Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Counselling vs Coaching model

Sometime back I was invited to work at a HIV hospice as a staff Counsellor. I recall my mental exhaustion after every session as I struggled to understand where I can help to anchor the inmates amidst all the pain and suffering in their lives. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. A pronounced observation was their almost total inability to join the dots, to see the larger picture. A compartmentalised life which enabled them to perform unthinking acts.

I was then offered a place to do a Performance Coaching program by UNDP(United Nations Development Program). The idea was to implement this in the HIV work. So I had the 2 models to compare and contrast. You see, the coaching model is based on results; we artificially increase the pressure in order to promote excellence. But there is one big factor. The coachee must on the whole be ready to take increased pressure willingly, understanding that it is for their own good. And do it without breaking down. A partnership.

So I found the model totally inappropriate for people with HIV. The Counseling model is for damaged people. In this model we cannot increase the pressure. We allow people to come to their own decisions in their own time. It's a very slow process.

With this knowledge I got involved in chess. It's 7 years now. And I observed what was happening to our kids. To be fair it is a lot worse in Perak than in KL. But it is only in degrees. I have first hand knowledge with my own son, what happens to the kids in a hostile environment. Hostility from parents or officials or both.

Consider this. If we are teaching our kids the proper way, shouldnt they be getting stronger with new knowledge? Why are they getting weaker especially after U12?

I found that I spent most of my time undoing the damage to Mark. The abuse in Perak was very damaging. Only very recently have I increased the pressure. And only slightly. I believe to have done so earlier would have damaged him further.

So I am not that concerned about the technical. Let me offer another reason. I have a client now in my online business. She is 78 years old. A yoga teacher and new to the internet. She sat down and followed our instructions. She struggled and experimented on her own. Amazing fighting spirit. All things equal I would pit her against any of our National Juniors including Mark. :)

Look at this also. In any profession all are given the necessary technical training but not all make it to the top of their profession. That takes something else.

And so you can see I am clear in my definitions. I use the term trainers and coaches. Trainers teach the technical. They dont see the larger picture yet. Coaches train the players to excel.

But while in theory the coaching model looks better on the surface, as far as I can see, we may need more of the counselling methodology in Malaysia for the moment. We are still inflicting too much damage on our kids. We need to raise this awareness before we can fully use the Coaching model. Remember I said in the Coaching model we artificially increase the pressure in order to simulate reality. Sometimes even more pressure than reality. How many of our kids are ready for that? And without harming their spirit mind you.

When we as a community is ready for the Coaching model, we will see that GM. Not one but many. But first we need to be aware of preserving their spirit. If that is gone. All is gone. No matter how much technical we pump into them. On the other hand, if the spirit is nurtured, they have all their lives to increase their technical knowledge. What is the hurry? Maybe a few are ready now, I'm not sure. But dont risk damaging them if you are not sure. Damaging their spirit is life long.

See Idiots guide here.

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