A key benefit of discussing important decisions with your executive coach is the exploration of alternative explanations for observed events. Managers, particularly business owners, have a very distinct point-of-view, a set of filters that leads them to interpret the data differently than their coach, employees, and customers might. A good executive coach will help the manager consider other possible meanings thereby making better decisions and communicating more effectively.
Here is fun example of how the position from which you view events can lead you to the wrong conclusion.
For a social discipline, such as management, the assumptions are actually a good deal more important than are the paradigms for a natural science. The paradigm—that is, the prevailing general theory—has no impact on the natural universe. Whether the paradigm states that the sun rotates around the earth, or that, on the contrary, the earth rotates around the sun, has no effect on sun and earth. But a social discipline, such as management, deals with the behavior of people and human institutions. The social universe has no “natural laws” as the physical sciences do. It is thus subject to continuous change. This means that assumptions that were valid yesterday can become invalid and, indeed, totally misleading in no time at all.
Because the generally held assumptions about management no longer apply, it is important that we first make them explicit, and then replace them with assumptions that better fit today’s reality.
That’s where we are today with the discipline of management.
There is an important difference between coaching and advice.
• Coaching is listening to and standing for a person’s greatness and the expression of their possibility while inviting the client into new ways of being, seeing, and speaking that will support his or her intentions.
• Advice is telling someone to take an action consistent with the advice-giver’s worldview, paradigm, opinions, interpretation, assessment, standards, etc.
Each has its place, but are most valuable when clearly distinguished. For example, to say, “I have an opinion about what you should do in this situation,” is a responsible way to give advice.
Capsule Review: A fascinating tour of fundamental issues too often ignored or finessed.
Philosopher scientists Hofstadtler and Dennett offer an anthology of probing essays along with their own running commentary on the topics of identity, consciousness, and reductionism vs. holism. More compelling and less of a challenge to read than Hofstadtler’s more famous book, Goëdel, Escher and Bach, it nonetheless guides the reader to reconsider many of his assumptions about what he is and where he fits in the world.
The book, unfortunately, was written just as complexity theory was (more…)
Here is my take on a classic novel about personal transformation along with some intriguing exploration of paradigms, human perception, and frames of reference.
First, this blurb…
Thanks so much for putting this into words. It is the most concise and accurate analysis of this work that I have ever read. The Razor’s Edge has been my favorite book for many years. I re-read it often. And now I will be able to look at it with a fresh eye again.
The Razor’s Edge is often described as the story of Larry, a war veteran who forsakes a comfortable life in Chicago “society” for a vague spiritual quest. It is better appreciated as a portrait of his acquaintances, whose conventional lifestyles are starkly contrasted to the path walked by the seeker. Some readers have wished to know more of Larry and criticize the space and attention Maugham lavished upon the “ancillary” characters. Instead, The Razor’s Edge illuminates the spiritual path by focusing on people more like the typical reader, people who do not give up materialistic Western striving. The best way to see Larry is to look at what he is not.
This narrative technique succeeds wonderfully in the masterful hands of author W. Somerset Maugham, best known for Of Human Bondage. Rather than simply lay out the details of Larry’s explorations and development, which, being spiritual and internal, would be rather dull to watch, Maugham reveals Larry by dissecting the contrasting behavior of his associates.
The Positive Aspects of Negative Space
This reminds me of the artist’s exercise of drawing “negative space” instead of the object itself. By carefully sketching only those parts of the background visible around the figure one creates a suggestive (more…)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a deep and impressive work that has sold millions of copies and stayed in print in many languages for over twenty years. I read it for the first time when I was about forty years old. It was good to wait until I was ready for it. I am not sure I can recommend the book, but I am glad I experienced it.
Mr. Pirsig presents the story of his search for the roots of deep (more…)
The renowned author of The Tao of Physics weaves a yet broader tapestry of reality in The Web of Life. Capra’s readable survey goes beyond quantum physics and eastern mystics to encompass biology, consciousness, and the ecology of the entire earth. From chaos and complexity science, through Heidegger and the Systems Thinkers, right up to the Gaia Theory, Capra explains in fascinating detail the key ideas of twentieth-century philosophers and scientists whose insights may be propelling all of us into the post-modern era.
Selected excerpts from the book. [My comments in brackets.]
p. 6 A social paradigm, which I define as “a constellation of concepts, values, perceptions, and practices shared by a community, which forms a particular vision of reality that is the basis of the way the community organizes itself.”
Tracy Goss has long been closely associated with Werner Erhard, the originator of EST and Landmark Education Corporation’s Forum. I expect happy graduates of those programs to be very happy with this book (I am and I am). The book presents the central concepts of those programs very clearly and in a format designed to help business people put the “distinctions” to work immediately. I doubt, however, that a person not trained in ontological coaching could get much sense from these pages. It can seem to be merely jargon and wild promises unless you have actually put the techniques to work for yourself with the assistance of a coach (as I have and I do).
For people experienced with the methods, this book is an effective refresher and spur to action. A friend and I (more…)
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