Home Concepts Best Practices Enriching the Dialogue: The MAPS of Coaching

Enriching the Dialogue: The MAPS of Coaching

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Our quarter-century issue of The Future of Coaching. This statement is not really accurate. We offer a publication, not a calendar. Yet, calling it a “quarter-century” publication is a useful way to think of the life and duration of our magazine. We are offering an Analogy. Our magazine is similar to a calendar in that both extend over time. Furthermore, both our magazine and a calendar help to demark time in that a calendar and our magazine are both published periodically. A third similarity can be noted. We can count both the number of issues we have published and number of years that have passed during something we have called a “century.” This analogy concerns time and periodicity. It potentially offers us some insights regarding the business we are in, as editors of The Future of Coaching.


In recent years, psychologists and human service providers have coined a term, “intersubjectivity”, that refers to our capacity, in interaction, with other people to create reality together. This co-creation serves our joint purpose of interacting effectively with one another and more clearly defining and affirming the way in which we perceive and act in the world, individually and collectively. Our shared, constructed reality is often modified if another entity (such as a third person) enters the relationship. As the noted family system theorist, Virginia Satir, noted: a relationship becomes vastly more complex when it involved three (or more) people rather than just two. The introduction of a child into the life of a couple makes all the difference in their world. The third entity need not be a person. It can be an image, idea or story.

The third entity enters a coaching relationship when either the coach or client offers an analogy—or when the coach and client engage a metaphor, parable or simile. This is an important point for each of us as a coach to acknowledge. A new, third entity is being brought into the dialogue between the two of us. We are looking at “reality” in a new, enriched way when the third entity interplays with the dynamic relationship we have already created. Professional coaching is one of the most dynamic relationships in which we engage. The outcome of this relationships can be a reformed sense of reality for each of us and both of us. A timely analogy, metaphor, parable or simile can be introduced that makes this reformed reality that much more a source of insight, inspiration, guidance and enactment.

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