Thursday, October 04, 2007

Being the Best

We live in a competitive world. From sports to the boardroom, it's about getting ahead, getting on top and getting that promotion.

As much as I'd like to say that does not apply in coaching, unfortunately I can no longer make that statement unilaterally. Many of us who have been coaching for eons are much more comfortable in sharing our resources with others, though of course, when it comes to intellectual property, we protect it like our young. That goes directly to the integrity of our profession.

Someone recently asked me what it is I do. That's not an unusual occurrence, not by a long shot. How can you define coaching as distinct from consulting and therapy when there are so many blurred areas between them. However when you bring stewardship into coaching and the basic values, ethics and guidelines by which we should be practicing this profession, it's more easily defined. A colleague Lloyd Raines, who I greatly respect, put it succinctly at an ICCO Symposium last year (International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations) when he said re: Stewardship in Coaching. "Coaching from a framework of stewardship is normative: with accountability for affirming human rights and dignity, ecological health, and care for the health and well-being of the whole. It also shifts focus from 'Being the best in the world' to 'Being the best for the world' (a triple bottom line: economically, socially, ecologically).

The focus is shifted to a whole other level. It's not about competitiveness, it's not about us as coaches, it's about what we do that affects this world, even one person at a time.

Now what if we turned that towards a conversation about leadership? How dramatic an impact would the concept of 'best for the world', world such as the organization, industry, population served, staff etc, be?

Best! (now you know what I mean re that word)
Donna Karlin

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