If you’ve not already read it and your organisation uses Executive Coaches, you might wish to download a copy of our recent article – Great Expectations – which was published in Coaching At Work in May 2010. In the article, our Practice Director, Dr Anton Franckeiss, makes the case that coaching must become more than just a cosy conversation as the world tentatively emerges from recession.

Although its contribution can be invaluable, coaching is a young profession that is still defining itself: its credibility is also vulnerable to its appeal to those who can relatively easily gain generic coaching skills but may not have the operational business experience to apply these skills to the very real requirements of senior level managers and leaders. But specific requirements cannot be met with generalist resources.

The message has to be that the purpose of the coaching relationship is to deliver outcomes that provide practical solutions to both business and people issues. The role of the coach should not be simply to soothe and sympathise, but also – in the context of a supportive dialogue – to challenge, and to provide signpost and options that deliver potential solutions: a willingness to change is central to the task.

As we enjoy thinking aloud, but not necessarily alone, we’d be interested in your responses to the article, and your comments on your own experiences and requirements – or your organisation’s use of coaching. If you’d like to share your thoughts and experiences with a wider world – and listen to the thoughts of others – please post your comments below. We hope that the conversation will be more than simply … well, cosy.