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Edie Seashore: On Coaching

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Dorothy:  Or the liberated version of therapy.

Edie:  Or liberated, exactly.

Dorothy:  Without having to be a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and it can be a collaborative experience. James Hillman famously said “that we’ve had a 100 years of therapy” but the world isn’t getting any better.  Coaching has grabbed the professional zeitgeist because it urgently calls for learning, but, there might be a shift in the values inherent in coaching—so could you articulate what you see as the values that would really enrich coaching?

Edie:  Certainly, the concept of systems. That is, it is important for a coach to be familiar with the context in which the coachee is asking for coaching. That’s one thing. And not just to see it through their eyes, but also to be able to experience it in other ways. The other value is to be more in tune with the actual experiential part of the work—that is to be clearer about the” here and now data”. Rather than the experience being filtered through other people’s filter systems or even the coachee’s filter system, the coachee would actually understand it at the time that it’s experienced. It would be much more of a contract between the coach and the coachee on seeing them in different settings, of helping them to figure out a way where they could continue to get themselves the kind of coaching that they need through feedback and not just relying on relaying it to somebody and then getting information.

For instance, when I was coaching the Colonel, at Walter Reed, I worked with her governing team and saw her there. I also observed her in other settings and was able to coach her regarding not just the things on which she needs help; in addition, I could offer things I’ve watched her do. Things I have been able to observe about her. I’ve gotten her to this point–although she was the most easy to work with client I’ve ever had. She got so turned on by the idea that she could get her own information. She wouldn’t have to rely on somebody. So, for her, she got to asking people, “How did this interview go? Tell me what happened?  What was it like for you?  And how did this meeting go?” She got caught onto the “check ins and check outs” faster than anybody I know.

So, all of these things are part of what helps a person get information that will make a difference in the way they work and in the way the organization works.

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