We must now seek to understand and appreciate other communities and recognize that there are standards regarding truth, reality and ethical conduct—even if there is not one absolute standard. Thus, in the movement from relativism to commitment in relativism we are grieving the loss of freedom. We must assume responsibility and now make hard decisions, knowing that there are several (perhaps many) good choices that could be made. We must take action in a 21st Century world that does not yield easy answers or offer us assurance that we are doing the right thing for the right reason.
If we were able to access his wisdom today, William Perry would probably propose that professional coaches are in the business, at least partially, of assisting their clients through this grieving process and helping their clients recognize the value inherent in one of the more mature perspectives. This is what it means to coach the whole person. We would suggest that valuing of relativism and particularly commitment-in-relativism may be particularly important for those WEIRD clients who are operating in a leadership position. They must make particularly difficult decisions and take particularly challenging actions in a world that looks increasingly globalized. They are living and leading in Friedman’s “flat world” (2007) that requires an interdisciplinary appreciation of tightly interdependent sectors (economic, political, cultural, etc.)
That our human conditions are so varied and variable means that our clients might value a philosophical perspective, an insight from neuroscience, a tip on productivity, or an Excel sheet-based financial projection. We equip ourselves with the diverse experiences of our life, as well as our acquired expertise, and all the learning inherent in our life, in order to assist and help shape the lives of others. Whether you as a professional coach support your clients with the learnings of a 20 year career in the Army, or a tour of duty in the Peace Corps, or both; whether your approach emphasizes neuroscience, corporate experience, or positive psychology, you bring your experience, learning, and life to the conversations of coaching.Download Article 1K Club