In 2008 François Breuer has given in Ghana at the international conference of IODA a lecture on ‘Eight Perspectives for Coaching’. This lecture was based on a workshop for experienced coaches. Later he was asked to elaborate this lecture in an article which was published in a shorter version in the newsletter of IODA in 2009 and in a longer version on the website of IODA.
In this article several approaches are described which are in use as theories of practice for coaches who work with clients to improve their functioning in a professional role. It can be seen that coaches are in general very competent in one or maybe two different styles of working with clients, not more.
As a consequence it is mostly by accident that a coachee is getting the right approach for her situation. People who are acting as go-between or referrals inside the corporations, such as HR-managers, or MD-officers, are looking for a sound reference to know what possibilities are on the market and how to make evidence based distinctions between coaches in terms of expertise and competence.
In this article eight different approaches are described which have their own strong and weak points.
The objective of this article is to raise the interest for coaches to broaden their scope and repertoire and to provide a comprehensive overview as a guideline for further development.
Discussed are the rational-cognitive approach, reframing, the supporting style, psycho-dynamics, system dynamics, the solution focused and appreciative approaches, the provocative style, and the narrative approach.
In 2008 François Breuer published a chapter (ch 10) on: ‘Playing in the Narrative Space’ in de book of Léon de Caluwé, Gert Jan Hofstede and Vincent Peters (eds), Why do Games Work? In search of the Active Substance.
Several examples of experimental learning are discussed where a narrative space is created to provide an active condition for learning, discovering meaning and a change of attitude.
confronting the difficulty of applying newly learned behaviour and to demonstrate a newly acquired attitude in a simulated assignment by a client system with complex demands on different levels of understanding
exploring alternative points of view by identifying with the other
shifting punctuation in a discourse with an opponent and even recognizing his virtual friend as a source of internal knowledge
being able to find the answer to a complex situation in a metaphor for the dynamics of the system as a whole.
All these internal movements while acting externally demand from the participant a versatility that is embedded in the story shared with the other actors in the games described. The setting of a narrative space opens up this possibillity of exoperimenting, shiftying positions, experiencing different points of view and finding meaning in an embracing metaphor.
In 2007 the following chapter has been published by Wiley in a book edited by Jaap Boonstra and Léon de Caluwé, Intervening and Changing, Looking for Meaning in Interactions: chapter 3. François Breuer, ‘Applying the Narrative Approach in Organisational Change’.
Storytelling is discussed as an interactive method in organisational change, team development and coaching. A short introduction is given to the undelying model: the narrative approach. The interaction between teller and listener offers the possibillity to create a Narrative Space which stimulates exchange and finding meaning. Beside some negative uses, several positive functions can be attributed to storytelling such as culture forming, fostering transitions, working through emotional events and the creation of new realities. Application in the practice of organisation development offers a broad spectrum of interactive interventions, in different settings, such as organisational change, team development and coaching or reflective learning. Not the least interesting one concerns the telling of a story, which is containing a metaphor, in order to acquire, in bypassing the resistance, acceptance for a difficult message.