13. Do you have an ideological bias in your coaching work?

I try not to. In my life and in my work, I deliberately create “traps” for myself that reveal and dismantle ingrained thought patterns that might interfere with me being fully present for my clients.

I think many experts in the scientific, business, and spiritual communities have come to similar conclusions about what is effective, what is known, and what is knowable with regards to personal development. The resources section of this website includes the voices that most inspire me across many disciplines. I find I can coach most skillfully when I don’t limit myself to a particular language or school of thought.

Of course, since I am human I do have biases. Here are some disciplines and activities that have a significant influence on my work:

  • A sound understanding of complexity theory informs all my professional work. Human brains, bodies, and relationships are all complex systems, as are financial markets, competitive environments, businesses, and digital media ecosystems.
  • I practice daily mindfulness meditation to strengthen the brain regions that prevent me from getting caught up in my own story.
  • I have found the language and imagery of Jungian analysis to be useful at times in coaching relationships because strong visual metaphors engage deeper parts of the brain than clinical descriptions of the same mental phenomena.
  • I am an amateur bass/baritone singer, which I enjoy for its technical and creative challenges, and as a “full body / full brain” activity. I am more likely to use anecdotes and metaphors related to singing and the performing arts than team sports.

I am suspicious of any coach with a strong ideological message of any kind, in particular highly positive ones like “you can do anything!” and “just believe in yourself!” Although these kinds of messages are galvanizing for some people in some contexts, they can just as often be disabling. Happiness, wellness, success, and meaning are different goals, and not all are equally possible at all times.

Posted in: Philosophical