Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Monday, 29 August 2011

Coaching upwards?

I was asked last week if you could coach upwards - this question was met with cackles of laughter and ribald humour from the rest of the group. "I'd like to see you try" said one, "Sounds like a career limiting move" said another. Much sucking of teeth and rolling of eyes ensued.

I found myself having mixed reactions - if we honestly believe that during a coaching conversation the parties concerned are equals then there ought not to be a barrier to coaching .. in either direction. However folks in organisations don't tend to leave their roles and positions at the door - there are power inequalities whether we like it or not. The boss does have the power to shape the work environment.

I think what my audience were reacting to was the idea that a boss might need help with his thinking or might have space to develop a bit and that is something on the whole they might not want to show to their subordinates. Give feedback to your boss - not a chance!

So.. what is permissible in your organisation. Could you give the boss feedback? Could you coach your boss?

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