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THE ROLE OF THE COACH

Coaching is not a passive activity. Coaches tend not to meet with someone and just talk. The most effective coaching relationships are based on proactivity, on action. There also has to be an element of vision and energy, and a belief in the individual, team or organizational capacity to change. Sir Clive Woodward, the England rugby coach, is a great example of someone who not only had to inspire his players but also had to convince the sponsors and the nation that the team had the capacity to achieve their ultimate goal. What is important is the ability to help people sustain their goals even when they do not achieve them at the first attempt.

A coach may also have to overcome resistance or disbelief from the organizational management or the individuals themselves, who lose confidence or feel that it is impossible to achieve a dream. This is often particularly true in the context of more significant change. One of the interesting facts about change is how often people give up when they are just in sight of the winning post. 'Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one-foot from a winning touch' (H Ross Perot, The Best of Business Quotations). 'Every search begins with beginner's luck. And every search ends with the victors being severely tested' (Coelho, 1993).

Here the role of the coach will be critical in terms of giving an injection of energy to keep going. Understanding the process of change can help to sustain an individual, team or organization through the different stages. The change process is dealt with in more detail in Chapters 1 and 3.


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