Coaching is a 100% client-focused conversation

Posted by on Jan 8, 2012 in Coaching, Conference | One Comment
Jan Georg Kristiansen

Jan Georg Kristiansen explaining Professional Coaching

Opening the AgileCoachCamp Norway 2012, we had the pleasure of Jan Georg Kristiansen, ICF-certified Erickson coach MCC and leader of Erickson Coaching Nordic AS (an organisation training coaches and coach trainers in Norway), introduce us to the world of Professional Coaching.

What is Coaching?

He talked about the need for a definition of Coaching, or ICF Coaching as there are so many different uses of the word currently… (Agile Coaching being one of them, we worked on that later) His criteria for a good definition are:

  • It should be short
  • It should be positive
  • It should be respectful to older neighbours like consulting, mentoring, psychology…

He aims at a three-step definition, starting with a very short phrase that, depending on available space, can be elaborated a bit to make it more specific. Definition Jan Georg considered included:

  • Coaching is presence
  • Coaching is movement
  • Coaching is being positive
The definition he currently uses is:
(ICF) Coaching is a 100% client-focused conversation.
(ICF) Coaching is a 100% client-focused conversation 
with a lasting effect.
(ICF) Coaching is a 100% client-focused conversation 
with a lasting effect
because the focus-person has full control
of their goal, their steps towards that goal and their purpose.
Jan Georg's notes on Professional Coaching

Jan Georg's notes on Professional Coaching

One thing I need to elaborate into my thinking about balance is that he said, to stay balanced you need a keel to stay balanced in stormy waters,

Mapping Authority and Coaching

Jan Georg showed us a map (or scale) ranging from 100% authority (war, I don’t see the other person anymore) along various points in between towards the ideal of 0% authority for coaching (leading to the 100% client-focused conversation defined above).

Authority zone—I know more than you
50/50 zone—friends playing ping pong
Free zone—you have the authority

Discussion during and after the session will lead to multiple posts spinning off from his visit, I’ll try to cover some of it on this blog, and you could follow the #accn discussions on Twitter

Jan also mentioned the 11 core competences of a coach, you can find them here.

And he gave us a very nice quote “All help is violation”. (I would add that this is only true if you haven’t been asked for help.) That’s why we currently run a session hosted by Johannes Brodwall about Non-Violent Communication.

1 Comment

  1. Michael Sahota
    January 11, 2012

    Very interesting post outlining what “pure coaching” is.

    An Agile Coach needs to span much more than this.

    Authority Zone – when teaching and mentoring.
    50/50 Zone – when “Flawless Consulting” with shared responsibility and effort
    Free Zone – when acting as a “pure coach”

    I imagine different coaches will have different signatures with focus more on one region than another as reflect their capabilities and style.


Leave a Reply