Friday, 13 April 2018

Philosopher or Coach?

You're the CEO in your business or organisation, or maybe an HR Director and you've taken the decision to commission some coaching to help improve productivity and decision making.  It's a wise move as there's a many a quote from CEOs of blue chip companies that they recommend having a coach for success.  Yet those at the very top are now reaching out to philosophers it seems. 

As Prof  Marinoff, from the City College of New York says in a Guardian article,“These are very intelligent people, who are also overworked, more so than most of us. And they don’t have enough time to reflect. A lot of what we do is to create reflective space.”

It's not just in the US either.  Joe Garner, Chief Exec of Nationwide also works with a Professor of Philosophy.  As mentioned in the article, 'A philosopher can nudge and question, take leaders on uncomfortable journeys, even be a disruptive force.'

I feel that our learned Professors are now being forced to seek alternative income generating streams and are promoting a methodology that is already in use; just assimilating it, claiming it for themselves as a new way of doing things. 

So, I'm sure they can do all that they say but, and here I'm going to admit to being a bit biased as I'm a coach, isn't that what good coaching does anyway? 

Yes there's different coaching models but the positive psychology methodology that I use provides that protected, reflective space.  It enables deep seated questioning of oneself, of one's approach and values - all the things that the philosophers state they do so much better than coaches.

I also encourage the client to take those uncomfortable journeys and believe me, it's not all sweetness and light.  They do question their strategies, their decision making and scrutinise their actions.  With the positive attention they have, and knowing they're not going to be interrupted they have time to think with quality, to step outside of the boxes they might have placed themselves within and become their own creative, innovative selves as a result.

I've seen amazing changes in direction from the client who had spent three days agonising over an issue to come up with a solution in less than 30 minutes because they had that protected, positive, supported thinking space.   With my challenge I've listened as the MD questioned their own assumptions about an issue and found a completely different route, a new strategy that made a significant impact on performance.

So no, it's not philosopher v coach.  It's just another model of coaching; a model that is already being used by experienced, qualified, client centred, positive psychology coaches.  We too provide an environment where you can nudge and question, even be a disruptive force. 

So welcome Prof Marinoff - just don't try and pass this off as something new because it ain't.

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