Coaching Ideas

Two fragments came together yesterday and sent me off thinking about coaching.

The first came in an email message from Jo Gibson. She is writing up her PhD at the moment and we have been discussing narrative forms. In her email, Jo shared a description of a short story as:

something glimpsed from the corner of the eye, in passing. An illuminated moment … a glimpse of truth, about which you have forgotten to ask.

When I read that I thought that it was a powerful description of coaches’ experiences as they try to extend their practice. I particularly like the “forgotten to ask” part.

In my own coaching, the forgotten parts emerge through reflection and become part of the next short story, sometimes made explicit, but often left unsaid, embedded in the guided discovery I have planned.

The second fragment also came in the form an email. A friend had seen the first episode of Monty Don’s Paradise Gardens programs. In that program, Monty visits Isfahan, Kashnan, Shiraz and Pasargadae in Iran. There is archeological evidence of a garden at the heart of Cyrus’s 6th century palace at Pasargadae. The program note observes:

When the Arabs invaded Persia in the 6th century, it was these Zoroastrian gardens that influenced their ideas not only of what a garden should be, but of paradise itself.

What struck me about this was that our gardens today are connected to this garden. Our practices have their roots (literally and metaphorically) in Persia.

These two fragments came together in my thinking about how we learn to be coaches and develop our own sense of coaching.

In our coaching, I believe we glimpse the coaching of others who preceded us. On some days, the way a coaching session evolves gives us a taste of ‘paradise’ … in Iranian, a word that describes an enclosed space.

At such moments, our coaching is connected with the ideas that have been explored in other places and are realised in our own design.

Photo Credits

Grenada in 2D (Alexander Savin, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Wrestler and his coach (Michael Heiniger, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Garden and Grand Design Insights for Performance Environments

I have just watched the final episode of Monty Don’s Italian Gardens.

In this program he visited the Vennetto, Lucca, Como and Lake Maggiore.

Throughout the program Monty discussed the transformation of Italian garden design and the impact of seedsmen on these designs.

I thought his visit to Isola Bella was a great way to end the program and the series. The forty-year transformation of a rocky outcrop to an ornate garden prompted me to think about the time scale required for constructing a sustainable performance environment.

On the same evening I watched the concluding part of Kevin McLeod’s documentary on the development of The Triangle in Swindon. I thought the story of the transformation of an idea about improving living environments to a completed but fallible space was compelling. Like Monty, Kevin led me to think about the lived reality of big picture visions.

Both programs took my thinking back to Dharavi too and the role social activity plays in and is supported by intentional design and informal opportunity.

I am going to add the DVDs of both series to my reading (viewing) lists for anyone interested in the construction of performance environments.

Photo Credits

Isola Bella, Lago Maggiore

Haboakus Swindon 0072E