As a coach I’m interested in seeing deeply, it is aligned with what I’m trying to do as an individual. I want to understand what it is, that enables people to contribute.
For a long time, I’ve assumed, that it happens through the knowledge and understanding I gain. But the more I strived for both, the less fulfilling this quest seems to have become.
What seems to be happening, is that at the core of this quest is the desire to know, which in essence is the desire to be certain. But the more we know, the less the sense of knowing stays present. Every bit we know opens the door to new uncertainties, new questions, new knowledge, and understanding that can be gained. The more one knows, the more potential there is to be overwhelmed by what one doesn’t know. It becomes a race.
That’s where negative capability becomes even more useful. John Keats described it as the ability to accept “uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.”
To me, there are two aspects to it. And both connect with seeing deeply. One is the desire to come to an answer where the very human desire to give meaning often steps in using whatever is known. Instead of experiencing the moment as is, the uncertainty is transformed into certainty by attributing meaning. The other factor is the ability to let oneself be surprised by the experience in the moment and be curious about it. It requires allowing oneself to see not only what one has been avoiding but also what it is that appears when one doesn’t reach out for a quick conclusion. They usually are independent of one another.
In coaching, this means for me to seek a relationship in which the coachee isn’t searching for the answer the coach might expect but the one allowing him to develop his answer. Part of my work as a coach thus consists in making myself aware of how I might represent a norm or what seems to be the path to success the coachee hopes to follow. That’s how seeing deeply leads to letting myself be surprised by the assumptions either of us has and simply seeing what is happening in the relationship.