The Context of Coaching

35 min read

Another American myth is that of retirement. Retirement evolved as a concept in the twentieth century to force older people out of full-time work. It was the doing of corporate and labor leaders, in collusion with the federal government. It has nothing to do with optimal human development or the best use of elders as a social resource. As generation after generation of adults extend life-expectancy to higher ranges—into the eighties, nineties, and even beyond—some kind of positive engagement and recognition of elders is called for.

Many, if not most, older workers want to leave a legacy, make a difference, and exert influence on the priorities of the environment around them. In future generations, older workers will launch new careers, assume temporary leadership assignments, engage in volunteer service, and serve as consultants and mentors.

Mentor/coaches can foster new employment challenges for older workers, within corporate environments and outside of them. Mentor/coaches can promote new challenges for older workers to find new meaning and purpose in their work. Many of these coaches will come from the elder ranks themselves: Their voices will come from deep reservoirs; their actions will spring from gratitude; their joy will rise from spirit. Older workers, if prized by their companies, can help immensely to provide stability and pride in the work culture.

Coaching will not cure the perennial ills of corporate life or the American culture. Mentors simply enrich their environments with sharing, caring, and daring. Like yeast they leaven the corporate and community loaves. Coaches roll up their sleeves to make things happen. They have that old American spirit that if we work hard and work together, we’ll all benefit.  If you have abilities others covet and the heart to share, make yourself available and see what happens! Coach/mentors are an enormous resource whose time has come.

The Call of Coaching

At some point between 1950 and 2000, our culture and the entire world moved from a stable-state, linear consciousness to change- oriented, cyclical ways of thinking. The overwhelming need of all cultures at this time in history is to train people to understand change, to manage change, and to guide their lives and human systems, not so much by rules of the past as by purpose, visioning, and planning that will link us to viable futures. For the most part, existing professions and their guilds are embedded in the earlier paradigm of stability and linear thinking.

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