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Making transformative conversations possible

Currently, I am interviewing executive coaches for CSA’s coaching supervision programmes. Some of these conversations truly catch fire and are as memorable for me as they are for our course delegates.

I notice too how supervisees will sometimes say that ‘time stood still’ in their sessions with a particular client or that at some point in the coaching conversation, they disregarded the ‘coaching manual’, and went with the flow – went where the client needed them to go. Often coaches will ask – was I right to do that? My experience is that, especially as coaches mature in their practice, they will find themselves drawn out from the safety of the ‘rule book’ and into a living dialogue with their client. When we look into these pivotal moments in conversation, we see that they are the moments of breakthrough, of transformation.

Our demanding, ambitious, stressed clients need the best of us, need to us to know when to use our  techniques and classic coaching processes. But they also need us to have the courage  to step into the  uncertain waters of transformational dialogue and meet them from the deepest parts of ourselves. When we do not do this, our coaching is thin. Or as the poet, William Stafford says,

‘Technique used for itself, will rot the soul.’


So how do we know went to stay with classic coaching skills and interventions and when to ‘let go….to let come’  (Sharmer/Senge, TheoryU)?

How can your internal supervisor help you with this decision?

Do you know what it is in you that ignites your professional conversations?

How do you nourish that in you?


Edna Murdoch  April 2013