A Coaching Power Tool Created by Margherita Brodbeck Roth
(Executive & Leadership Development Coach, SWITZERLAND)
An interview with Rita Brainin by Margherita Brodbeck Roth
Rita Brainin is the director of a private international real estate company and a Tavistock trained executive business coach. She is focusing on coaching young professionals on their way up the career ladder, encouraging them to make bold and brave choices.
- What was the context that motivated you to start coaching people?
In my work as a real estate consultant I was often asked by younger people, especially women, how I got to where I was, real estate being traditionally a male preserve. This gave me the idea to look into coaching as a means to sharing my experiences with others.
- There are many individuals who offer coaching services without having been trained, some successfully and others not. Why did you decide to train as a coach?
Anything that is worth doing is worth doing well and I was sure that training would improve my skills.
- Reflecting on your initial training, what is your key take away?
I learned more than I thought possible and became increasingly more interested in the subject, which is people, their behaviour, their ideas and actions.
- There are coaches who once they have a certificate are happy to move into business and invest nothing or very little into continued education. How important is continued education for you and how do you keep yourself at the forefront of modern and relevant coaching?
I am not sure I approve of the terminology of ‘the modern and relevant coaching.’ It makes it sound like a fad and in many cases that is exactly what is happening - it is becoming navel gazing of sorts. Coaching is not modern or old fashioned. In my role as a coach I am trying to get people to find out themselves what they want to achieve and why they are not able to get there.
- What are the theories, methodologies and experiences you are basing your approach on?
I am very much based on the psychoanalytical approach of coaching. I use Bion’s Basic Assumption Theory, and I work with a conceptual model. This framework involves three levels: the identification of a coaching continuum, the adoption of an explicit human resource development (HRD) perspective to define relevant coaching issues, and a classification of potential analytical approaches to coaching. This conceptual framework enables diversity in organized coaching to be defined and considered from both a practical and a theoretical perspective.
- Considering the many options, do you consider a blended approach as well and why?
I am sure in the environment we work in today everyone considers blended options, because complex scenarios cannot be covered by one theory alone.
- When coaching, are there any additional skills you bring into play and why are they important?
I am a good listener, I try never to pre-empt my coachee and I am very patient. Why is this important - I need the coachee to work through his/her issues and to arrive at their own conclusions. Most people will eventually find their own path, if helped with the right questions.
- Could you describe in three adjectives what makes a good coach, and the same for a coach with room for improvement?
Non-judgemental, open-minded, positive. Negative, impatient, outcome-driven.
- When would you recommend an individual who would like to become a coach to refrain from their idea?
If the person is more interested in their own success than that of their coachees.
- In the context of coaching, Is specializing in a particular area important and why?
You can only advise on subjects you understand. My area of expertise is business and economic issues. I would not feel confident in coaching someone working in a medical field for instance, because too many aspects of their working life would be unfamiliar to me.
- Could you describe what a successful outcome of a client-coach relationship consists of and how do you measure it?
If the coachee is satisfied and feels that the work with the coach has helped him/her to achieve what he/she was hoping for, the outcome can be considered a success.
- What does a typical client of yours want to achieve with coaching?
Usually they want help with their career path, either progression, change or support.
- Assuming they do not have clear goals, how do you help them to define them?
I always work with questions and getting the coachee to identify what they are looking for. I help them to find fresh perspectives and to re-frame their issues so as to achieve a better outcome.
- Is there a particular strategy you adopt with difficult clients or those who are stuck?
Most people with difficulties are stuck sometimes or other, that is why they are looking for a coach. So my technique stays the same.
- Thinking about your clients so far, is there a highlight or a success story you could share?
I coached an executive of a global drinks company who was submerged in the complex dynamics of his sales team. This caused him to lose sight of his professional goals. We managed to identify this problem and his targets improved dramatically.
- Are you doing something in particular to repeat such success stories?
One cannot force this kind of success. When it happens it is very satisfying.
- What are the biggest challenges you have faced personally as a coach and how did you face them?
The before mentioned executive comes from a family with a Nazi past. As a Jew, I found myself in a rather uncomfortable spot at the start of our work, but the way our relationship developed helped me overcome my dilemma.
- Do you have hard limits, i.e. are there circumstance when or where you would decline entering into a coach-client relationship?
Yes, whenever there is the slightest possibility of a pathological disorder. As coaches we are not able to deal with them and we should never attempt to try.
- Why is coaching important?
In the right context it can do a lot of good and help a lot of people.
- Envisioning the future of coaching, where do you think the current developments in the job market are leading coaches to?
Too many coaches and not enough work, so standards will fall. People who cannot find work become coaches often without proper training. That can cause more harm than good.
- Is there such a thing as an ideal coach and how would their profile look like?
I don’t think there is such a thing as an ideal coach. There is good and there is bad, like in all other profession.
- What does it mean to be a coach to you?
I think this question is already covered by my previous answers.
Thank you very much.