The path to collaboration

Although the term collaboration is used frequently in organisations today it is, I think, little understood.

Cognitive coaching did not really appear on anyone’s radar until about 15 years ago yet it is now accepted as being a valuable means of improving organisational effectiveness. Organisations set aside time and funding for coaching to take place.


It is useful to think of coaching as “one-way collaboration”, that is to say that the coach is wholly focused on the growth and well-being of the coachee and this is expressed in how they pay attention (100% on the coachee), how they respond (in the best interest of the coachee), their belief in the coachee’s capacity to grow (growth mindset) and the processes they use so as not to waste the coachee’s time or effort (coaching processes).

The value of this form of collaboration is high for the organisation, individuals are more energised and focused and make better decisions. 

It is also very valuable for the coach.

For the coach, behaving in this way triggers the parasympathetic nervous system or in red/blue zone language helps the red zone fade away increasing the coach’s confidence, further ability to collaborate and their creativity, even in the face of great challenge. It also improves our health and well-being.

It is the effect on the coach that leads to the idea of “two-way collaboration”, which occurs when both parties are behaving like the coach and “team collaboration” when all team members are behaving in this way. There is a shift from ‘concern about me’ to ‘concern about you’ in every interaction and a very significant increase in well-being and productivity for all concerned.

Creating a ‘coaching culture’ is,therefore, a step on the way to creating a true ‘collaborative culture’.

Something worth doing.

John Corrigan