Research Paper By Samanta Maranca
(Transformational Coaching and Healing, ARGENTINA)
If we are the bridge between all that has been in human history and all that is yet to be created, what kind of bridge are we? Alan Seale
We are living in a world that offers unprecedented possibilities. Many authors agree on the fact that we live today in a period of extraordinary transition. We are trapped between two worlds, an old world and a new world, which is on its way of being shaped and manifested.
The only constant is change and we can only predict the fact that life will unfold in mysterious ways. In Alan Seale’s words,
we live in a time that calls us to claim responsibility for our lives and the creation of our world in ways never witnessed before. If we are to thrive as a human race, we must chart a new course.
He continues to say that the way in which we choose to approach our current circumstances – whether we give energy to old paradigms or live in emerging potential – will determine the future we will create.
It may be the first time in the history of mankind that we are given the opportunity to co-create our future instead of adapting or conforming to an already existing reality. We are given the chance to make conscious choices and to develop success models, not for a world that was, but for a world that is or that is coming. (Roselinde Torres)
Education has traditionally been assigned the role of forming the new generations and preparing them for a predictable future (or job) but it is interesting to consider the fact that new occupations and ways of living are being created and that one third of all ten year olds will begin work in a job that has not yet been invented. 
We are at the dawn of a new paradigm while most schools still attempt to reinforce old patterns and structures. Education’s purpose and vision need to be revisited if we want to align with new potential. How wise is it to keep on forcing old ways in the eyes of evolution?
Education was founded on the assumptions that wisdom was to be gained from without and that only mental faculties needed to be enhanced and developed. Both tendencies have curtailed the opportunity to tap into our intuition, develop self-confidence, make decisions, develop internal security, uncover and align with our core values and personal purpose and develop emotional management.
Several studies developed by Box 1824 reveal that unlike former generations (especially Baby Boomers) – who lived in a world marked by rules, guarantees, individual work and responsibilities, predictability and linear and hierarchical structures – Millennials display unparalleled traits: 
- They find empowerment in finding things on their own.
- They seek out more informal types of education.
- They commit professionally when they are exposed to engaging activities.
- They are purpose-driven.
- They prefer mobility, shared workspaces and flex time.
- They feel motivated by learning new skills.
- They are motivated when they are involved in works in progress and testing on something unfinished as a way to create the new.
- They need to feel autonomous.
- They are exhilarated by collaborative work.
- They can change direction quickly and not let attachments hold them back.
- They are more present-focused.
- They adapt to changes.
- They choose jobs they love and that help them express and develop their talents.
This new generation is a catalyst of evolution and opens up new questions for schools: what body of knowledge should they pass onto the future generations? How can they prepare youngsters for a world that has not yet been defined? What kind of society / world do we want to create? What needs to be done / known to see it manifest? In a nutshell, what is the purpose of education in the 21st century?
Alan Seale states that we have conventionally been trained to learn from the past but that we can also consider the future as a way of breaking through former patterns and contexts and therefore give energy to a new creation. I believe coaching can provide fresh and ground-breaking guidelines to help us walk the path towards a new (educational) reality.
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. Buckminster Fuller in Alan Seale, p. 171.
Youngsters will shape our future world and the most obvious potential that is unfolding is the need to unlock their leadership skills. Information soon becomes obsolete so if most of education is focused on acquiring data, it will not have a long-term impact on people’s lives, let alone will it equip youngsters with the tools to make the most out of an uncertain world.
Roselinde Torres mentions that future leaders are
women and men who are preparing themselves not for the comfortable predictability of yesterday but also for the realities of today and all of those unknown possibilities of tomorrow. 
How can coaching unlock people’s leadership potential?
Alan Seale suggests that a leader (or Transformational Presence) is someone who lives in an attitude of discovery, accesses potential and learns from the future – and the future belongs to those who are creative, innovative and original. A leader does not waste time fighting the past but is proactive and driven by the following questions: ‘What is the opportunity here? How can I accept this opportunity and work/play/create with it rather than resist it?’
There are some coaching practises that may allow schools to ride the wave of transformation and create a new reality (for coaches, students, staff and the school community):
1. Promoting self-directed learning:
Most education systems have been designed to tell students what, when and how to learn. Nowadays, there is a shift towards self-management, which might present students with the opportunity to determine the learning they need. This does not mean that syllabi should be overlooked or that adults (teachers and heads) play no role in determining what may be useful for students to learn, but it might be interesting to reformulate school programs around new skills and to co-create (instead of impose) flexible and tailor-made content.
As a consequence, school staff and students could partner and share responsibilities when determining what needs to be done /taught / addressed. This would allow for all parties to honour what each has to contribute and to co-create a trusting learning space in which individual needs, desires, dreams and talents would be respected and encouraged.
