Findhorn College sat down with Helen Sieroda, founder of Wise Goose Coaching to discuss what she’s learnt during her career of cultivating coaches.
Findhorn College (FC): What would you say are the five top characteristics of a good Coach?
Helen Sieroda (HS): First and foremost, is self-awareness. This is about developing the capacity to self-reflect, to honestly assess one’s own strengths and identify ‘learning edges’. Secondly, I would say the quality of presence is immensely important. This means being able to hold the client within a wide, inclusive frame, seeing the whole person, not merely a problem to fix. Thirdly, the quality of courage. To positively confront and to provide clear feedback. In a sense, to hold up a mirror is what it’s all about. Coaching is often about taking risks in relationship.
A fourth characteristic of a good coach is being comfortable with not knowing. Having an ability to tolerate ‘dissonance’, paradox and the unknown. And lastly, respect and empathy, which is the basis really of any coaching relationship. A good coach must be willing to suspend judgement while remaining authentically oneself.
FC: Is Coaching needed now more than ever, and if so, why?
HS: Today the idea of a traditional, linear career path is fading rapidly. Globalisation, the call for greater accountability and a move towards ethical, purposeful and responsible business practices are some of the factors that have dramatically shifted the landscape of work. It’s becoming mainstream to have social and environmental purpose core to strategy, supported by purpose-driven leaders. Also, today people are increasingly seeking meaningful work with relevance to the wider community.
Organisations that use business to address issues of social justice, environmental sustainability and well being, attract and inspire employees, engage stakeholders and build resilience to market challenges. Coaches can help organisations close the gap between these ideals and reality to deliver extraordinary outcomes.
Coaching is now recognised as a powerful means of facilitating individual and group performance. Today, organisations are faced with unprecedented change; coaches can help them respond creatively.
FC: What is the ‘Wise Goose’ approach to coaching? How is it different to that of other providers?
HS: Our programmes are at the leading edge of a ‘pro-business, pro-future’ vision of coaching. We believe the field of coaching has the potential to become a ‘noble profession’. We hold conventional personal, performance and executive coaching approaches in a wider context – transforming the way we see ourselves and our place in the world, contributing to human flourishing and building a better world – creating success with a soul.
It’s the combination/synthesis or a variety of elements makes our courses different. The depth and richness of the content is the result of a creative synthesis of approaches designed by coaches who have undertaken extensive professional and personal development, together with comprehensive research and practice in the approaches used.
We employ experiential learning to integrate theory, build confidence and high levels of skill. We maintain a dynamic balance between theory and practice. And hold a systemic, ‘networked’ approach that sees coaching as a powerful source for good in the world. Above all, we move beyond a ‘one size fits all coach training. We develop centred and courageous coaches with their own unique style and ‘coach presence’.
Helen Sieroda has trained, coached, mentored and supervised professionals in the UK and Europe for over 25 years. She founded Wise Goose School of Coaching in 2012 and designs and delivers training in coaching at foundation and advanced levels. You can read more about her work at wisegoose.co.uk