Wednesday 22 August 2012

The coaching continuum

The world with its sunrises, skyscapes, seascapes, landscapes, colours, storms and smells is a beautiful place. Humans are amazing: look at what they've done: violin, skyscraper, ipad, jet-engine, anaesthetics, g-string.

Yet there's a dreadful abbreviation of spirit, purpose and effect in the human world. Call it sin, stupidity or selfishness, it's a fact of life. It has to be dealt with, on a grand scale, modest scale and minute scale, if we aren't going to make ourselves powerless unto ourselves. Politics, economics and, previously religion, affect the grand scale. Education and social propriety used to influence the modest scale. In respect of the minute scale, you're in charge of yourself, and if you aren't taking charge of yourself, someone else is using you for their own purposes.

The continuum I'm thinking of begins with health coaching, moves on to educational coaching, then to life coaching, and comes to business coaching.

As a species we create an immense amount of stress for ourselves. I can't imagine wars in the animal kingdom, though famines are plentiful, and being eaten is rife. Certainly there's theft, but limited murder. There's deception, but not fraud. When it comes to emotion, animals are entirely spontaneous, I think. The humans are otherwise. They can be utterly devious, disgusting and downright evil. I admire people who decide that they want to grow and take active steps to do so. Eligo crescere. This is a perlocutionary statement. Growth is healthy. Stagnation isn't. And of course, loss, the kind that takes away that which you virtuously gained, and is akin to destruction, is what we have to fight against on a daily basis. Health is a balance, and the tightrope we walk grows ever more thin. The stress of pretence and acceptance of compromise is what makes us civil rather than savage. Yet civic sensibility doesn't equeal health. Cutting off your enemy's head is far cheaper and less time-consuming than going to court, and probably relieves a lot of stress as well, provided you have a clear conscience. And our core roles have changed quite dramatically from being villagers to ballooning as consumers.

The point I want to make is that health coaching is a stock-taking, a reconnaissance, applying ecological intelligence so as to restore necessary balance to our corporate and individual living before our physiological tissue takes the strain. An intial point in the continuum of conscious movement and movement of consciousness that can be called growth. I sound tedious to myself, but honestly, I get the idea that just about no-one listens to or sees the obvious. I'm fairly sure that everyone feels that he or she is alive, and that personal experience entirely influences what the base state is (NLP language). Yet few take decisive action to grow from the base state, because of being accustomed to the base state and because of not being alerted to the fact that growth from the base state is possible. Next step: educational coaching. The bell is ringing. The coffee is steaming. The red light is flashing. Alertness spontaneously increases. Attention focuses. Escape is possible. Movement is inevitable. Desire abounds and flows. Energy surges. Harnessing all these elements of active growth, change and transformation and condensing them into formation and information drops us into the tumult of education which, with a little coaching, can be clarified to carry us on life-long journeys, and beyond. We are not who we think we are. As Jonathan Jansen has said, You have no idea of the greatness that is within you. So we move to life coaching. Take on the challenge. Let desire, not fear, lead. Be the change you want to see. Just connect. Just do it. Speak to yourself in words that you will obey. Tools, not rules. Okay, now we've rocked, rolled, realised and released our greatness. Here comes the real hurdle to hold us captive: cash flow. Solution: business coaching. Whether in the form of  The Ten Day MBA (thanks, Steven Silbiger) or the Cash Flow Quadrant  (thanks, Robert Kiyosaki)
it's necessary. What food is to animals, money is to humans. You have to have an idea, a purpose, a plan and then persistence.

The essence of this contimuum, as I understand it, is energetic engagement with oneself and one's context. As a child I was encouraged to disengage. As children of God, we were to be separate from the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any number of carefully designed cogs spinning in isolation will never create a gearbox that delivers leverage. C.S. Lewis's defintion of love was "intelligence in action".

Coaching is not an ends in itself. It's a means to action, especially fruitful action. The actual means emerges by unpacking the mystique of the human spirit. An elusive story will drive curiosity mad, yet the human spirit is precisely that.  What is the story of the human spirit? Someone once told it to me, but I'm keeping it secret. I won't tell you.

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