In the book, I raise the question (at the end of Chapter 4): is it possible to be one’s own coach?
I think the short answer is ‘yes,’ and the longer answer is ‘up to a point.’
On the one hand, I know many people, and I include myself, who can learn from books (for example), apply the learning to their practice, reflect on that, and continue to improve their practice in that way. So there is no absolute reason why somebody could not learn the ManyStory Approach from the book, Shifting Stories, and use the three phases of the model to replace an unhelpful story with a more helpful one.
And yet, I am also aware that I have a coach, and that conversations with my coach often open up new thinking, and generate new insights. Moreover, there is a power that comes from saying things out loud, to another human being, that is hard to define but nonetheless real. Moreover, the external witness is a good support for our conscience in sticking to our good resolutions.
And there’s more; here’s what Nancy Kline says in Time to Think:
‘Solitude can be sustained as a Thinking Environment only as long as we don't interrupt ourselves with these distractions and, most important, as long as we are not wrapped unawares in limiting assumptions.’
So, yes, one can be one’s own coach. However, it is also often extremely valuable to work with somebody else on these complex issues: someone who can help us stay focused, who can help us to notice the assumptions that we are making, someone who can listen to us with exquisite attention and thus take our thinking to new places, and someone whose presence will help us build the resolve to stick to our commitments once we have articulated them.
But I wonder if I have only scratched the surface of this topic here; and the point of this blog is to prompt reflection and discussion. So I will be most interested in others’ comments and perspectives, to take my thinking forward.