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Coaching to a Las Vegas State of Mind

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We no longer even read an evening newspaper (which in most cases is now out of business). Our news comes in brief sound and video bites on a cable news station that is highly politicized (either left or right wing) or our news comes from the bits of information contained on the Internet (these bits often being just as biases as those offered on the cable channels). While the news has always been biased in most countries in the world, we now find that there is very little news. Rather, there is an abundance of interpretation and a minimization of information.

As coaches, do we collude in the emphasis on interpretation? Are we often helping our clients make some sense of their world (images on the wall of the cave) by offering our own analysis? Are we sufficiently arrogant to believe that our clients need not experience the real world in its raw form (outside the cave) or even experience the shadow on the wall without our interpretative intervention? What is it that our clients are asking for in the coaching relationship? Interpretation and analysis?  Or do our clients want us to encourage direct experience? Are we to offer support as our clients experience the real world and receive unvarnished and full-spectrum feedback from their environment?

Living in the Cave IV: Listening to and Observing Multiple Shadows

Can it get even more challenging in the cave? Can we add more complexity with regard to Plato’s allegory? Living in a postmodern world that resembles Las Vegas, perhaps we are actually living in a cave that has multiple openings. There may be multiple shadows on the wall of the cave, each shadow being a partial image of the outside world (with the image being selectively blocked at each opening). Furthermore, there may be multiple interpretations of each partial shadow being projected on the wall in front of us (and to our side and even behind us).  What a remarkable cave this would be – a bit like traveling down one of the major boulevards in Las Vegas surrounded by glittering casinos, with each one encouraging us to enter their own unique fantastic reality.

It would seem that the openings in this postmodern cave may even be coming and going. One closes down while another one opens up. In Las Vegas, we can travel down streets that once were filled with prosperous casinos. In most cases, there are now only empty lots, the casinos having been torn down. When visiting Las Vegas we want something new. Not the same old thing. Not the traditions (other than the faux traditions of a recreated Paris or Rome). As coaches, do we ever encourage our clients to hold on to the old or to value continuity with the past? Or do we watch with our clients as the old is torn down and the new is created (often at great expense)? Are we always in the business of innovation and change?

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