Coaching Expands the Range of Self

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” [John Donne (1572-1631), Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII]

I do not subscribe to the idea of core, essential and separate selves. I am a proponent of  a more “dialogical” understanding of self that decentralizes who and where we are.  We are because we know others. We are because significant voices, collective voices and myriad social relations create the space for us to be. We are, in a sense, an embodied form of dialog.

Our ability to recreate and imagine conversations means the voices echo constantly giving us the sense (illusion) that there is something essential  “inside” talking to us.  Further, our everyday conversations with others uses cultural vocabularies of “me” and “you” that enables us to experience being separate individuals. This confuses us into thinking the voices in our head are the quintessential me, something philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein calls one of our most far-reaching grammatical mistakes.

We are not but are always becoming. And this becoming depends on our sociality. Therefore, while it is possible to engage in productive self-coaching, the power of self-coaching is limited by the number, quality and flexibility of conversations we have incorporated in the past. Breakthrough outside-the-box coaching requires dialogs that can recast those past conversations into expanded contexts. In this way, sudden interpretive shifts can occur and new personal storylines become possible. That is the power of client-coach dialog.

Though there are non-dialogical means to breakthrough insights, such as thought watching, thought stopping, and mindfulness meditation, concentrated solution-focused conversation is a powerful, time-efficient and culturally familiar alternative.

Rodney L. Merrill, MPH, PhD
Tools forBrilliance
“A Coach Approach to Accelerated Personal & Professional Development”


About Rodney Merrill

Certified Life Coach with B.A. degree in Sociology, Master's in Health Education, and PhDs in Social Psychology and Applied Social Sciences. TOOLS FOR CREATIVE LIVING EDUCATION Comprehensive Coaching U Certified Comprehensive Positive Psychology Coach Erickson College 2012 Professional Coach Program Solutions-Focused Coaching Life Coach Institute 2011 Certified Life Coach Goal-setting & Self-Talk Coaching Tilburg University 2011 PhD in Applied Social Science California State University, Northridge 1989 MPH in Health education Columbia Pacific University 1983 PhD in Community Psychology Columbia Pacific University 1980 MA in Community Psychology Humboldt State University 1975 BA in Sociology Ventura College AA in Liberal Arts Lisbon Regional 1968 High School Diploma
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