The Question Matters


Coaching in the Wild

Posted in Coaching in the Wild by treyfinley1008 on June 28, 2010
Tags: , ,

I’ve taken a break from blogging recently.  Some of this was self-imposed.  Inspiration was lacking, and my content felt redundant.  Other reasons included a dramatic change in my work schedule.  What used to be my scheduled time devoted to writing is no longer available.  I must make a new scheduled time!  A bigger reason than these two is the opportunity to let what I believe will be my first publication simmer and ferment.  For the foreseeable future, I’m going to post my thoughts and ideas on the subject of Coaching in the Wild.

There is something unpredictable and mysterious about coaching.  I know, I know.  I’ve spent valuable time blogging about how coaching is scientifically validated with any number of anecdotal success stories.  Nevertheless, the science and the skills are means to an end, not an end unto themselves.  Coaching is an adventurous exploration down a path which is sometimes poorly marked, curves back on itself, and is occasionally blocked.  This exploration can be a means unto itself.  Walking the path side by side with another is reason enough to pursue coaching.  However, there is the potential for more.

At its heart, my thought is this:  coaching is a hunt for the soul.

First question:  If coaching is a hunt for the soul, what exactly are we hunting?  Parker Palmer is an educator whose book The Courage to Teach greatly impacted my journey.  Palmer, a deeply spiritual man with a more mystical view of Christianity, uses the metaphor of a wild animal to describe the soul in a recent lecture:

I think the human soul is very much like a wild animal, and by that I mean two things. On the one hand, the soul is tough, resilient, and resourceful; it knows how to survive in hard places where no other part of us knows how to survive…But, exactly like a wild animal, this tough resilient, resourceful soul is also essentially shy. And we know that if we want to see a wild animal the last thing we should do is go crashing into the woods screaming for it to come out. We know that under those conditions we will simply scare away the thing we seek, this shy thing we seek. We do know, however, that if we walk into the woods quietly and if we will sit at the base of a tree and breathe with each other, breathe with the Earth for an hour or two, we may eventually catch a glimpse of that wild creature that we seek. We may catch it only out of the corner of our eye, but we will never forget the sight and the sight will be an end in itself.

What do you think about this definition of the soul?

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9 Responses to 'Coaching in the Wild'

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  1. Marla Finley said,

    Inspiring, refreshing, heart-warming!! 🙂

  2. Laurel said,

    Hi Trey,
    Very interesting quote and metaphor. This works so well for those wanting to find their truth and authenticity.
    Laurel

  3. Rhonda Peterson said,

    This definition of the soul is powerful. The fact that my soul is tough, resilient and resourceful means my deep being can survive in the wild of life. That gives hope when the going is tough. I like the additions others have posted, which expand on why we have such trouble getting a glimpse of our own soul, let alone taking the risk of sharing our soul – what we know of it – with others. Thanks to Connie for sharing “my other senses will allow me to judge how safe you are to share my soul with.”

    Thanks, Trey, for returning to your blog to share this post. Looking forward to what you write next.

  4. Niloufer Watkins said,

    You had asked for suggestions on the title “coaching in the wild” … after reading the above probably “coaching the wild” may fit better :).

  5. Demra Robbins said,

    Ah so that’s what I did wrong. I have been charging through the jungle while the cows keep grazing on the sidelines and I forgot to stop an breath under a tree! Thanks for the eye opener. Great blog.

  6. Rhesa said,

    This is a deep definition of the soul that goes far beyond the simple words we may use to try to box it in. The soul is probably beyond definition and therefore, this metaphor is perfect in its ambiguity.

    On another note, I have ‘A Hidden Wholeness’ if you would like to borrow it.

  7. Nathon said,

    My soul certainly is elusive. He’s been hiding for 8 days now. I looked for him in my new Droid smart phone, but he’s not there. He’s not on TV, either.

    I thought I’d find him in my work, but without him my work is unproductive.

    I found him. He was in Seth Godin’s book Linchpin. He needed motivation – a reminder of his mission and value.

    Time to get to work.


  8. I found out his lecture was taken almost directly from his book, A Hidden Wholeness. It’s in my Amazon wish list.

  9. Connie said,

    What do I think of this definition of the soul? Profound. And, like the wild animal, my other senses will allow me to judge how safe you are to share my soul with, no matter how long you might sit at the base of the tree.


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