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Change We Can Believe In - a case study of a brief coaching session

I learn a lot from my clients.
After a session, I review my notes; I think of the path taken and of the many paths not taken; I think about what I said, and I think about what the client said; and new insights, new perspectives emerge.
These reflections are very useful to improve my game.
Sometimes, they offer very interesting insights into how the mind works, how change happens, how people think.

A recent coaching session with a new client led me to musings about language and change.

After getting his authorization and changing a few details to protect my client’s privacy, here it goes:

“Philosophy [and coaching] is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language” - Wittgenstein, #109, Philosophical Investigations

1 - After the initial banter, I ask the client what he would like to work on. He states that “his problem is that he is not able to say no”.
According to protocol, I inquired about what he wants instead and what would be different then for him if he learns to say no to people.
As a reply, the client starts telling his own story: a self-made man, an entrepreneur and a local politician. He tells his story with pride. It seems clear that he has no problem being assertive or saying no. His narrative has epic tones.
So here is the first lesson I was reminded of: the “problem” is often a belief that has been formed by a process of generalization, deletion and distortion.
What fascinates me, again and again, is the richness of the world that is hidden behind such blanket statements offered by clients.

Read the whole case study here, on my website.

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Comment by Paolo Terni on March 3, 2009 at 10:06
Thanks, Katalin!!
Have a gread day,
cheers,
Paolo
Comment by Katalin Hankovszky on March 3, 2009 at 9:41
Hi and thank you. I very much like the case and your thoughts on it.

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