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The Context of Coaching

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To sponsor future generations

There is a link in the generational chain that is weak and unsure. It is the post-boomer groups of Americans, who at ages ranging from thirty-five to sixteen come by a great variety of names: Busters, Millenials, and GenXers. This cohort is known for its skepticism, minimalism, individualism, and social silence.

This generation challenges the assumptions of the importance   of work and success. They doubt that they will have much of a future no matter what they choose to do. Of course, not everyone in this age group thinks this way,  but a large number do, and it challenges the rest of us to learn how to communicate and cooperate with those who are cynical and not easily motivated by money, advancement, or recognition.

Adult coaches may be more effective than corporate/government leaders for facilitating the paths of this generation within adult roles. Coaches look for inner values as the primary source of motivation. In quiet ways, coach/mentors seek to provide cultural continuity as their fundamental legacy to the future. Coaches are committed to reaching out, bridging gaps, and finding new ways to build upon what has come before. They stand and deliver. They advocate inclusion of all persons, cohorts, and identities.

To model collaboration and consensus building

Another way many of us experience fragmentation today is in terms of the endless list of network niche groups, each of which has some legitimate way in which to define its identity. Many form around a single moral concern; others around gender issues, illnesses, product lines, religious issues, racial or ethnic identification, or sports activities. While these groups perform many positive functions through their special interests, they tend to pull their members away from forum discussions of the corporate and cultural issues that affect us all.

Where do people learn and practice “democracy” in a society of cul de sacs? The grand American rhythm of conflict and consensus has devolved into a greater amount of conflict and less and less consensus. Whose responsibility is it to teach collabo- ration and consensus-building? It used to get learned in schools, churches, town meetings, voluntary associations, even corporations. Broad debates about human concerns are certainly thriving in these settings, but in our technocratic-media world, these institutions have much less impact on public concerns and opinions. Grass roots forums have been upstaged by TV and radio talk shows that focus more on alarming news and celebrity events.

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