William Bergquist interviewed Perry Rhue, an experienced coach, who has always been oriented toward the greater good in his work–but has focused in particular during the last year on issues related to race.
Here are some of the themes identified during this interview:
- During its early years in the corporate/business environments, coaching was focused on the welfare of the coaching client, while later coaching tended to blend this focus on the results of the coaching sessions with reference to benefits accruing to the organization in which the client is working.
- The primary concern for the client’s welfare was the primary ingredient in the sauce that became the coaching engagement. Later coaches often ignored the quality of original ingredients when preparing the sauce.
- Effective coaching is embedded in the long-standing emphasis on active listening, the Socratic method of evoking/stimulating critical thinking, drawing out solutions that resides with the client, and seeking a deep understanding and appreciation of the life being led by the client—as the client perceives and finds meaning in this life.
- Following the death of George Floyd, Perry became involved in sessions and meetings with other coaches who explored deeply embedded issues regarding the social construct of race and creating a movement of coaches who are actively influencing change in systemic/institutionalized racism/bias, social injustice, and equality.
- Histories regarding race were never lost (especially among those who had experienced discrimination and injury), they were hidden. These histories were and are not forgotten.
- The narratives that are now emerging regarding race contain and induce trauma for all parties. This trauma might have been best addressed in South Africa rather than the United States. It might be in the search for truth and reconciliation that racial wounds can begin to be healed.
- The future of coaching might best be directed in part to this process of discovering truth and finding ways to reconcile with other people regarding the matters that divide us and that lead to violence (both physical and psychological).