In the last two years I have matured a knowledge of coaching that goes beyond the pure practice and few given models to follow. I have been always an analytical type of person, that is never satisfied to use something just because it works. Rather, I am usually trying to understand why something works, when it doesn’t, and how I can use it for better. That is the case of coaching, a now renowned corporate tool for empowering employees and achieve greater leadership results. Amazing, right? … Not that quite.
When I think of coaching and its popularity, two things come to my mind. The first is life coaching. It is plenty of people out there doing that. Many of them do not have bad intentions, but use too much intuition or gut feelings for the way I see this tool.
The other is corporate coaching. Organizations want leaders able to inspire their colleagues, and empower them to do the right thing. But the issue is that often the very deep culture of a company does not cope with coaching. It isn’t simply a bottoms-up process, and it is more than a set of behavior.
What both people and businesses need is a cultural change – one where coaching is contemplated as an instrument of deep learning. This is what brought me to do lot of research in the last two years.
And yet coaching (for how I mean it, at least) is not something as popular as I thought. It is often confused with psychotherapy, mentoring, motivational talks and/or life advice.
New Maieutic is not an answer to how to become better coaches. It isn’t a guide to learn coaching. And it isn’t going to propose any coaching model. Then, what the book is going to be about?
What should You expect?
I decided that writing just an essay wouldn’t have given to my work the proper value. Actually, the first part of the book is a monologue that I started to write in 2019 and was meant to be the actual book. I decided this form in homage to the late Andrea Camilleri, the “father” of the inspector Salvo Montalbano; who, beside writing some of my favourite detective stories, was also a man of theater and high literature. His last monologue, Self-Defence of Cain (I talk about it here) gave me inspiration for the form. You will read of a notorious ancient philosopher as if he is talking to you, discussing how dialogue is an incredible learning tool. Here, philosophy and psychology meet to evaluate the learning potential of mankind, and how the very same tools can create harm and ignorance.
The second part is divided in eight chapters. I have tried to do my research well to validate the ideas exposed in this section. I made it to the bottom of my memories to share some valuable experiences and contemplate how our perspective on things, curiosity and potential changes over time. Some of this include:
- how you can lose trust i your role models (and how this can be avoided);
- when helping others by solving their issues does not solve the real problem (neither empowers them);
- if observation can tell you more than what you are told (and how you can empathize better)
There, I tackle coaching by its elements, its uses and how to maintain a healthy coaching habit in your life. That’s because I believe that everyone can use coaching, without necessarily being a coach. But having the right mindset.
But I do not consider coaching all alone. Indeed, I imagine it as a variable in the learning process of any skill and knowledge, where it serves to stimulate critical and creative thinking in order to become master in any field. For this reason, you will read of coaching within the flow of the learning experience, with regards to adult learning (i.e. andragogy). Indeed, you will read about:
- how I screwed up with learning guitar;
- why the same question by my parents had a different effect when asked by my teachers;
- when you see a project crumbling within your hands, and what that teaches you.
Why Maieutic? And why New?
Maieutic is another name we use to describe the Socratic method, that is for me the precursor of modern coaching. The best translation I know to define it, is a very poetic one and goes back to my years in high school: the art of giving birth to souls. The base of coaching is similar to maieutic for how we know it, through the writings of Plato: an investigation in form of dialogue. However, it is New due to several differences from its ancestral form.
- There is still a conflict between facts and opinion, but the coach helps the other to develop, rather than criticize it.
- We assume that there is lot of ignorance out there. And ignorance is the best weapon of a coach. Less he (pretends) to know, less he will suggest.
- Our ancestors used memory and observations more than we do. Today we know about the power of critical thinking, empathy and introspection. When we combine all together…
- You don’t need to be a philosopher anymore to make use of a constructive dialogue. However, with little science you can really help yourself out (and perhaps others) to think better for a better living.
The book is thought to be an inceptive guide on the philosophy of dialogue for the personal development through coaching. It is suggesting how coaching techniques can improve every day’s life. That includes:
- learning something (that is mastering a skill, or a field of knowledge);
- master the art of introspection;
- tickle your memory, your emotions and your logic all at once;
- retrospect on events with a meaning;
- self-coaching as a tool of personal development;
- coaching as a healthy confrontation;
- fractals, learning and coaching: what do they have in common?
I cannot spoil you more than I have done; all I hope is to have aroused your curiosity. You can also read one chapter for free (here).
Are you looking forward to know more? All you need to do is waiting the release! New Maieutic is coming on Kindle in June.