Two-way streets

I’d like to introduce Bob Thomson, a Critical Publishing author whose book, Non-directive Coaching, published in April.

When Julia asked me to post a blog entry I was happy to oblige as she and Di did a wonderful job producing my book, Non-directive Coaching.

Reading that Julia and Di had been reflecting on their choice of the name Critical Publishing led me to think about the word critical. IT is a word that often has negative overtone but can actually be positive or negative. It’s a bit like the word assertive which in everyday language is equated with aggressive. I think that basic assertiveness – getting your own way – is a one-way street version. Genuine assertiveness – stating clearly your own position and respectfully giving equal space to the other person to state what they want – is a two-way street.

In a similar way, the two-way street version of the word critical is essentially positive. As the thesaurus on my laptop suggests, it implies significant, important, essential, analytical and judicious. I imagine it’s this view of critical which Julia and Di had in mind when they named their company.

One aspect of the role of a coach is as a critical friend – someone who can blend support and challenge to help a client work out what they really want and what they will do to achieve this. And while a non-directive coach is non-directive about the content of the client’s thinking, they are directive about the process, actively managing and structuring the coaching conversation in the interest of the client. This is a two-way street notion of non-directive.

Bob Thomson
Author of Non-directive Coaching

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One thought on “Two-way streets

  1. Hi Bob. I love word play. The word origin of “critical” comes from the English word “criterion”. CRITERION is the CRITICAL standard with which to make a judgement. The overall meaning of the word is “to decide.” Clients come to coaching with a decision to take action on something important in their lives.

    The dictionary lists the first definition of the word “critical” as such: not approving: tending to find fault with somebody or something, or with people and things in general. I think the clients come to coaching with this type of mind set. They are mostly critical of themselves, of their previous decision making processes. In coaching we place value on critical thinking. We help clients take their critical selves and turn it around to say that yes you can be critical of yourself, how can you make that work for you and not against you? I love that there are 2 way streets when it comes to words. When words are put in the right light, in their proper place for change and empowerment the good they do spreads throughout.

    By Lisa Zaccagnini

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