24 nov. 2008


About coaching as Chinese painting
Maybe you will overlook the subtitle and you will read – through a more used filter – “Chinese pinching”. That's wonderful! You just learned something else about yourself, you had the opportunity to leave the inner voice to talk, you made one more step towards that Gauguin’s “Where are we going?”, he himself given to the Chinese space, via Tahiti.

About coaching is it often stated that it’s not a theory, but a professional activity, a practice: to be a coach is more like master a craft – is to develop skills (this, to use newer words). Being a coach means to be usable. It means to leave the other person space to project himself. Just like a painter cannot tell you what you should see on his canvas, no coach can tell you what to do with your life. But you need that frame, and that craft master. The coach only helps you to focus on the topic – on what you call “the problem”, he helps you see it in a perspective, he assures the necessary space for your idea about yourself: he proposes you to see the gap as a place, as an opportunity for a better emplacement. (did you misread again, maybe replacement?)

“The real completion seems it's empty, then it's inexhaustible” – Lao Tse. The most important thing that a coach must do is to be silent. It is the way in which the masters of completion and emptiness were preparing themselves to perform. It is said about a great Chinese painter, Gua Xi, that he was holding a certain preparing ceremonial before he began to paint: he washed his hands, as if he would expect a very important guest; afterwards he kept quiet for a long time, to cool his mind and to gather his thoughts - he often spoke of the fear he had: fear of staying in front of the canvas thinking elsewhere. This fear is the one to overcome in coaching too. The way in which you manage not to think at the one in front of you (and even less, his problem!) but to be perceive like being there for him - this non-deed gives the means of quantifying the other one’s deeds.

It is said that, being asked why doesn’t he paint the wonderful dragons’ eyes, too, the painter Sengyou replied: "If I were to give them eyes, the dragons would fly away!". A coach stands in front of you and looks at you. Until you realize that you’re looking at him too. That you have eyes.

 Drawing by Zhang Sengyou