7 Days of Inquiry


Every now and then, it's good for the coaching doctor to take some of his own medicine. So here I am, beginning a brief, 7-day visual inquiry into my practice and myself. 

While much contemporary coaching work starts with goals and the future, I often ask my clients to begin our work together by inquiring into our starting place.

This is not the kind of 'solutions focussed' work which asks, "Where do you want to go? What are your objectives? What are your aims?" This type of work has a good pedigree but it's but for everyone, especially those working in complex, uncertain environments where formulating the question is at least as important as the answer.  I'm really interested in the quality of thinking and dialogue we can bring to complexity and 'stuckness' and 'more of the same' is rarely a good plan. Often, our attempts to change become part of the problem.

So, while my 'version' of coaching is essentially an integrated model, there are some orientations that I hold. One of those is the gestalt notion of change as paradoxical. The idea, put forward by Arnold Beisser, simply suggests that we change by becoming more of what we are, rather than attempting to become something we are not...

So, I begin at the beginning and, as we inquire, we begin to understand the routines and habits that constrain our ability to develop and grow. As our spoken language itself can confine us, I ask my clients to supplement their thinking with imagery. They might rip up magazines, use old snap-shots or grab their camera phone.

And so our photo-dialogue begins.

With this image, the first of seven, I'm running my own mini-inquiry. I'm starting in the office.  Here is a section of the bookcase behind where I sit.

So, why the books, Steve?   Because I find the traction in my work really occurs when radical ideas hit the road in business...

And you chose this particular section?  Mmmm... Something about the diversity, I think, facilitation, aesthetics, identity, ecology, consulting, mindfulness... It's kind of where I'm coming from...

Mmm... now there's a thing. 'Starting in the office.' Really....?

Day 2: Spending It

Day 3: Weekends

Day 4: Skies

Day 5: The guitar

Day 6: Vision

Day 7: Looking Back

Steve MarshallComment