SOI ● Academic research tool rooted in constructive- developmental theory of psychology ● Psychology – not coaching! ● 'assessment procedure' – Lahey et al ● Measures an individual's mental complexity ● Uses 10 index cards with key words/phrases ● Trained interviewer and second scorer ● Recorded, transcribed and analysed using a scoring 'card'
Constructive Developmental Theory ● What forms of meaning making can be discerned ● What IS the experience of meaning-making constructive ● What are the costs to the individual ● Why do people shift between systems? development
How the SOI works (1) ● Seeks to uncover the meaning-making system at work in the individual ● Meaning-making = “what really happens in the personal construction of interpersonal and intrapersonal experiencing” and “self- constituted apprehensions of the truth” (Lahey et al., p1)
How the SOI works (2) ● The SOI maps what the interviewee can take a perspective on (object to them) and what remains beyond their field of vision (subject to) ● It is easy to confuse story content with structure in the interview: – Content are words – Structure is the syntax, interpreting and ordering the words to have meaning
Kegan's Orders of Mind StageEmbedded in Stage 1: Impulsive MindFamily Stage 2: Imperial MindSchool and family Stage 3: Socialised MindOne-to-one reciprocal relationships Stage 4: Self-Authoring MindGroup involvement in career and/or public life Stage 5: Self-Transforming MindSelf-surrender to intimacy in love and work
Subject-object relations Stage Key Characteristics SubjectObject Stage 1: Impulsive Mind Impulses, perceptions, social perceptionsReflexes (sensory) Stage 2: Imperial Mind Point of view, enduring dispositions, needs, preferences Impulses, perceptions, social perceptions Stage 3: Socialised Mind Abstractions, mutuality, inner states, self- consciousness Point of view, enduring dispositions, needs, preferences Stage 4: Self-Authoring Mind Relations between abstractions (abstract system), multiple-role consciousness, self-regulation Abstractions, mutuality, inner states, self-consciousness Stage 5: Self-Transforming Mind Dialectical interpenetration of self and other, inter-individuation Abstract system, multiple-role consciousness, self-regulation
Stages and inbetween ● Five stages, of which three in adulthood ● “Midzones” (Berger, 2012) or “disequilibrial developmental positions” (Lahey et al., 2011) in between ● Kegan is most interested in the midzones – this is where the movement is ● Four positions between two stages – 21 positions in total
SOI = psychometric ● British Psychological Society (BPS) says that a psychometric test is one that is based on psychological theory ● Method of application is not as important as validity and reliability ● Test must be standardised – can be applied and scored consistently by different practitioners ● Assessment: “a serious and meaningful intent and which, if misused, may result in personal loss or psychological distress” – ITC (International Test Commission)
Why does this matter? “the SOI offers a window into someone's meaning-making system” (Berger, 2012, p.50) “a given system of meaning organises our thinking, feeling and acting over a wide range of human functioning” (Kegan, 1980, p.374)
Why SOI in (developmental) coaching? ● Measuring mental complexity is useful: – Coachee: finding out about blind spots – where the things are that keep them from moving on – Coach: those blind spots are the playing field – the edge of meaning (Berger, 2004): getting the shift (the shift represents the holy grail) ● The SOI approach appears to be suitable for coaching: it's an interview, not a test ● But: why measure anything? Do we need all that detail?
The 'problem' with the SOI ● It takes a 3-day intensive workshop to learn the basics ● It takes months of practice runs to hone the skill ● And then: use it or lose it! ● Considerable knowledge of the theory is required ● It takes a second scorer to complete the procedure – takes time, no instant results ● the procedure is labour intensive ● This makes the SOI expensive to use in coaching – pay-off? ● It's the relative unknown in the psychometrics market ● Also: human interviewer prone to limitations and error ● Second scorer will not know about missed opportunities in the interview ● Much depends on rapport with the interviewee ● Very little data in the guide on stage 5 – it's the stage we know least about
The research project ● Teaching myself the SOI with just the guide and Berger and Kegan's works ● Try it out on some brave people ● See what happens
The research question ● What does it take to master the SOI on your own? ● Can it be self-taught to an acceptable, professional degree? ● How do we know we've reached that level? ● Ethics? ● What would be the benefits to coachee and coach?
