Understanding the Attachment Theory Relevant To Coaching and Mentoring

29th August 2018

Behaviour issues caused by trauma are more common than you may think! We know from our global research that most people rate “coaching and developing others” among the top three most important leadership competencies. Such that the impact of an attachment theory related to coaching and mentoring becomes the queue.

An important opinion by scholars –

1st opinion – “We agree that coaching and development are critical to transformative leadership.  However, there is just one major problem:  we don’t practice it!  Why?  Leaders often tell us that they do not have enough time; they do not know a precise, proven process; and/or they feel it will slow down their immediate performance.

Regardless of the reasons, learning a pragmatic, straightforward methodology to coach and develop yourself and others is extremely critical to high-performing leadership.”

2nd opinion – “Leadership is more than just a job.  The leader of a group of any size, from a family, club, congregation, or classroom to a multinational corporation or a nation, sets the tone for all the members of the group.  Leaders touch lives and hold destinies in their hands; it is a sacred calling with a sacred responsibility.”

The basic idea behind the attachment theory –

Attachment theory is a useful way to understand the bond between children and the people with whom they have emotional ties--usually caregivers.

  • The theory can also help us to understand any adult relationship that provides closeness and a sense of attachment, especially in times of stress or need.
  • Understanding the nature, cause and effect of the role and function of attachment from a training and development perspective, and different styles of attachment may improve the quality of the mentoring experience for both mentors and mentees.

Referring to the attachment style earmarked by Bowlby –

Theoretical Starks are in multiple numbers, which at the same must be felt with Bowlby’s postulate on attachment theory. Bowlby (1977) defined attachment as “the propensity of human beings to make strong affection bonds to particular others”.

Attachment is a behavioural control model where proximity and emotional closeness to the main caregiver are regulated. For example, if a child needs help, the mother provides a timely and consistent approach with the aim of achieving ‘felt’ security. When this is achieved, the child is able to explore the environment knowing they may return to a safe base.

Prime implications of the theoretical approach –

An individual’s ability to offer formal mentoring is directly related to their attachment style; therefore it may be useful to offer training that encourages avoidant/anxious/disorganised mentors to be more conscientious despite their predisposition to distance themselves from others.

‘Duffy’s study highlighted the emotional difficulties some ‘sign-off’ mentors faced.’ Knowing a mentor’s attachment style may help to predict potential difficulties and provide an opportunity for effective management. This eventually form a part of the understanding of the different types. Say, for instance, types of attachment experiences include an early and current – are relevant to nurses’ practice, and contribute to the quality of their relationships with patients and staff.

Practicing coaching is a challenge. Disciplining ourselves to slow down and pause to develop others is not easy.

While coaching in real time is ideal for coaching effectiveness, it requires discipline to pivot the management to the transformative opportunities of coaching and aiding you for teaching management courses. Some leaders are so passionate about developing others that they not only coach at the moment, but they also develop practices that are more far-reaching.

Written By : Admin

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