Is Coaching the zeitgeist moment for Personal Construct Psychology?

Coaching has seen exponential growth worldwide, and can be considered to be one of the most significant recent developments in leadership and management practice. Over 70% of large organisations in Western Europe, North America and Australasia use coaching as a major form of management and leadership development (Zenger & Stinnett in Hawkins, 2012.) The growth in South Africa has been significant, where coaching has a nuanced difference owing to substantial use to support a broader socio-economic transformation within South African society.

Hawkins (2012) suggests that coaching is at a crossroads, where it needs to more firmly position itself to go beyond individual development to increasingly adding value to the strategic and commercial agendas of whole organisations. Pavlovic & Stojnov (2011) argue that the way in which George Kelly, the father of Personal Construct Psychology (PCP), envisaged Psychology in the 1950’s bears a remarkable resemblance to modern-day Coaching. )

 “So PCP was perhaps the pre-cursor of coaching, and something of an ‘orphan’ in the clinical context where its main principles – no stigmatising or diagnostic categories and no curing or repairing – where not easy to implement. In this sense, it seems that the zeitgeist moment of PCP may be appearing 50 years after its introduction” (Pavlovic & Stojnov, 2011:140.)

The contemporary linking of Constructivist and Constructionist theories have seen PCP elaborated substantially into organisational and system contexts (Procter, 2012.) A Personal Construct Coaching approach offers arguably one of the most “sophisticated technologies of change,” which offers a coach a proliferation of techniques which sit within a robust theoretical structure. PCP is most famous for the repertory grid method, what is less known is the wide range of qualitative grids and many other tools used within the discipline. PCP is ideal for working in a diverse African context as it rooted in the study of context.

In a turbulent world, where the only certainty seems to be the necessity of transformation for the survival of humanity, will the advent of Personal Construct Coaching offer an approach that makes a new level of effectiveness in socio-economic transformation possible?