The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Listening to advice

“People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.” – Blaise Pascal

This quote reminds me of a nice conversation I’ve recently had. My colleague was thrilled by his newfound wisdom and shared it with me. Listening to him I was happy to hear how much better he was than a while ago and how his learning of the last months had been helpful to him.

As enthusiastic as he was, he naturally also wanted me to get involved in his approach. I found myself agreeing with his logic and his arguments. However, the more he continued and moved into “coaching” me, the less I found myself being engaged. I was listening with attention and remained involved in his experience.

The rhythm we had only allowed to exchange arguments and work ourselves through the logic of his experience. What it didn’t allow for was a space for creative thinking. One where his experience could have led to discoveries on how his experience could resonate with my own, or how his solutions might be adapted to myself.

In his excitement, he was using coaching techniques meant to enable reactions as a means to create acceptance. In doing so, he was falling short of creating commitment and ended up having given me advice.

As valuable as a technique can be, the results it can create still depend on how they are used and on the context in which they are used.


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