Coach Development

The Developed Coach

Should coaching be regulated?
Should coaches be trained and / or developed to a recognised standard?
Should coaching be more than a transitional fix?

As a professional coach, or a professional who uses or commissions coaching, have you had the thought that Coaching will eventually need to operate to a minimum set of standards? The questions then become: who sets these standards? And what would they look like?

If Coaching is an industry that needs regulation, then do we measure fitness purpose, by efficacy, by cost-effectiveness or by outputs?
Or do we measure the inputs, the coaches themselves, for their level of cognitive complexity?

We are suggesting the latter – we are daring to suggest that the level of cognitive (Laske) and social-emotional development (Kegan) of the coach dictates more than just their coaching efficacy. We are suggesting that Adult Development (Laske) defines both eligibility to be a coach and the appropriate client market of the coach’s capacity.
We advocate the development of the coach as a pre-requisite to operating as a coach and Coaching using RealTime Modelling™.

Development in its deepest meaning refers to transformations of consciousness. Each next higher level of consciousness corresponds with deeper awareness, the ability to notice more, to look from different perspectives, having more diverse ways of connecting the dots, and thinking through the complexities we experience.  – Jan De Visch.

We are offering a new approach to Coach Development!

Coaches are generally adults who have achieved a certain stage of maturity, both in their cognition and their emotional life, a factor of coaching ignored to date. The inference is, the higher the coaches’ stage of maturity, the greater their potential to help clients. Such theories of how adults mature in their thinking and emotional intelligence over their life span are both validated and yet still controversial. In discussion with other coaches, this seems to be because one does not appreciate being told their own level of cognitive or social-emotional complexity is “low”. Understandably so. The image below illustrates the growth in thinking complexity and why it is important to be as fully-integrated as possible when coaching other human beings.

Research on Leadership by Avolio & Gibbons (1989):

“A leader who operates at a lower developmental level than his or her followers [left side of the image] cannot transform followers to a higher level than his or her own. Conversely, a leader who views the world from a developmental level that is not understood by his or her followers [right side of the image] will also have difficulty transforming followers to his or her way of thinking” (p. 294).

Our programmes are designed to benefit both coaches and future clients, to guide coaches through a developmental path to higher level thinking, that equips them for Developmental Coaching using the principles of the Thinking Quotient™ System, and RealTime Modelling™. Conventional Coach training offers techniques to use on and with the client. Our programme offers growth of the coach over time, defined and measured with the Thinking Quotient™ System.

Awareness Measurement Improved

The programme begins with you undertaking a profile created specifically for Gables Development. From this, we will be able to determine your current Thinking Quotient™ level, as seen by the red arrow in the image below.

The Process

Developing Cognitive Complexity is a process of self-reflexive awareness-raising over time. Our process of Coach Development redefines the transformative process used by coaches with their clients.

The programme examines the way we think, from a social-emotional and cognitive complexity perspective, as well as our habituated, and often unconscious Unconscious Tendencies. From here, utilising the deconstruction of our thinking, we use the individual Unconscious Tendencies to develop a map of your patterns in order to offer individual and specific interventions to grow your thinking in those areas that will make the greatest difference to your epistemic stance, and thus your construction of self in the world.

The aim is to define a path to growth, from current developmental level (red arrow above) to potential level (green arrow).

RealTime Modelling – A Dialogue

RealTime Modelling™ is about HOW we listen, WHAT we listen for, and the questions we use to elicit the information.  It’s also about how we reflect that information, in real-time to ourselves and our client.
To deliberately listen for:

  • information inferred but not stated
  • information pre-supposed or excluded
  • implied meaning
  • unspecified performance
  • levels of development
  • emotional states
  • cognitive complexity

By understanding what we are listening for, and how we listen for it, we change the basis of a coaching relationship, from conversation to dialogue.

Coaches at lower levels of development will avoid programmes that measure them and offer feedback. Judging themselves and being judged by others will be emotional and potentially critical.

More developed coaches tend to seek out ways to measure themselves in order to further their development and efficacy. They are more able to receive information objectively.

Further Information

Using the metaphor of a disco, you can see that those people on the dance floor are dancing away to the music. They are only aware of themselves, and their immediate vicinity. They hear the music and move accordingly (Frame). At Stage 3, they are on the mezzanine floor, enjoying the view. They can see a few people dancing on the dance floor, moving together in a small pattern. They wonder if the dancers are enjoying themselves. On the 4th level, the people can see a larger area on the dance floor. They notice when the music changes and when a large number of people change how they move according to the beat. They also see the behaviours of those on the third level, and notice how they notice the ones below. They are not wondering if anyone is enjoying themselves as that’s up to the individuals. At the fifth level, the guy can see everything. He notices the whole dance floor, how it interacts and how the behaviours of those on the third level affect it too. He sees the bar area, the door men, the waitresses but the important thing is, he doesn’t see them as individual components of a greater whole: he sees them as a system operating collaboratively all at once. In order for the doormen to be there, there needs to be the dancers.

The one thing implicit in this diagram is the direction of the arrows. Those on the lower levels are simply not able to see the behaviours and thinking patterns of the people above. If you’re a Coach at level 3, you cannot help a client at level 4 because you cannot see their thinking patterns. You will filter their thinking and behaving through your own limited perspective. And that’s not useful as a Coach.


The next Table demonstrates the Coaching Relationship at the various cross-section of levels. You can see the point being made and the reason why Gables Consultancy thinks it is necessary to have minimum Coaching standards in our industry.



 If you are interested in the evolution of coaching as a function of constructing one’s self, get in touch today to discover how we take your coaching to your next level of development!