Coaching and consulting are effective leadership methods that help guide individuals and organizations along their journey to attaining desired results. The movies, The Legend of Bagger Vance and Twelve Angry Men, provide deep insight into the coaching and consulting process.
The Legend of Bagger Vance is a movie that depicts the role of a coach, which is to help an individual reach their fullest potential by building on the skills they already possess. In the movie, Bagger Vance is the coach who helps Junuh, the coachee/golfer, on his journey to becoming his personal best while re-establishing his confidence and love for the sport.
Throughout their journey, Bagger Vance not only helps Junuh by teaching him new skills and giving him advice, but he also allows him to make his own mistakes and choices. This is exemplified in the first game of the tournament when Junuh asks Bagger Vance which club to use, but he doesn’t tell him. Consequently, Junuh’s choice leaves him at the bottom of the score board, but not for long as he begins to progress as the game continues. As described in An Introduction to Coaching (2011), Erik Erikson’s theory of personality development and identity formation explains that we go through several stages in our development. Initially, Junuh is in the generativity stage with his defeatist attitude towards life. However, with the help of Bagger Vance, Junuh is able to regain his confidence and “find his swing”, transitioning him to the stagnation phase.
The significance of this movie is that Bagger Vance represents the inner strength and will that we all possess and often need to pull from in order to become better players for overcoming obstacles and facing new challenges in the game known as life.
On the contrary, Twelve Angry Men is a movie that depicts the role of a consultant, which is to provide organizations with the support needed to achieve desired results. In the movie, a teenager is on trial for the murder of his father. The jury, consisting of twelve white males, has the task of reaching a unanimous verdict, which will determine if the teen will be sentenced to death. Eleven of the jurors vote for a guilty verdict, but juror #8 votes for a not guilty verdict because he believes the deliberation deserves careful attention. Juror #8 utilization of effective listening when the other jurors explain the reasons behind their vote paired with careful examination of patterns and issues within the case helps establish trust, which eventually results in a unanimous not guilty verdict.
This is significant because a consultant examines patterns and/or issues within the current plan and helps develop a plan that will be most effective in achieving desired results. In the process, they also have to navigate various personalities and deal with resistance to change while building trust.
Both movies provide a valuable lesson about coaching and consulting, which is that trust as well as our approaches and attitudes to situations we encounter in life ultimately determines whether or not desired goals will successfully be attained.
Dexter, J., Dexter, G., & Irving, J. (2011). An Introduction to Coaching. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications Inc.
Lumet, S. (Director). (1957). 12 Angry Men [Motion Picture].
Maister, D. H., Green, C. H., & Galford, R. M. (2000). The Trusted Advisor. New York: Free Press.
Redford, R. (Director). (2000). The Legend of Bagger Vance [Motion Picture].