The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Coaching and teaching

Independently from one’s definition of coaching, an interesting question relates to the presence of teaching within coaching.

However, in such a context teaching may not be as one understands it conventionally.

Stepping into coaching, a normal tendency is to focus on what the coachee could or should be doing. It often is what people describe as an objective when they seek out coaching. It also is the easiest space to fall into standard teaching. That is an approach where one ends up providing the coachee with a lot of instructions. However, this might not be the slowest way for the coachee to learn. A faster route might be one where one seeks out a space where the coachee can discover what it is that they do. Maybe even why. It can be astonishing to discover how little one knows of how one acts and what one seeks to do.

Coaching means to deal with both the ‘doing self’ and the ‘being self.’ They are intertwined. Whenever someone does something, there will also be a sense of who one is when one executes the action. Coaching becomes an opportunity to discover with the coachee how both are intertwined. Doing so may start with instructions helping to perceive the doing and being with more clarity.

One of the challenges people experience is to become aware of who they are while they are doing something. It’s a result of being more in one’s head than in one’s body. It makes awareness an important field of inquiry and study in the coaching process. Usually also one that can make it relevant to help the coachee learn to develop such awareness. Again, this may require some learning to develop one’s ability to use one’s senses, as it is through the senses that awareness develops. Such learning does require the coachee to allow themselves to be vulnerable and to accept letting go of some control.

Beyond getting an understanding of one’s doing, being, and awareness, there is the ability to know how change can happen. It is, in essence, why coachees seek out a coach, they have decided that they want the ability to change in a domain of their choosing. As they develop the ability to let go of control and the vulnerability to see a possible transformation, they become able to choose a transformation. However, this is daunting and coachees often hope that the coach will tell them how to change. But that would mean stepping back into doing instructions instead of learning how change becomes accessible to oneself. It also means that the coachee might not find as much commitment toward that change as they have when it is their choice.

It is a challenging process, but there is the possibility that the questions and the support provided by the coach assist the coachee in an exploration. One that allows him to become more conscious about what it is that establishes the commitment to change and the ability to change.


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