2 oct. 2014

On ''locus of control'' (1)

A coaching perspective: reinforcing internal locus of control*

With a specific approach in career path

Coaching is about ”unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance”, Sir John Whitmore stated more than two decades ago, but who does control the.. key?! All professional regulations of this so efectiv profession stipulate that the coach assists and support  the client – listen, asks questions, give feed forward, challenge, empower – but never ever controls.. the lock’s key. Coaching is not a magic process, it is a learning process. The key did not twist by voodoo. Coaching itself is a twist between a present state to a desired one. It is the client who twist the key. 
Coaching is learning about your potential - unleashing talents, and is also learning about reality - exploring options, and is learning about being in control: make the step from will to act. It is not easy to do that, and this fact is more obvious when is about success – even in such situation there is a certain reluctance. How come? To clarify this intriguing aspect, I use to put client the so called control questions: ”What don’t you control? What are you trying to control? What you could control that you are not controlling?”

Locus of control was first coined by Julian B. Rotter, in his work Social Learning and Clinical Psychology, 1954, which integrated learning theory with personality theory. An articulate definition belongs to Philip Zimbardo:  A locus of control orientation is a belief about whether the outcomes of our actions are contingent on what we do (internal control orientation) or on events outside our personal control (external control orientation)." It is not about two distinct references, but about unidemensional continuum, spanning from internal – I believe that my behavior is guided by my decisions, talents and efforts -  to external – I believe that my behavior is guided by the external conditions, by fate. How to use this insightful perspective in coaching?

*excerpt from a large article to be published in International Coaching News magazine