What works and towards what? This simple dual question has far-reaching consequences.
[see: “If it works, then it’s OKAY?”]
To me, this question is always important. “It works” is not enough as a statement about anything.
Compared to placebo
A placebo (defined as deceitful) will never do in any straightforward way since the ‘towards what’ is bound to be symptomatic. If a placebo reaches depth, it is needle-like and can even be hurtful. A placebo doesn’t have any of the characteristics of Compassion. [see: “Placebo Is Not Good for You”]
In my view, only Compassion – empathy beyond, not ‘empathy’ as purely conceptual – can go deep and move things in-depth in a way that invites growth. [see: “Essence of Compassion”]
This way, only this one non-specific factor (Compassion) needs to be sought and developed for good coaching. [see: “Compassionate Goal of Coaching”]
That’s all, only this?
Only this ― in all its complexity and multiple forms, details, and grandeur. In all its difficulty to manage and be managed. And yet in its simplicity. One can go on and on.
In the way Compassion is never-ending, humans too are never-ending in their mental richness of multiple dimensions. Because of this, I think that human coaching will always remain interesting as well to the coach as to the coachee.
In its exquisite attention to the complexity of another person, Compassion also forms the own mind-brain in a myriad of ways.
Quoting one of my favorite researchers:
“Although most of the changes are too small to detect with the naked eye, everything you’ve experienced has altered the physical structure of your brain – from the expression of genes to the positions of molecules to the architecture of neurons. Your family of origin, your culture, your friends, your work, every movie you’ve watched, every conversation you’ve had – these have all left their footprints in your nervous system. These indelible, microscopic impressions accumulate to make you who you are, and to constrain who you can become.” The Brain: The Story of You, David Eagleman, 2017
Thus, Compassion is not only the only thing that works ― It works in two ways. In coaching, in any good instance of coaching, the coach can learn something deeply human, making him a better person and a better coach.
Differentiating Compassion from ‘mere’ empathy
is in the first place its fundamental orientation towards depth ― developed by a myriad of ‘microscopic impressions that accumulate to make you who you are.’
Purely conceptual empathy doesn’t take. The indents of the wheel are too big. They need to be much smaller. They need to be subconceptual.
Another quote by Eagleman, same book:
“The cosmos turned out to be larger than we had ever imagined from gazing at the night sky. Similarly, the universe inside our heads extends far beyond the reach of our conscious experience. Today we are gaining the first glimpses of the enormity of this inner space.”
Ethics for free?
In this ‘universe inside,’ one may find the Inner Strength to, at the same time, be oneself and the other. In other words: What is good for you is good for me ― in abundance for all.
First to do: not being naïve in this. Ethical conduct doesn’t come by mere wishful thinking. It doesn’t stay away by it either.
Growing towards an ‘Aurelian coach’ puts ethics at the forefront. [see: “Growing towards AURELIS Coach”] At the same time, one can trust a genuinely Compassionate stance to evolve towards it spontaneously.
Note that the Aurelian take on ethics is Compassion-oriented all the way through, as a continuous effort, in openness, respect, freedom, depth, and trust. [see: “Five Aurelian Values”]
Within this setting, Compassion works.