I started a Master’s in Coaching, and that’s giving my life and this blog a new focus
At the beginning of September, I started a Master’s in Coaching at the University of Cambridge.
If you have been reading this blog, you should know by now that I am passionate about coaching and personal growth (of others, but also mine). I have been looking at options for furthering my education in coaching for a while now, and this program from the University of Cambridge checked all the boxes.
On top of everything else, I get to go to Cambridge for a few days every semester.
I am very excited about this new adventure, but the next couple of years will be demanding. They will be insightful and stimulating but also challenging.
So I went to Cambridge to spend a hot, sweaty and intellectually stimulating week among 15 strangers who will be my travel companions for the next two years. A few of them will become good friends, too.
This first unit was all about coaching psychology, which is the branch of psychology that concerns itself with studying coaching.
Coaching is a multidisciplinary practice that takes from many different areas, such as philosophy, anthropology, sociology, management, and sports, but psychology is arguably the most important one. After all, coaching is about enacting change at the rational, emotional, and behavioural levels of an individual or a team, so there is a lot of psychology involved.
If any science can give a more evidence-based and scientific approach to coaching, that is psychology.
I studied humanities and business, not psychology, so there are still many things for me to learn about how to use psychology best to improve my coaching.
In that sense, the entire week was eye-opening. I am still assimilating what I learned, but I have already started using new approaches in my coaching and feel confident that I am already a (slightly) better coach.
From Freud to Positive Psychology…
When I trained as a coach a few years ago, it was mainly on ontological coaching, which focuses on the being of the coachee in the world, with particular attention to language, emotions and the body.
Since then, I’ve been reading about other approaches, but I hadn’t realised how many different ways we coaches have to accompany our clients in their journey towards self-knowledge and growth.
For example, cognitive behavioural coaching (CBC) centres around cognitive and behavioural processes to help problem-solving and enact change on the coachee.
If you are more inclined towards the Freudian school of thought, you could go with psychodynamic coaching, which focuses on the subconscious and the defences we unconsciously put against others. These defences are usually helpful, but they can also be limiting. A psychodynamic coach will help their clients undo the problems created by the incorrect use of those defences.
Then you have the humanistic branch of psychology, which is well suited for coaching, as it focuses more on the human being as an empowered and able individual who has all the answers she needs within herself. This branch includes Gestalt coaching based on Gestalt therapy, the ontological coaching I was so familiar with, the person-centred approach, or Maslow and the focus on self-actualisation.
What I found most intriguing, however, is another humanistic school of thought, and that is existentialism applied to coaching. Existential coaches help their clients untangle the Big Questions of life: death, temporality, freedom and choice, purpose and the meaning of life. These are all topics I am interested in (who isn’t?), so I will be researching and learning more about this type of coaching. I will definitely be writing about existential coaching moving forward.
Last but not least, we have positive psychology, which is the branch of psychology that focuses on what is right with human beings: well-being, happiness and fulfilment. This has been very popular lately, also among coaches. I have heard coaching defined as the applied and practical arm of positive psychology.
Coaching is much more than that, but the definition has its nugget of truth. We coaches also focus on what is right in the human psyche, and we try to make it even more right.
All this post is to say that I will focus on coaching in the next couple of years. I will be reading, studying and practising more coaching than ever.
This will impact the rest of my life, including this blog.
I have also written a lot about leadership, the qualities of the future leader, coaching and personal growth in general because they are linked to creating a better future. We will only create a better society if each of us grows and becomes a better person and if we are led by leaders with the correct values and qualities.
I will continue writing about future trends and the future of work. This is still the focus of this website, but it is only natural that I will focus more on coaching and personal growth. Most of my reading and thinking will be in this area, so it will be difficult for me to focus on other areas. I will be learning a lot, and I hope to be able to transmit my learnings here.
I hope you will join me on my journey towards greater self-awareness, learning and growth.
Enjoy the ride.