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The Context of Coaching

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Coaches can’t solve this problem, but they will exert an influence toward the human connections, alliances, and open systems. They plant the seeds of democratic process:

  • Themes that coach/mentors return to, time after time with their clients are “priorities,” “connectedness,” “balance,” “fairness,” “passion, “purpose,” “vision,” and “planning.” They set an example that living with “we” is a necessary part of living with “me.” They promote a future for the “whole” as well as the parts.
  • Coaches train clients to honor their core values, to articulate preferences, to negotiate differences, to compromise, and to manage conflict when necessary. These basic human abilities promote self-responsible behavior within interdependent contexts.
  • Mentors encourage debate about the wise decisions for challenging scenarios. Coaches are concerned about making future a developmental continuum with the past, and they promote those qualities in the persons and systems they touch.
  • Mentor/coaches “coach” the organizations and environments they are in as well as key individuals. They advocate a process of decision-making in which everyone affected by a decision has some way to influence the shaping of that decision. Coaches emphasize both personal empowerment and social consensus, fostering an essential mind-set for personal, career, and organizational leadership.

To tap the genius of older workers

We live at a time of wasted human assets. Americans have been deluded by the myth of youthism—that we decline in all respects as we get older, particularly after the age of forty or so. Developmentally this myth is simply not true, but operationally the myth contributes greatly to the waste of corporate human resources. Corporations typically begin to divest themselves from the human potential of their older workers long before they retire. The graying of America will reach its zenith in the years immediately ahead of us, and with it will come a redefinition of “old” that will emphasize a diversity of contributions from older workers. The smart work system will begin, in the early years of the twenty-first century, to redefine its policies and attitudes toward its older workers.

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