Implications for the profession ● Is the autodidact SOI (ASOI) acceptable as a psychometric? ● What would it add to a coach's practice? ● On ethics: how is inviting a client to do the ASOI different from doing the MBTI for ex.? ● How to contract on it? When to do the ASOI? Can the ASOI be considered an assessment at all?
Methodology: Heuristic Inquiry (adapted from Hiles, 2002) Concepts and processes: Identify with the focus of the inquiry Self-dialogue Tacit Knowing Intuition Indwelling Focussing Internal Frame of Reference
Data generation, collection and analysis (Hiles, 2002) Initial Engagement: discovery of the research question Immersion: intense engagement with the question Incubation: withdrawal and detachment from intense engagement with the question Illumination: new insights emerge through tacit knowing as a result of detachment Explication: bringing new insights into consciousness and reflection Creative Synthesis: integration of data, resulting in new insights and knowledge Validation of the heuristic research by checking meaning and sharing with others
Limitations of the HI ● Timeframe – always too short, poss. impacts on validity ● Biased – limited by the principal's own ability (in my case my own mental complexity on top of limits to my patience, discipline, resilience, intelligence, academic rigour...) ● BUT: still replicable
The ASOI ● 4 weeks of solid immersion in the guide ● Reflection journal kept throughout – insights came at unpredictable times ● Unable to read anything else at that time ● Wrote mini-guide – 6-7 pages of notes ● Index card with questions for interview ● Index card with ASOI 'Big Five' for interview
ASOI - words ● Angry ● Sad ● Anxious/Nervous ● Success ● Important to me ● Strong Stand ● Torn ● Moved/Touched ● Lost Something ● Change
Mini-guide to the ASOI (1) ‘Big Five’: (Adapted from Berger, 2012) Authority Conflict Responsibility Perspective taking Assumptions about the world
Mini-guide to the ASOI (2) ASOI 'Four Steps‘ Step 1: identify a Big Five theme Step 2: ask questions to formulate a hypothesis Step 3: move to the upper edge Step 4: ask the same question in a different way (Adapted from Berger, 2012)
Mini-guide to the ASOI (3) ASOI Analysis 'Three Steps‘ Step 1: What structural evidence leads to these hypotheses? Step 2: What would narrow the range of plausible hypotheses? Step 3: On what grounds are plausible counter-hypotheses rejected?
Interview 2 Part 1 – about the experience itself 1.What was your experience of the interview? 2.What thoughts or insights did you have after the interview? 3.What did you perceive to be the real value for you of the interview to be? 4.Thinking of coaching specifically, what are your thoughts on the value or use of this interview in a coaching context? 5.How might the interview help kick start a coaching relationship? 6.What might the value be of doing the interview at the end of a coaching relationship? 7.How might you carry forwards what you have discovered during the interview? 8.How did the interview differ from coaching conversations? 9.Would you recommend the interview to other people?
Interview 2 Part 2 – findings 10.What would you like to know about the ‘results’ of the interview? 11.What concerns do you have about this interview – ethics for example? Did or does anything about the interview worry you? 12.How did you experience the probing questions? Uncomfortable? Can you see a scenario in which this might be wholly inappropriate or even dangerous? 13.What was my role in the interview? How would you describe what I did in the interview? 14.How much did I tell you about the interview beforehand – was this sufficiently detailed? Could more detail have put you off? How well was the introduction positioned? 15.If I had positioned it differently, how would this have influenced the experience?
Interview 2 Part 3 – coaches only 16.How would you describe your own coaching practice? 17.What is the value from your professional point of view of this interview? 18.Would you expect a practitioner to be fully trained in conducting the SOI? 19.Let’s assume the SOI could be part of a coach’s offer. How would you position the SOI to (potential) coachees? 20.What would you use the SOI for yourself in your own practice, assuming for the sake of this interview that you would? 21.What could a SOI feedback report for a coachee look like? 22.Considering the SOI is very labour-intensive, that would translate into cost. What are your thoughts on that?
