Perspectives of Coaching in times of crises

The role of COACHING in the present world under crisis
ICF European Coaching Conference in Madrid, 16-18/6/2011
“Reinventing ourselves’

The goal of the coach is to make the coachee see the reality, feel the reality, act in the reality. He provides the tools to create an integrated real personality, through consciousness and global awareness.

  • What is the crucial role of the coach in the current historical context?
  • What is his/her participation under today's unexpected and tragic circumstances facing our planet?
  • What is the best way to support his/her customers who are unable to understand how to deal with this unprecedented change?
  • Are we entering a new era or undergoing radical individual and social transformation?

These were the concerns to which we were invited to submit internationally distinguished speakers, professional coaches and academic researchers in ICF European Coaching Conference held in Madrid on 16 to 18 June 2011 and in which I participated.

I confess that I was highly motivated to attend such a Conference.  This time being, tested not only the economic, but also social strength and reliability of our country at the international level. Moreover, the most important motivation was to help my own clients to meet today's challenges by assembling the most contemporary knowledge, the most effective tools and practices worldwide.

Furthermore, I noticed immediately that we are experiencing a crisis all across Europe, each in its own way, but all together. The anxiety about the future of our planet, the spread of poverty, the loss of human dignity and purpose, the destruction of the environment, the supremacy of speculation, the lack of global justice. 

But let's begin because there was not one speech that had something important to offer us.

Julio Olalla with the speech “From Knowledge to wisdom” reveals that we live in a cognitive schizophrenia to external (materialism, behaviors, etc.) at the expense of internal (emotional, spiritual, archetype). As he said "the nature  became raw material rather than to live in it.  We live in a mechanical, impersonal, unconscious, indifferent universe because we have forgotten our soul for the sake of material pleasures. We have confused the 'good' with 'more'. For Olalla the solution lies in the wisdom that is based not on knowledge but on ambition and gratitude and his message was knowledge about ourselves and our environment encourages responsibility ('Raising awareness that generates responsibility»).

And then a young philosopher, Charles Eisenstein, certainly not more than 32-33 years old, without a single slide, but only with his words and his stoical appearance, captivated us.  I am sure that in the future we will hear much talk about him. «The world to come" was the speech and what I will share with you is a shocking report at the age of our society.

The childhood is in an era of development, and as such children ask for more and more in order to feel safe. This is OK for a child. But when the child becames an adult it is their turn to give and to co-create. Our society continuously developed, until now, requested and received all the time and continues to require even more.

Therefore, our society must grow up and be an adult, produce and co-create.  We must create a world build in new stories. Gifts create a bond and security will come from generosity. From Separation to reunion. From the world of separation to the world of gift). From growth to contribution was the central idea of Charles.

Sir John Whitmore is a very famous English coach, with humor and brilliant mind. He reminded us how the educational system is built to medieval models that fills our children with knowledge perhaps never will be used in life and equip them in the slightest with modern knowledge and tools that will make them happy, creative and social stakeholders. Then the whole speech was what led us to the current crisis and what we must do so. Points, excessive consumption, human injustice, the end of the capitalist system.  We have lack of social justice. The economy must serve man rather than destroys the environment. He spoke about new leadership based in agility, authenticity, values, vision consciousness.  He spoke about wholly natural systems that take account of the people as a whole. One of the most important messages was: Our choices the consequences of which we are lead to accountability. The right choice! Provide options for young people through the education system.

Bernard Lietaer, an economist, in his speech “From competition to cooperation' put its own economic stamp for the roots of the current crisis.

He said money from the moment he ceases to be just means of exchange that was the purpose for which it was created but became product profitability of savings etc became the beginning of the crisis.

Moreover crisis is systemic and not just economic. He talked to us for the most beautiful Union. The yang – male nature (action, competition, I check, the hierarchy, capacity, effectiveness) and the yin – the feminine nature (trust, cooperation, participation, selection, resilience) needed for the modern society, although the round table conference was an unprecedented monopoly Yang (all men!) The final message was a cooperation economy and equilibrium in harmony with nature in green cities. From Efficiency to Resilience.

Richard Barrett is a famous business coach with much talent, and at the same time as structured and analytical thought why the theories and practices of acquiring fanatic allies. Quote from the speech “Leaving the new Leadership paradigm” that is imperative to make a shift from being the best in the world to being the best for the world. He talked about revolutionary coaching and he concluded that The basis of all life is cooperation.

And now my favorite Richard Tarnas: a modern great philosopher, humble, polite, with excellent use of words in his speech “World views create worlds”.

Tarnas, although the only non-official coach, surprised us with the best definition of coach- as agent of creation. In order to build our future, we must know our history. He used the example of cut flowers in the vase without roots that cannot be maintained for long.

The Moon is the symbol of the whole , because it leaves the other stars to appear while the Sun covers all with glow.

Consumerism greed led us to destroy the meaning of life. Possibly our ego from the era of the Renaissance and the enlightenment came in and became a grain of sand, lost in space without direction from the terror of death approaching. This situation is possible if you understand and use our uniqueness as individuals. Vessels to lead us to the future, seek to be born through us. We must embrace the wholeness through giving.

Final personal comments and summary of main messages.

After this experience I felt richer in every respect. We shared common concerns, anxieties. Mostly we have seen that each alone is not enough. Moreover, that the current crisis is not solved only by some groups such as politicians, journalists, spiritual beings or protestors in the squares of Greece, Spain or throughout the world.

To resolve, in accordance with the central idea of our speakers, everyone must realize his own need to reconnect with real, meaningful, archetypes of our existence; acceptance, coexistence and the joy of sharing and giving.

To accept ourselves as a whole entity that affects any power of any group that is closer and begin to act generously offering whatever each can. And in this way the role of coaching is catalytic.

In order to achieve a better world for everyone, we must create a new world based in new stories or the old good ones where our reward will be our offer.

Let our fears go and be replaced with wisdom and gratitude. Let us be the first good example. Let's take this step first to give our customers options!

Professional coaches are in the best position today to support their clients in this stage of internal and external transformation. Coaching includes full respect for human nature with its weaknesses and its infinite possibilities.

The methodology of coaching is ideal to instill accountability and encourage participation because it relies on the creation of respect and cooperation, self knowledge and self action. Finally, the role of the coach is to become a catalyst of creativity, innovation and generate genuine value in human life and society.

Coaching is something magical, scientific and psychological. Magic for the results achieved, scientific for the systematic approach and methodology and psychological because the coach facilitates his/her coachee to use his/her emotions in the best way.

Barbara Asimakopoulou
HR Consultant, Motivational trainer, Business Coach
June 2011


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