Home Concepts Strategy Future of Coaching Lost Souls? [Inspired by Stratford]

Lost Souls? [Inspired by Stratford]

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To analyse the above, the tone of the ‘existence’ statement and the rather uncouth ‘go to’ statement underpin a different philosophy to ‘eclectic mix’.

The statement of ‘best practice’ is a discourse drawn from managerialism.  The managerialist discourse elevates the practical and simplifies the complex.  It is a reductionist discourse. The consequence is that the artistic, the emotive, the creative are driven out by rational pragmatism.

Sure, there is a ‘benefit to society’ statement in this extract but perhaps this is more a residue from the past. The ‘go to’ vision has a commercial, selling feel to it. A macho, rational pragmatic feel – please form an orderly queue for these wonderful offerings and brands as you are rushing to ‘go to’!

There is the language of strategy in this extract. Barnett points out that in society there is a shift and “genuinely interactive and collaborative forms of reasoning” (1994: 37) are being driven out by strategic reasoning.  This increased drive for rational reductionism is feature of managerialism and the commodification that accompanies the discourse. This is a problem for activities linked to coaching and mentoring.  Coaching and mentoring are “genuinely interactive and collaborative forms of reasoning” (1994: 37).  Coaching and mentoring exist to ‘benefit’ people. They are deeply human and humane activities – they simply do not work on any other level. To reduce them to codes and ciphers (i.e. regulations, codes of conduct, ethical rules, offerings and brands) is to devalue and deny their inherent complexity. It is commodify, package and sell.  This is the tone of the above.

Further scrutiny of the website shows the creation of hierarchies and grand titles i.e. president. This is another trapping of managerialism.

This form of managerialist professionalization is ripping the soul out of coaching and mentoring. It is driving out inclusivity and the eclectic mix in favour of exclusivity and commodification.  The lost souls have gone to find a more compassionate home.

Coaching and mentoring are a relatively new set of activities. They offer difference, and a genuine alternative to what has gone before.  They are potentially a new discourse about the ways in which we relate. So, why not create a new type of profession with new ways of being to help us find the lost soul of coaching and mentoring?

To start, we need a return to the core values and principles of what we do as coaches and mentors.  We need to celebrate diversity and complexity, we need to strip down the materialist hierarchy and work on a peer basis.

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