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coachbook: A guide to organizational coaching strategies and practices

17 min read

William Bergquist and Agnes Mura

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Postmodernism and the World of Organizational Coaching

[Excerpt from coachbook: A Guide to Organizational Coach Strategies and Practices, written by William Bergquist and Agnes Mura.]

The Twenty-First Century has brought with it not only the prospects of advancement in technology and human welfare, but also organizational challenges associated with complexity, unpredictability and turbulence. (Bergquist and Mura, 2005) Men and women who serve in leadership roles are most likely to face these exceptional challenges. This doesn’t necessarily mean that these women and men are situated at the top of the organization. In many cases, these men and women are asked to convene a task force, provide timely advice, mentor a new hire, or initiate a project. They might not even think of themselves as “leaders.” In fact, these men and women may not even be formally invited to accept a leadership role. They may simply be in the right place, at the right time, to influence the organization of which they are members.

It may not be coincidental that the field called organizational coaching emerged at the same time (during the 1990s) as many organizational analysts began identifying and describing this postmodern world of complexity, unpredictability and turbulence.(Vaill, 1989; Wheatley, 1992, Stacey, 1996) To the extent that organizational coaching is about enhancing the processes of performing, making decisions and discovering deeply felt values and aspirations within a world of complexity, unpredictability and turbulence, then this field is particularly timely and its future is bright.

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