Coaching: Don’t just do something, stand there!

Are you a human being, or a human doing?

For the last couple of years, I’ve been following the blogs of Dr Malcolm Kendrick, whose acerbic observations of the human condition have really appealed to my sense of humour.

Whilst Malcolm’s work is mainly focused on medical matters, his latest writing, entitled “Don’t just do something, stand there!” contained a generous dose of reflection on the human need to always be doing something, or taking action, and this set me off on a bit of a mind spin.

This is how Malcom describes the ‘human doing’ approach to medical matters and why he believes science needs “to get people to stop and question how they are thinking, before throwing themselves into the fray.”

What he sees happening in medicine is a “pattern that repeats over and over again:

  • We have a serious illness – panic
  • Something must be done – grab the pitchforks, run about screaming
  • An influential person, or organisation, grabs the initiative – ‘‘experts’ move in.’
  • I/We know what to do, you must follow me/us – simple idea + soothing paternalism
  • Frightened people latch onto their ideas – two legs good, four legs bad
  • A path is chosen – along the side of a cliff
  • Momentum builds – the unstoppable charge of the light brigade
  • Those who object to the path taken are crushed – 1984

Fast forward a few decades… ‘Oh, it seems that the thing we always do as standard medical practice… Turns out it does more harm than good.’ See under: removal of toxic colon, the radical mastectomy, strict bed rest following a heart attack, cutting teeth, use of radium water, plombage, mercury for syphilis, pre-frontal lobotomy etc.”

In the simplest of terms, Human Doing = Act now; Think later

However, I’m guessing you’re not here to read my synopsis of the world according to Dr Malcom Kendrick, as entertaining as I may find him.  So, let’s talk ‘coaching’ instead…….

Personal and Professional Coaching

The ‘Human Doing’ approach to coaching

When we operate from our heads, focusing on task-based goals and targets, we are very driven to get from A to B as quickly as possible, ticking off items from our ‘to do’ list as we go.

Most coaching models encourage this way of thinking and doing by:

  • Identifying a problem, or challenge to be overcome
  • Looking at the obstacles that make the route to addressing the problem a bit tricky
  • Choosing a route and setting a plan to overcome the obstacles
  • Completing the actions to achieve the plan

This approach is great if you’re wanting to reach a career milestone, run a marathon, or build a 7-figure business.  But, what if you get to the end of your direct-route, non-stop express journey and find yourself thinking “so what?”  What if you see your bank balance steadily building, but your heart is still sinking at an equivalent rate?

What if there was another way?

The ‘Human Being’ approach to coaching

As a coach, I work with a Transformational Coaching model to facilitate growth and change on a deeper and longer lasting level than other forms of coaching; enriching and enhancing the whole you.

Yes, ‘doing’ and ‘taking action’ are involved, but in preparation for that there is a lot of reflection, review and contemplation.

Before setting goals, we look at the bigger picture: What do you want your life to be about?  When you look back, how do you really want to feel about the life-journey you’ve been on?

Your goal then becomes a vision that you have a deep, emotional connection with, rather than it being an action-based target – it goes beyond getting the new job, running a successful business, getting fit and healthy, etc.  It becomes a journey of discovery, where taking the scenic route affords you the time and space to learn about the real you; you. unlimited!

Travel in style

Your coaching journey is intended to challenge and stretch you – it should be an adventure; an exploration.  How you choose to travel is entirely up to you.  Do you prefer the comfort of a cosy armchair, or are you more inspired in the great-outdoors, where perhaps time spent with my equine co-facilitators is more your style?  Maybe mixing it up a bit will work best for you?

Either way, don’t just do something; stand there – unless the something you decide to do is to ‘click here’ to find out more about how coaching might be the journey you’re looking to embark upon!d

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