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The Context of Coaching

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The Continuous Change Rule

In the twenty-first century, there will be no steady-state resting places, only continuous change throughout all the years of our lives. The renewal process never ends. People who perceive their lives as a renewal cycle know that there is no arrival at a steady- state, no lasting plateau of crystallized happiness. Process, not progress, becomes the familiar reality.  Conducting the journey is more important than certain destinations—since all arrivals are temporary. As you get older you keep revising and renewing the same issues, the same urges, and the same concerns that you have always had—only in ever changing settings and circum- stances. The renewal cycle is active and ongoing, not passive and steady-state. Self-renewing people do not clutch onto the past; they transform future expectations into today’s life efforts. Coaches teach their clients how to practice the art of self-renewal. Chart your way, guide your life, anticipate tomorrow, experience some victories, evaluate as you proceed, experience losses, change course as necessary, and assume responsibility for your journey.

In our kind of world, competent persons need to know how to renew themselves, over and over—to knit life together whenever possible, and to unravel it when necessary. If we do that, we will perceive change as a challenge—an opportunity to learn, discover, and grow. Teaching this is a cornerstone to the coaching profession.

The Inside-Out Rule

To stay “on course,” we need to be value-driven and purposive. Otherwise, the winds of change will blow us in a different direction with each breeze. To succeed as human beings in the twenty-first century, we need to be on-purpose persons, shaping our actions in the world with our inner beliefs. Our many roles as an adult—at work, home, play, community and the rest—are meant to be extensions of our inner selves—our core values. If we stay anchored to our abiding beliefs and pursue goals we believe in, we stay “on course” with our lives. We evolve, develop, mature.

In the twenty-first century, successful people will arrange their lives from the “inside-out,” from their values and beliefs to their broader commitments and roles. They will find outer resources to support their fiery purpose. They will stay responsible for their own destinies, and link up boldly to others in ventures they truly believe in. This kind of personal-social congruence is an important goal for coaches.

The Learning is for Everyone Rule

Learning is our primary activity, no matter how young or old we may be. Twenty-first century adults will require continuous learning and training. Learning is positive change; it is the creation of a change-force within yourself to produce increased awakeness and self-motivation. Learning is the essence of self-renewal or resilience, and therefore is a basic feature of coaching.

The adult learning agenda in our time has at least four different tasks:

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