Vertical development coaching – who’s it for, and what’s its purpose?

Copyright © Peter Bluckert, 2019. All rights reserved.

If you are already familiar with the vertical development field, you probably have your answer to the question I’m posing at the beginning of this short article.

It’s for executives, senior leaders, and emerging leaders of the future; and it’s to help equip them to deal with increasing complexity in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world.

An issue for everyone

You may be coming from the school of thought that says – ‘we need to grow bigger minds’ to keep pace, or at least catch up, in a rapidly changing world, where previous ways of making sense of things and ways of reacting don’t always seem to work anymore.

And, anyone who works in senior roles in business, public service, political, or not-for-profit organisations will recognise this proposition. In fact, anyone who works in any sort of organisation will probably recognise it – as well as millions more who have never worked in one, but nonetheless experience life as more complicated and complex. So, it’s an issue for organisational leaders for sure, but this is an issue for everyone.

Is vertical development coaching for everyone?

So, if vertical development is an issue for everyone, is vertical development coaching for everyone? Who is it for, and what’s its purpose? Take a look at the questions below.

Is vertical coaching

  1. …geared to assist senior organisational leaders manage complexity and change?
  2. …to fast-track high-potential, ‘talent’, to assist them develop the capacities they’ll need if they reach senior leadership positions?
  3. ….to accelerate the rate at which we develop post-conventional leaders especially at Strategist or beyond?
  4. …to help current leaders, and future leaders, consolidate at their current vertical stage of development?
  5. …to help current and future leaders become more balanced across all the lines of development?
  6. …another vehicle for engaging with deeper personal growth work to fulfil potential and self-actualise?

You probably already have my view on this – it’s all of them.

And, because it’s all of them, the paradigm of ‘growing bigger minds’, whilst being an important part of the story, is insufficient. Instead…

Our approach to vertical development has to be bigger and more inclusive of all the lines of development – in essence it requires a holistic approach.

A model and approach

So, these are my starting points as I begin to set out a model and approach to vertical development coaching in this and subsequent short articles:

  • It needs to include, but also go beyond, the corporate leadership space.
  • Current and future leaders do need help to meet the demands of their roles and those they will move into, so that there is less likelihood of a mismatch between role and capacity. Helping build new capacities to deal with the ever more challenging ‘wicked,’ problems of our time is a significant part of the remit for vertical coaching.
  • Going beyond the corporate space, there are also people recognising that they have outgrown their own container, and looking for ways to grow. So, the canvas I want to invite you to join me on here is the transformative and evolutionary process (journey) of human growth and fulfilment of potential.

More to follow …

Courage & Spark



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