The coach state is a state of mind and physical being that has been developed by the International Association for Generative Change (IAGC). The IAGC was founded by Robert Dilts (A thought leader in the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Stephen Gilligan (A premier teacher and practitioner of Ericksonian hypnotherapy). Some are calling it third generation coaching.
The vision of the IAGC is, “of a world where people around the planet are empowered and awakened to creatively meet the challenges of our time by living the principles of Generative Change. This vision is grounded in Creative Collaboration– developing patterns of shared consciousness that harmonize to realize positive transformation.”
The coach or ‘C.O.A.C.H’ state is an acronym for the following:
C – Centered in your mind and body so that you are in rapport with yourself and others
O – Open to the world of new ideas, people and different perspectives
A – Aware to the needs and aspirations of others with the right level of attention
C – Connected to others, including the energy in the environment that you are present in now
H – Holding that environment and the resources within with positive regard and intention.
Consider this state for a moment. Imagine what it is like to have all of these things in place for you right now. What would that do for you and your team? What can start to shift? What changes might begin? How would this be beneficial for you and your organisation?
David Potter and James McCalman in their book, ‘Leading Cultural Change’ talk about the importance of rapport in managing cultural change.
“It is widely accepted that up to 70% of change management projects fail to realise all of their objectives. One significant reason for this is that aspiring change leaders fail to appreciate the importance of rapport building processes or of the methods one can employ to build rapport.” David Potter and James McCalman
They also go on to say how rapport is not a concept that comes up in organisations that are under-going ‘transformational change’. “The emphasis is usually placed upon communication as a general change strategy.” Often the following topics come up; Team meetings, focus groups, surveys and presentations. Potter and McCalman argue that rapport is the significant component that is missing from this.
Tony Robbins claims that ‘Rapport is Power’ in that rapport provides the power to change, and that this doesn’t only apply at the personal level but also to organisations overall.
In his book, “How to win friends and Influence People” Dale Carnegie talks a lot about relationship management. A major part of this is the strength of rapport that two people have with one and other.
In contrast to the COACH state, Dilts and Gilligan also describe a CRASH. This is:
C – Contracted and self-protecting and consequently closed to the ideas and influences of others
R – Reactive to events, thoughts and ideas of others
A – Analysis paralysis which can be caused by over-thinking a situation and getting stuck
S – Separated from others in this state of mind and not available to connect with others in a more significant way. Relations are transactional in this place
H – Hurting as a result of this separation. After prolonged periods, negative feelings of disappointment, resentment or rejection from the wider social field can develop.
As human beings, each of us is capable of both states and many points in-between. You might look along a spectrum of states with COACH and CRASH being the ends of that spectrum.
Part of the work of us as coaches, is to build our own awareness and understanding of when we’re in each state and how we can get back to our coach state and also to coach our clients in the same process.
Jon Sleeper is an experienced Executive and Generative Coach and Agile Practitioner helping leaders, teams and organisations to achieve effective change.