Together they could answer a question that has been on the air for long: How can we make this experience more exciting and meaningful for all?
In the Information Age we are currently transitioning, anyone can access information, which reduces the value of knowledge, whereas right brain activities are gaining predominance.
As has been introduced in the Self-directed learning module, to survive in this new world we will all need to open to learning and development, which requires responsibility and commitment to plan out our own learning approach.
This practise is in alignment with the ICF competence of co-creating the (learning) relationship by establishing clear agreements, responsibilities and demonstrating respect for other people’s perceptions and learning styles.
2. Defining mission and vision:
Unless the purpose of education (and going to school every day) is clear and shared, it might be challenging to keep students’ and teachers’ motivation and commitment in place. Most people are fuelled by a clear vision and by engaging in meaningful tasks and when they feel their time and effort are not wasted but contribute to a greater, common good.
Coaches help people hold their vision and keep their actions in alignment with their core values while they remind them of their greater purpose/goals, especially when times gets tough.
Therefore, coaches provide structure: they offer support in helping people focus their attention on what is important in life.
This practise is in alignment with the ICF competencies that focuses on establishing trust as well as the ability to create a safe, supportive environment. It is also aligned with the need to attend to other people’s agenda and hear their concerns, goals, values and beliefs about what is and what is not possible and desirable.
3. Creating development teams:
Teams group people who have different and complementary skills and talents and who can inspire one another to achieve incredible goals.
In Alan Seale’s words, great leaders acknowledge the challenges that come with learning, growth and development and stand committed to working with one another instead of against one another. He also explains that they consider different approaches, value systems, ways of thinking and the fact that no one holds the whole truth. Each perspective is welcome and helps the team see the entire picture. It teaches people to listen actively, to be tolerant, to consider other people’s points of view, to value what everyone can contribute to a situation and to find the common goal and a path that everyone can agree on.
The energy of a group makes it easier to stay focused and to persevere at times when delays or frustration may hold people back from achieving their goals and they might consider giving up. These teams can function as support (and learning) structures.
4. Designing action plans:
Once new opportunities or realities are envisioned, it is necessary to take action. Alan Seale suggests that people make ‘once-and-for-all commitments’, i.e. that they make the shift, bridge the gap that takes them into action of being – action that comes directly out of living their wisdom, knowledge and awareness, and not just talking about it. Commitment to take action restores power and energy. These breakthrough commitments lead people to living their greatest potential.
Roselinde Torres poses that leaders are people who are willing to let go of what is familiar and comfortable. They don’t just talk about risk-taking, they actually do it.
This practise is aligned with the ICF competencies of creating opportunities for on-going learning, taking new actions, and helping clients ‘’Do it Now’’, providing immediate support and guidance. It also encourages stretches and challenges at a comfortable pace of learning.
5. Finding our element:
In his book Finding the Element, Ken Robinson says that we are all born with tremendous natural capacities and that we lose touch with them as we spend more time in the world and that, ironically, one of the reasons why this happens is education. He believes that schools don’t help people to connect with their talents and therefore people don’t know what they are capable of achieving. Even worse, people lose touch with who they really are.
The only possible way in which people can prepare for a completely unknown future is by developing a new paradigm of human capacity (to meet a new era of human existence).
He further explains that western educational systems put a high premium on knowing the single right answer to a question and on learning by heart instead of acknowledging the powers of creative thinking. He smartly remarks that one of the enemies of creativity and innovation is common sense.
When people are in their element, they connect with something fundamental to their sense of identity, purpose and well being. It also reveals their creative power; not only in terms of gifts and talents but also in relation to their capacity to reinvent themselves: they can choose who they want to be in relation to life circumstances.
Being in our element means loving what we do.
The ICF competencies that underpin this practise are the use of powerful questions to evoke discovery and insight and creating awareness: helping people discover new thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, emotions that strengthen their ability to achieve what is important to them.
6. Developing responsibility:
This practise helps people let go of excuses and reflect on the impact of their actions and how they might have contributed to a certain outcome.
Leaders do not engage in fight or flight response but, instead, pause to consider how they want to respond.
Alan Seale introduces The Four Levels of Engagement. When we live in the Drama and Situation levels, life tends to be about struggle and problem-solving. We give power to something outside of us, and we reinforce the presence and action that keep us stuck. However, leaders operate on the Choice and Opportunity levels, since they consciously choose who they will be in relationship to a situation, which empowers them to break free from struggle, create new circumstances and realities and reach higher levels of awareness.
