These views determine thoughts, emotions and actions, and change naturally through life experiences. An individual can also choose to change their view, and this intentional approach is at the heart of transformational change. In his theory of human development, Robert Kegan shows that most adults operate at the Third Order of mind. They have a view, but don’t develop it consciously. Instead, they internalise values from their environment. At Kegan’s Fourth Order, an individual becomes “ the author of their experience”. Views are chosen consciously, and they live with choice and self- determination. Few individuals operate at the Fourth Order, including leaders and coaches. Even fewer approach the Fifth Order. Here, an individual sees the limits of self-authoring systems and lives their life without fixed views of themselves, others and the world. They no longer objectify and instead see in terms of relationships and interdependence. So, what about our view as coaches? Many coaches have not developed a view, let alone explored the limits of their view. And if leading transformational change in a complex and globally interdependent world requires us to go beyond fixed views and ultimately all views, how do we as coaches get there? Over recent years, there has been a growing interest in Buddhism as a transformational path. Many influential figures in the world of organisational behaviour and coaching such as Peter Senge and Daniel Goleman are either practicing Buddhists or deeply inspired by Buddhism. What can we learn from this 2,500 year old practice and philosophy? This masterclass will examine the relevance of the Buddhist view for coaches, and how the “Middle Way” philosophy can inspire a new vision of transformational coaching for the 21st century. Alex is an executive coach and counselor to CEO’s, top teams and leaders from the worlds of business, government, entertainment and the social sector. He has served clients on all five continents and in a wide variety of cultural and industry contexts. He was Professor of Business Administration in London and Copenhagen for five years, and previously worked in technology and marketing at IBM, where he received a US patent in computer science. He holds a degree in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge, and a PhD in Leadership from London. He was awarded a Natwest Fellowship to London Business School and a Fulbright Fellowship to Harvard Business School. Alex is a Khyentse Fellow, teaching Buddhist philosophy and meditation, and an Advisory Board member for SustainAbility. Born in England, Alex has lived in France, Switzerland, and the United States, and now lives in Vancouver.
Extract from The Conversations with Masters Series.