What is an exceptional coach?

This article by Dagley (full reference below) is incredibly insightful for anybody who wears a coach label as it describes coaching practices that have exceptional outcomes. I used it for a literature review in my doctorate, but I want to share it here as well. Dagley’s (2010) point was to articulate the differentiating factors between mainstream and exceptional coaches. The interviews provided insights that intense early engagement, variety in conversational approaches, and business-centric awareness are all elements of the exceptional coach. Additionally, they “are able to engage and motivate executives toward action and change” (p. 69). This action was attributed to the coach’s understanding that change responsibility lay with the coachee and that refined coaching practices were used to raise difficult and uncomfortable issues for the coachee.

This article provides two models that demonstrated links of the themes uncovered in the interviews. The first model was a summary where the first level showed what it takes to achieve outstanding outcomes “without differentiating any individual coach intervention practices” (Dagley, 2010, p. 72). The second level showed the executive’s experiences within the coaching relationship, and then the third level showed the coach’s practices and attributes. The second model presented the detailed version of the first figure that showed the eight practices used by exceptional coaches as identified through the interviews.

This demonstrates the strength of change-based coaching, which is not heavily integrated with educational development or training of tools and approaches. It is focused on assisting leaders to make decisions based on behavioral patterns. This implies the need for experienced coaches that have strong personal development to not only tolerate challenging environments, but also guide those environments to an area of positive change. This shifts the emphasis of coaching from training and development to personal development.

Dagley, G. (2010). Exceptional executive coaches: Practices and attributes. International Coaching Psychology Review, 5(1), 63-82.

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About Marian

My passion is centered around ensuring effective learning experiences that improve people's lives. Developing a learning mindset is my ultimate goal whether working with academic programs or corporate training; formal or informal learning practices. It is my belief that our potential for agility is limited only by our capacity for learning.