Seeing What Isn’t There

by Joseph O'Connor

Coaching is like a detective story. There
is no crime, but there is a mystery to be
solved: the mystery of how the client thinks
and what to do about the problem they bring.
So, let us start with a famous dialogue
featuring that greatest of detectives, Sherlock
Holmes. It comes from the short story, ‘Silver

Inspector Gregory: “Is there any
other point to which you would wish to draw
my attention?”

Holmes: “To the curious incident of
the dog in the night-time.”

“The dog did nothing in the night

“That was the curious incident,”
remarked Sherlock Holmes.

This sums up for me the central aspect
of coaching. The coach and client together
solve the mystery from clues in what the
client says and does. The coach, like a
good detective, asks questions. And the
answer to the mystery lies not in what the
client says, but in what they do not say.

What then are the practical implications
for coaching and how can a coach see the significance
of what is missing?

Read on… (for members only)



Joseph O’Connor is a coach trainer,
author, executive coach and the co- founder
of the International Coaching Community,
training and educating coaches worldwide.
His latest book, written with Andrea Lages
is ‘How
Coaching Works
’, a title that
sums up the book very well. Contact Joseph


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