I recently finished a two-day introductory course into coaching through Growth Coaching International. Their approach is based around three core ‘pillars’: a framework for the coaching conversation (the GROWTH model); core micro communication skills, and; coaching as a way of being. What interested me most was the notion of ‘coaching as a way of being’ and the impact that being a coach can have on all aspects of life.
One of the things that was spoken about was emotional intelligence and the importance to know thyself first and foremost. Popularised by Daniel Goleman, it is made up of four elements that encapsulate understanding of the self: self awareness, self management, social awareness and social skills. Whether it be different levels of empathy or strengths analysis, the discussion during the course seemed to came back to a concrete definition of who we each are. This ideal seemed to ignore the different situations within which each of us exist each and every day.
In The End of Average, Todd Rose unpacks the problem of the average man. In its place, he reinstates the individual and all of the nuances that this brings. One of Rose’s concerns is the lack of context when it comes to discussion of character traits, such as emotional intelligence. Going beyond the surveys which provide a list of strengths, the challenge is to understand the various situations within which these occur.
The strategy that Rose proposes is the notion of ‘if then’ signatures. That is, if it is a particular situation, then it will produce these traits. For example, we may act one way at home and another way in our workplace or one way while teaching a class and another while leading teachers.
I am not saying that such character tests do not have a use. I wonder if they can be used as a provocation to drive self awareness about who we might be depending of which situation. As always, comments welcome.
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