As Robin Sharma says, victims recite problems, leaders present solutions … It’s impossible to build a tribute to success on a foundation of excuses. Leaders assume total responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
The ICF competencies that underpin this practise are based on promoting people’s self-discipline and holding them accountable for what they say they are going to do, for the results of an intended action, or for a specific plan with related time frames and developing people’s ability to make decisions, address key concerns and reflect on what may be holding them back from achieving their desired outcomes.
7. Learning from the future:
Alan Seale says that when we start a new project, we must discover the potential in the whole and then create each part from the potential. The Potential-Based Approach that he has developed invites leaders to start by going straight to the Opportunity Level and asking: What is the situation really trying to help us see? As we perceive the potential we ask it to intuitively show us all the possibilities available and we partner with them to bring the potential into reality. As opposed to more traditional problem-solving approaches, the outcome is discovered in the process, while we trust our intuition and inner wisdom and surrender to the unknown. In this way, we can create a new reality and move forward in our evolution and development.
As Robinsons says, imagination underpins every uniquely human achievement. The process of seeing in our ‘mind’s eye’ can help us anticipate the future, and create original ideas that have value.
The coaching process can help by developing flexibility, the ability to dance in the moment, access our own intuition and trust our inner knowing, be open to take risks and experiment with new possibilities for actions.
8. Engaging in assertive communication:
On the one hand, clear and effective communication has to do with speaking our truth, not only when it is convenient or appropriate. Robin Sharma shares that it is vital to communicate in a way that is strikingly direct. ‘Leadership is to be more committed to speaking honestly than receiving the approval of others.’
On the other hand, assertiveness is measured not only by how eloquently we express ourselves but also by how actively we listen. It has to do with respecting the hidden purpose of a dialogue, which is to explore meaning and discover deeper insights and awareness. According to Alan Seale, this discovery and deeper understanding often lead to a new creation (unfolding revelation).
Modern education has been more focused on what Seale defines as conversation, i.e. the exchange of ideas and information and drawing conclusions that, in general, were known prior to engaging in the communicative process. Even tests expected fixed answers, already known by teachers and students. There was elusive space to innovate, explore and discover.
The ICF competences that are aligned with this practise are the use of direct communication and the ability to hear the client’s concerns, goals, values and beliefs about what is and is not possible and to understand the meaning of what is said in the context of people’s desires.
9. Developing self-awareness:
Western education has traditionally favoured logic, evidence and the hard sciences and, according to Robinson, these rationalist forms of thinking were considered to be superior to feeling and emotion and, therefore, ideas could only be conveyed in words or through mathematical expressions.
Self-awareness helps us identify our empowering and disempowering thoughts, beliefs, habits and behaviours so that we can better assess our current reality and envision our ideal lives and take responsibility for making the necessary changes and choices to manifest our desired outcomes.
But, most importantly, spiritual (and yogic) traditions, have taught us that balance can be reached only when the mind, the body and the spirit are cultivated. Leaders tap into the Three Intelligences: Thought, Emotion and Truth. They know they need to be in alignment if they want to move ahead with clarity and confidence. (Alan Seale, p. 79)
The ICF competencies that are aligned with this practise are the ability to integrate multiple sources of information, to help people discover the different, interrelated factors that affect them and their behaviors, such as thoughts, emotions, body and background.
According to Ken Robinson, the mistake that many policymakers make is to believe that in education the best way to face the future is by improving what they did in the past. Is it too late to grow into a new way of living and learning? I believe coaching is one vehicle that can enable transformation and help people make fuller use of their natural resources. As Ken Robinson suggests, the future of education is not in standardizing but in customizing, not in promoting groupthink and ‘deindividualization’ but in cultivating the real depth and dynamism of human abilities of every sort. This is why coaching represents a bridge to a new reality.
Box 1824. June 19, 2012. All Work and All Play. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO1Txp8D_8U Robinson, Ken and Lou Aronica. 2009. The element: how finding your passion changes everything. New York: Viking Penguin. Seale, Alan. 2011. Create a World that Works: tools for personal and global transformation. San Francisco: Red Wheel Weiser. Sharma, Robin. 2010. The Leader who had no Title: A modern fable on real success in business and in life. New York: Free Press. Torres, Roselinde. 2013. Tes@BCG San Francisco. Link:http://www.ted.com/talks/roselinde_torres_what_it_takes_to_be_a_great_leader/transcript#t-1636
 Self-Directed Learning Module, ICA.
 Brazilian Research Company that specialises in behavioural sciences and consumer trends.
 Video: All Work and All Play, June 19, 2012. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO1Txp8D_8U
Roselinde Torres, Tes@BCG San Francisco, October 2013. Link: http://www.ted.com/talks/roselinde_torres_what_it_takes_to_be_a_great_leader/transcript#t-1636