Core Coaching Principles

My core coaching principles

I have learnt from experience that most people have the answers to their challenges and dilemmas within themselves, and can be helped to discover them. This is true, whether I am working with individuals or groups. Given the right conditions, people can and do find their own solutions. “As a coach you should never underestimate the value of hearing someone out…Very often people resolve their problems, issues and conflicts…without significant intervention” (Bluckert, 2006).


Being authentic, to me, means being open and honest. I try to be myself when I am with clients, because I believe this is the only way to build trusting working relationships. Everything I do is informed by Arnold Beisser’s Paradoxical Theory of Change:

“Change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not”.

The wording is awkward, but the meaning is profound. We need to discover and accept who we really are in order to make change happen.


I work alongside my clients to help them find the answers to their dilemmas and problems. In this sense coaching is a learning journey that we take together. And, as experienced travelers know, it helps when the chemistry between the two of us is good, and both of us are curious and comfortable with a degree of uncertainty and risk.


“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for a lifetime”.

My goal is to make myself redundant by helping my clients learn how to coach themselves. It’s quite possible to self-coach by getting into the habit of stopping and asking ourselves what it is we really want to do. I do it myself.

Having worked for some years in leadership and sustainable development, I am also interested in discovering ways to apply coaching tools and techniques in the service of a more sustainable future. My current thinking is that coaching for sustainability will include the following ingredients:

  • Taking a systems view, encouraging clients to see the bigger picture
  • Paying attention to the environment in which my client operates, noticing how it impacts upon them, and how they impact upon their environment
  • Asking questions that help my clients to learn their own way out of challenges and dilemmas
  • Forming hypotheses but keeping an open mind