Engagement through communication
Course Content
Principles 2: Stories and good lives
This topic is about the importance of our personal narrative and how to become active authors of this narrative.
Conclusion session: Preparing for take-off
Creating a road map for application of your learning
Cultivating Coaching Cultures
About Lesson

Whilst effective communication skills are important, it is their motivation which is critical to coaching approaches. In coaching cultures, this motivation can be best characterised as engagement. Engagement is characterised by two-way processes which outcome in mutual benefit. In the case of coaching cultures, our skillful communication is not intended to cunningly convince the other person to do what we want, but instead is designed to help us engage them in a joint process which has maximum benefit for both parties.

Whether working with an employee or a service user, there are some shared principles which can support a sense of engagement (1):

  • Role modelling the importance of, and your response to, feedback.
  • Giving people planned and constructive feedback.
  • Sharing and demonstrating values with integrity.
  • Role modelling personal accountability for mistakes as well as successes.
  • Not only encouraging innovation, but also offering support for it to happen.
  • Providing appropriate responsibility and authority to act independently.
  • Linking personal and organisational / social / community goals.
  • Providing recognition and reward.
  • Cultivating and demonstrating a positive climate for experimentation and trust.

There are also behaviours and attitudes which disengage others (2):

  • Not feeling respected by the coach / being able to respect their coach.
  • Not feeling valued.
  • Having ideas discounted.
  • Being unclear about goals and expectations.
  • Lack of integrity with stated values.
  • Lack of teamwork / encouragement.
  • Personal expression not valued.
  • Lack of empowerment.
  • Lack of useful feedback.

These principles will take on different meaning in relation to whether you are a manager or practitioner, but their underlying philosophies are what count. These can be expressed as:

Engaging communication = lived values + empowerment + relevance + personal validation


(1) P.93, Jones and Gorell (2018)

(2) P.89, Jones and Gorell (2018)


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