SPARE me your surveys


“Squares and triangles agree: circles are pointless.”
~ source unknown

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC


At the risk of being accused of bobbing while the rest of the coaching universe weaves, zigging while they zag, I have to ask: is anybody else confounded by the plethora of coaching field “opinion” surveys popping up?

What is it, exactly, they are trying to prove or disprove?   And why?

Perhaps THAT is the question!  

In any case, I find it disturbing.

More than a little dismayed, I’ve been watching the linear take-over of the coaching field for over a decade now — sharing my disdain with only the closest of friends and colleagues until this blog post. But when survey results are announced attached to a name like Harvard, I’m more than a little afraid.

I’ve always thought I could count on the Ivy League to turn out thinkers.

No general disrespect to Harvard intended — or to any of the other organizations undertaking these surveys — but it simply astounds me whenever anyone proceeds as if there might be some discoverable “formula” for anything as person-specific as personal and professional coaching.

Clients come to coaching desiring wild success
“outside” the box,
NOT to learn how to climb inside it.

Formulaic technique rarely yields much to tempt the grown-up palate.  And yet, humankind seems driven to make the holographic linear through quantification.

It matters not to me whether those “formulas” are framed as guidelines, competencies, or laws — or how much “data” has been collected in an attempt to “prove” the point of view of the authors — they have meaning ONLY as jumping-off points for discussions of why nobody follows them as written.

At least, in my opinion, nobody who delivers a quality coaching product attempts to follow them as written.  I tend to side with Solomon.

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