Learning on the job ● Heuristic approach means you can learn along the way and adjust how your research accordingly ● You also don't have to 'hide' anything from co- researchers ● The only thing I kept until interview 2 was an explanation about it being an assessment of sorts, as I feared it might push them to 'perform' – more about this later, as it turned out to be a major theme
● No participants were harmed during the research... ●... in fact, consistent with the literature they said they enjoyed the experience 'cathartic' 'questions coming from the left field' 'I enjoyed the surprises I got along the way'
ASOI vs coaching conversation ● Andy: ASOI is developmental coaching situation ● Diane: 'similarity in level of curiosity I got from you' ● Alex: ‘made me think about the coaching I am about to start’ ● Sally: ‘I now think the coaching may be more useful than I thought up to now’
ASOI vs coaching conversation ● ASOI is not limited to work – crosses into personal life ● Broader: also focuses on emotions; not solutions focused (Bill) ● Level of challenge – Lewis found coaching more challenging
Concerns from co-participants ● This is a psychometric assessment – you need to make that clear beforehand – This will influence participants' perception of it ● Could 'get to the nub of things so quickly it almost becomes raw' ● Its non-directive appearance is can be misleading – the interviewer has an agenda ● Ultimately the assessment passes judgment
Concerns from co-participants Diane, interview 2: 'It is only now that I realise that it is a directive technique. I think I now understand the importance of feedback, based on the interview, because this is quite a reflective process. Without the feedback I think it would be quite unethical, because this is a diagnostic'
Themes for coaching ● Timing the ASOI in the intervention itself ● Contracting ● Treat it as a psychometric: without the feedback it remains a nice, possibly cathartic conversation ● Which coachee benefits? ● Coach duty of care ● Coach-coachee relationship both helps and hinders ● SOI does not feature in the mainstream coaching toolbox
'Live' ASOI ● Listening out for the Big Five ● Score sheet with three steps ● Range of hypotheses ● Scoring live in the interview
'Live' ASOI ‘Big Five’Range of hypothesesNotes Socialised Self-Authoring Self-Transforming 1.What is the structural evidence? 2.What other stage could it be? 3.What is the most likely stage? Authority Conflict Perspective-taking Responsibility Assumptions
● Berger, J. G. and Atkins, P. (2009) ‘Mapping complexity of mind: using the subject-Object interview in coaching’. In: Coaching: an International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, Vol. 2 No. 1 pp.26-36. ● Berger, J.G. (2010) 'Using the Subject-Object Interview to Promote and Assess Self-Authorship' In: Baxter Magolda, M.B., Creamer, E.G. and Meszaros, P.S. (eds.) Refining Understanding of the Development and Assessment of Self-Authorship. Exploring the concept across cultures. Sterling, VA: Stylus. ● Berger, J. G. (2012) Changing on the Job. Developing Leaders for a Complex World. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ● Kegan, R. (1980) 'Making Meaning: The Constructive-Developmental Approach to Persons and Practice'. The Personnel and Guidance Journal, Vol. 58, No. 5, pp.373-380 ● Kegan, R. (1982) The evolving self: problem and process in human development. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press ● Kegan, R. (1994) In over our heads. The mental demands of modern life. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ● Kegan, R. (2013a) ‘The Further Reaches of Adult Development: Thoughts on the ‘Self-Transforming’ Mind’. Lecture at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, London, 23rd May 2013. Audio podcast: http://www.thersa.org/events/audio-and-past-events/2013/the-further-reaches-of-adult-development-thoughts-on-the-self- transforming-mind [accessed 13th September 2013] ● Lahey, L; Souvaine, E; Kegan, R; Goodman, R and Felix, S, (2011) A guide to the subject-object interview. Its administration and interpretation. Cambridge Massachusetts: Minds at Work Press Selected references