What is Existential
Coaching? - Key Ideas
Existential Coaching is practically focused and highly accessible.
It has been developed from a set of interconnected principles designed
to assist clients to more effectively respond to the dilemmas of
living and act in greater harmony with their chosen goals and aspirations.
Drawn from contemporary
applied psychology and philosophy, these principles provide a straightforward
means with which to address those areas of conflict and tension
that restrict our potential for personal achievement and diminish
our ability to engage in fulfilling relationships with others.
four key ideas lie at the heart of Existential Coaching:
- First, Existential
Coaching promotes the view that long-term, meaningful and worthwhile
outcomes from focused coaching interventions only emerge when
the whole of the person's worldview, or general stance
to life, is properly examined.For each of us, our worldview includes
a wide range of beliefs, needs, values and aspirations. However,
our worldview is rarely sufficiently explored and identified.In
many cases, our worldview contains competing and contradictory
attitudes and stances that provoke conflict between our wider
life-oriented needs and goals and our work-focused objectives,
responsibilities and development plans.
issues arising from a divided worldview are properly addressed,
all interventions that are focused only upon current concerns
or felt disturbance will provide, at best, merely a brief and
inadequate resolution.Worse, they may well provoke greater levels
of felt powerlessness, uncertainty and anger directed either
towards oneself, others (including, of course, one's family
or work colleagues), or both. Existential Coaching helps clients
to become much more aware of their unique and underlying worldview
so that they may be more able to challenge the ambiguities,
tensions and limitations that impact upon their stated goals
- Second, Existential
Coaching rejects the common view that conflict is itself the source
of our problems and should be eradicated from our lives.
Coaching believes that in the great majority of cases an inadequately
examined worldview is the source of that form of conflict which
acts negatively upon our personal and professional satisfaction
as well as our sense of purpose and self-esteem. Conflict often
expresses issues surrounding dividedness - either in
our relations to business or to others.
other coaching programmes that only focus upon broadly positive,
self-actualising qualities and possibilities for each client,
Existential Coaching's approach also recognises and gives equal
emphasis to the divided stances, aims and aspirations that may
well exist as competing values and beliefs held by each client.
Coaching argues that unless the issues and sources of dividedness
are properly addressed, all interventions are doomed to provide,
at best, merely a brief and inadequate resolution. Worse, they
may well serve to provoke greater levels of felt powerlessness,
uncertainty and anger directed either towards oneself, others
(including, of course, one's organisation), or both. It is our
view that long-term, meaningful and worthwhile outcomes from
focused coaching interventions only emerge when the whole of
the person's worldview, or stance to life, is considered - conflicting
and divided needs, wishes and desires and all!
- Third, Existential
Coaching argues that worldviews do not develop from within individuals. Rather, our worldview emerges from, and is an expression
of, relations between persons. Success
today, at every level, calls for an awareness of and sensitivity
to individual and cultural diversity so that we can better respond
to the distinctive responsibilities and demands that arise from
a global perspective and economy.Existential Coaching adopts the
view that every step we take in life has its impact not just upon
ourselves but upon others - be they our family, our friends, our
work colleagues, our organisation, our society and, ultimately,
the whole world.Its commitment is to assist clients in arriving
at personal decisions and life changes that are grounded in a
relationally attuned awareness and responsibility.
- Fourth, Existential
Coaching stresses that the value and expertise of coaches is not
that of supplying the solutions to clients' problems. Instead,
the best coaches offer the necessary mental "space"
that will assist their clients in finding their own means to live
a good and responsible life.Sometimes,
clients discover that creative and liberating results will occur
through self-directed changes in behaviour and lifestyle.
On the other
hand, they may also find that the most helpful and effective
changes only occur when they accept that "what is there"
for them at present may not be open to all their efforts at
directed change and can only be "worked with" rather
than "worked against".
Coaching is not about imposing self-directed change just for
the sake of short-term benefits that may, in the long run, become
the basis for far greater discord and disturbance.Instead,
Existential Coaching recognises that the less we feel required
(whether by others or ourselves) to alter something in our lives,
the more willing and able we become to consider the possibilities
and worth of change - and then act accordingly.
In general, Existential Coaching works within a context that emphasises
an organisationally-aware, socially-conscious and responsible way
of considering human beings - which is to say, as beings in relation
to and with one another rather than the more self-isolationist biases
of many other forms of coaching.
"The words of truth are always paradoxical."