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The myth of self improvement

The days of certainty, of reliability in the external world are indubitably over, and clients are having to navigate their lives within the context of these shifting times. What does that mean for coaching? How can we meet these complex needs and best serve clients in these times?

Coaching is becoming more popular but the landscape of what is brought into the room has changed. The old paradigm of coaching was about taking people on a journey from A to B, and the driver of self improvement was the constant focus. Now, more than ever, I am having to support clients navigate the transformations they want to create by starting on a point of self-awareness and self- acceptance.

Post-pandemic the concept of identity has become much more fluid or liquid. The idea of structuring a sense of self based on different categories is obsolete. Increasingly, people are becoming aware that the process of growth, which is what we ultimately seek in the experience of coaching is one of unraveling what is already present within, rather than improving or adding on what's there.

This requires an awakening to who they truly are, and what feelings they experience at each moment in relation to others and their work. If before, I coached on career transitions, creating new art work, increasing the productivity of a team; now I am having to coach on different existential themes. What is work for? What is the point of art? What does my team and my audience need from me?

Quite often the coaching becomes self-enquiry, and the support is not so much on finding solutions, but on finding the right questions.


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