A Coaching Mind

Lewis Lapham starts his post about the mind’s ability to reinterpret the past with a quote from Jeffrey Eugenides: “Biology gives you a brain, life turns it into a mind”.

Lewis’s post and Michio Kaku’s (2014) Future of the Mind prompted my thoughts about a coaching mind and consciousness.

I sense that these philosophical issues will become more important as coaches deal with performance data flows in their daily working environments. For example, Lewis’s observes:

The scientific-industrial complex focuses its efforts on the creation of artificial intelligence—computer software equipped with functions of human cognition giving birth to machines capable of visual perception, speech and pattern recognition, decision making and data management.

He adds:

Mind is consciousness, and although a fundamental fact of human existence, consciousness is subjective experience as opposed to objective reality and therefore outdistances not only the light of the sun and the moon but also the reach of the scientific method.

Michio notes “human consciousness … creates a model of the world and then simulates it in time, by evaluating the past to simulate the future”.

In my concept of a coaching mind, I have a sense of coaches’ experiencing different kinds of consciousness. Alain Morin (2006) identifies four kinds of consciousness that help me reflect on coaching as an emerging experience and learning journey:

  • Unconscious: being non-responsive to self and environment
  • Conscious: focusing attention on the environment; processing incoming external stimuli
  • Self-awareness: focusing attention on self; processing private and public self-information
  • Meta-self-awareness: being aware that one is self-aware

Alain concludes his paper with a recognition that there are other conversations to be had:

A great deal of effort still needs to be deployed in order to examine and compare additional consciousness-related concepts such as “meta-cognition”, “higher-order thought,” “autonoetic,” “visceral,” “first-order consciousness,” and “immediate self-awareness.”

Lewis, Michio, and Alain have helped me reflect on how coaches might flourish in an occupational culture that will extend the reach and application of artificial intelligence.

I am hopeful that the move towards and within meta-self-awareness might help us discuss how we, as mindful people, create our own intelligence augmentation and achieve a symbiosis with the tools that we integrate mindfully in our praxis.

Photo Credit

In the mind’s eye (Robert Couse-Baker, CC BY 2.0)

Feedback Loop (Robert Couse-Baker, CC BY 2.0)