Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Coaching Mastery – Societal Impacts: Revealing the steward leader inside every client

Coaching Mastery – Societal Impacts: Revealing the steward leader inside every client

We recently published an article entitled “Coaching Mastery – Societal Impacts: Revealing the steward leader in side every client” written by Janet M. Harvey, MCC, CMS, ACS

While not a new concept, stewardship and steward leadership are terms easily searched and found today in blogs, social media and published articles. What motivates this emergence now? Tune into the deeper rhythm in human society, and something primal and biological becomes apparent as the source. Fear. Not the version Zig Ziglar made famous (“False Evidence Appearing Real”), but rather the instinctive sense that something and/or someone threatens a person or a community’s personal security.

Left to linger, this type of fear evokes hopeless, helpless, powerless feelings, motivating humans to seek out others – steward leaders – who can help, exercise power and restore real hope. 

Neuroscientist and behavior expert Nancy Michael describes this phenomenon of seeking steward leaders like this: “Relationships [are] the single most predictive factor in overcoming the hard stuff.” We are actually in it together right down to our biological core.” As Michael shares, humans are social creatures, and embedded in our neurobiology is the deep need to be connected to people and the world around us in a tangible, three dimensional, consistent and intimate way. When the human nervous system does not experience what it expects (connection), we may develop challenges with mental health, addictions, and behavior that sabotages functioning from our wholeness. 

Anthropology contributes further to our understanding by describing tribal patterns for survival that generate common belief structures based on shared experience, binding us together. In other words, throughout time our biology has reached for the common good and neuroscience now recognizes this as a synaptic architecture in the brain. 

Another most fascinating research finding connects us to steward leadership. Humans are the only mammals that have developed the instinct to share outside of the recognized tribe because it was a matter of survival to give up a little bit individually for all to have enough. Much like a growth mindset, that posits that each person can develop abilities and further, has a responsibility to do so. 

Simply put, every human being possesses an innate capacity to be a steward. It’s a choice in the same way that not being a steward leader is also a choice. 

Aha! Now we see the intersection with coaching and the valuable contribution coaches can produce by evoking client awareness of the choices made and the impact that results both individually and for everyone that person interacts with, engages, or influences daily. This research reveals profound implications for enterprise leaders who follow habits, preferences and biases rooted in scarcity and control. 

At the essence, steward leaders are fully invested in something bigger than themselves. They combine deep personal engagement with a transcendent, “bigger-than-me” perspective that allows them to make lasting impacts in the lives of others.

Reflect for a moment upon your approach to contracting with enterprises and their leaders. How fully does the method you prefer invite clients to reveal their beliefs about social responsibility and the degree to which those beliefs are acted upon in daily business practice? 

The idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been written about since the 1950s in America4 and continues to this day to focus on how a company engages with its stakeholders and its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible practices. A more current and expansive influence is called ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Goals expected and applied by investors as criteria to assess whether a company’s practices are responsible. 

ESG is a higher standard that builds upon traditional CSR and one that the purchasing consumer also expects, affecting the entire value-chain in a business. 

Six skills added to the ICF Core Competency Model, along with section four of the Code of Ethics, speak to the responsibility to the client and to society that every coaching partnership must give consideration and be sensitive to explore with clients. To be client-centered consistently requires learning about clients beyond the specific topic and focus that initiated a coaching partnership. 

For example, the skill associated with the competency Cultivate Trust and Safety – “to seek to understand the client within their context which may include their identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs” – provides the opportunity to probe a client about their philosophy of leading, how that was formed, what mindset they adopt in their current situation, what experiences motivate that mindset, what beliefs keep habits and preferences in place despite being aware that something is not working, and so on. 

When you consider ethical standard #28 – “Am aware of my and my clients’ impact on society, I adhere to the philosophy of ‘doing good’ versus ‘avoiding bad’ – what does your curiosity want to discover and appreciate about the worldview and mindset of your clients? 

Paying attention to steward leadership principles is good for the body, heart, mind and society, and the ICF core competency model and code of ethics provides a platform for client contracting to incorporate a mutual commitment for a positive societal impact.

Tell us what you think about this issue and this Coaching Mastery article.

How does it apply to you and the women in your life?
Let’s continue the conversation by connecting with your colleagues on our Facebook page