Untapped Talent
Executive Coaching


Articles, links, discussions and white papers 

Forget coaching goals...for now

In an understandable bid to feel bespoke, conventional wisdom is that coaching centers itself around the specific coaching goals of the individual, informed by background data such as test results, 360 appraisals and other relevant info. All agreed and then signed off with the line manager and sponsoring HR. Nothing wrong with that, we hear you say.

And you would be right - there is nothing wrong with that. It's just it doesn't always work, does it? If it did, coaches would be going out of business as more and more enlightened leaders would not only be leading themselves better but also sprinkling some of the magic dust on their teams to produce the cohesive, self-regulating organisations the whole development industry is set up to promote. And hard metrics would be backing this up in terms of lengthening C-suite tenures, better stock price and financial performance, lower attrition and higher engagement. But they're not.

So, as ever with us, we go straight back to the humans thing. Humans are built pretty similarly on the whole. We all have a brain, heart, nervous system, gut and other visceral organs which work together to help us a) survive and then b) thrive. Most coaching, in fact most development, doesn't take into account nearly enough how people are showing up in the first place; physically, emotionally and cognitively. The model here explains the 4 step process we take our people through which often happens before we even touch on the officially-agreed coaching goals:

UT illustrative coaching process .jpg

This coaching process is rooted in the fact that there are certain triggers that ready a brain to perform. They reside in the subterranean world of the non-conscious and physiological. The body directs the brain as much as the other way around, so we start by helping individuals understand how their system actually works. Only then can we look at how their bodies produces emotional states that drive what we know as thoughts and feelings. It’s as if the dice are already loaded by the time we’re consciously aware of something. One of the most exciting parts of this coaching is the growing ability of individuals to discern how and when they are being influenced by their physiological and emotional states and learning to regulate and attune to them. That way lies real wisdom.

Untapped Talent works with some leading health experts to provide leaders with, for perhaps the first time, an in depth look at how their bodies are responding to life, how they wear stress and whether what they are putting in is helping them get out what they need. We collect data from heart rate patterns, diet, sleep and exercise to help this process and inform later work in the programme. The integration of these parts is vital to its overall effectiveness.



If you feel good, you think good. We think we must first get the fundamentals of health and emotional wellbeing (EQ) in place to ensure subsequent work on improving thinking and intelligence (IQ) can happen. Many coaches ignore this fact, jump straight into goals and therefore cannot help leaders create sustainable and real change. This is why we think this coaching works. 

James ParsonsComment