitioner to provide his/her client more effective and accurate assessment, more informed program planning and selection of the appropriate coaching technology.
Coaches operate in a very high degree of isolation. Research has shown that coaches who work primarily alone and do not acquire latest evidence based coaching knowledge -tend to: invent things as they go along and rely on books and articles (which frequently results in greater myth and confusion than improved clarity of knowledge).

Belief-based Coaching
Belief based coaching is a common and traditional form of coaching. Its guidelines for practices are usually a mix of personal experiences, some basic education about training and professional development, selected incomplete knowledge of coaching practices, and a self-belief in the practitioner’s coaching approach. Any changes in coaching practices usually only occur through a process of self-selection.

The accumulated knowledge of belief-based coaching is subjective, biased, unstructured, and mostly lacking in accountability. Belief-based coaching also includes pseudo-scientific coaching. Pseudo-scientists (versus qualified behavioral scientists) attempt to give the impression of scientific knowledge but invariably their knowledge is incomplete resulting in false/erroneous postulations.

Today, belief-based coaching is the foundation of most organizational coaching programs. Most organizations are not learning organizations, are isolated and resist any contrary evidence that might challenge their beliefs and HR or Learning practices/standards. Many practitioners either are unaware of their level of practice or simply do not want to hear that they require further instructed, more advanced learning.

Evidence-based Coaching versus Belief-based (B-B) Novice Coaching
– Evidence-based coaching utilizes a behavioral coaching model that makes predictions that can be verified.

– Novice reasoning is characterised by B-B coaches because they have lower levels of validated procedural knowledge and relevant experience. This lack of procedural knowledge has an impact on how novices manage a client. Novices who do not have any history of best practice situational contexts find it difficult to judge the relevance and importance of certain aspects of a task. The notion of pattern recognition or forward reasoning is another key component which separates novice coaches from expert practitioners who are trained and mentored in the use of a behavioral coaching model.

– Belief-based coaching attempts to explain why something happened with little chance of ever testing the associations depicted in the explanation. Vagueness or an inability to predict can be attractive to some coaches because they cannot be held accountable for their results. These coaches propagate the Principle of Uncertainty beyond reasonable limits so that any error can be disguised as uncontrolled “nature” rather than deliberate disorder. Evidence therefore, can only place unnecessary constraints and accountability upon their practice.

Assessing the behavior, knowledge, skills, and abilities of individuals is critical in the coaching process. Many coaches rely heavily on off-the-shelf assessment instruments as the foundation of their approach to coaching. Unfortunately, some very popular and easily accessible instruments have little or no data to demonstrate their value or their usefulness. In the special reports we provide to industry we encourage prospective coaching clients to ask questions to determine if the coach can separate the pseudo-scientific, faddish and trendy tools from truly useful, valid and reliable tools. Additionally, we also encourage prospective clients to find out what assessment instruments the coach has access to since many are only available to coaches who have been trained and mentored by a facilitator who is also a licensed clinical psychologist.

Coaching practices are typically disordered and simplistic in organizations and countries/regions where coaching is being introduced. The sponsors and practitioners who now lead these coaching initiatives need to undertake appropriate training and re-skilling in order to introduce more evidence based practices that are more common in the learning organizations that are leading the world and securing a future for themselves.

The Behavioral Coaching Institute’s industry-proven Certified Master Coach Course meets the critical needs for business and executive coaches to be trained and mentored in the use of evidence-based models, tools and techniques.

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