Marilyn Atkinson is the Founder of Erickson Coaching International and originator of the Solution-Focused Coaching methodology. A former Registered Organizational Psychologist, Marilyn is an NLP Master Trainer and specialist in Ericksonian Communications. Since 1980s she has been helping leading global companies and leaders through Solution- Focused and Outcome-Oriented Coaching. Marilyn has authored eight books, including The Art & Science of Coaching trilogy (Inner Dynamics of Coaching, Step-by-Step Coaching & The Flow of Coaching).
The Vision of Galileo - Becoming a World Game Coach
What is a World Game Coach?
This Fifth World Game is a conference for thinking things through. What does it mean to think things through? What does it mean to commit to the realities you discover and then act accordingly? What does it mean to design your life to fit that?
Galileo was an Italian astronomer, mathematician, and engineer who discovered how to make a telescope. He is sometimes called the father of the scientific method. His life illustrates the power of a committed vision. First of all, Galileo lived in a rapidly changing milieu a little bit like ours. He lived in Venice in the 16th century. He was born in 1564, within 2 months of Shakespeare, and just days before Michelangelo died, into a world filled with artistic and musical innovation.
The story of Galileo is revealing in discovering how a person rebuilds a reality system to actually fit with what they have truthfully discovered! The art and science of staying true to our commitments is what we are discovering as coaches.
He could have sold his telescope invention on the market, as there was a huge love of trinkets in Italy. But his interest was to turn it to the Heavens and to find knowledge. He wanted to explore the human value; he wanted to think things through.
Just suppose that you are Galileo looking through your telescope and you have just clearly seen the four moons of Jupiter circling around it. You have direct, immediate evidence of how the solar system actually works! You could hand your telescope to another and they can see for themselves. This is much like a climate scientist in 2019, computing temperature changes and physically seeing how the CO2 layer works to prevent heat from leaving the planet.
For Galileo, you probably know that the Roman Catholic Inquisition of his time threatened him with immediate death for his heresy, but when he handed them his telescope, they refused to look. Sound Familiar?
Yes, this is indeed a lot like large populations of the world in 2019. The information is inconvenient, and they refuse to look.
What does it mean to look into something long-term, with passion and care, and then move past the rigid orthodoxies of your day? This was the challenge that Galileo faced, also similar to our time. What does it mean to affirm your inner and outer truths and bring them together into clarity of action? What does it mean to share truthfully your discoveries and vision with those around you when it is not politically correct? It may mean to rebuild the life of your society so it can survive!
Galileo faced a ‘sleeping culture’, filled with the fear of upsetting people. On one hand, there were strong cultural enclaves that required appeasing. Church and state together had created a ‘comfort zone’ for merchants and the privileged class. The church held an orthodoxy of belief, just like our politically correct orthodoxies: stay with your ideologies, your wealth and comfort; look beyond the borders of the comfortable set perceptions at your peril. Your society will drop you like a stone from the Tower of Pisa if you disturb their beliefs with too much new reality. For looking through his telescope, he faced the Roman Inquisition and was threatened with torture.
How is Galileo’s challenge like ours? Our inner capacity for ‘reality-making’ is a marvel of miracles. As coaches, we assist people to explore the vastness of consciousness. Meanwhile, here on this small blue planet, we are in confrontation with a perfect storm. Climate change is upon us. We are seeing genuine necessities for all of us if we are to continue forward in this world for more than one or two generations. With our science today, the imminent destruction of the planet as we know it stands revealed – in the same way that Galileo’s telescope revealed the awkward truth of the solar system to the orthodoxy of his nation.
Galileo faced the inquisition and torture. We face extinction and torture for our children’s children. For Galileo to be successful, he had to step beyond the metaphors of his time and move beyond the specific ancient orthodoxies that no one dared to challenge. He needed to think larger and see the relativity of the scientific viewpoint as a learning system. He needed huge courage.
Breaking the bonds of cultural habit is also needed for today, moving beyond our national competitive orthodoxies. For example, comparing the GDP of one country to another. How can we move beyond the orthodoxy of today’s prosperity as ‘rightful’ to a long-term view of humanities opportunities, sharing our world 100 years from now? How can we develop shared relative prosperity rather than individual wealth as a key way to view the personal ethics of living today? How can we begin seeing our grandchildren’s share as also rightful? We need to build a new scale of human relativity and look through time to see the future opportunities of all humanity.
Coaches, what is next for us? Do we look through our telescope on the future like Galileo did and act accordingly? Do we look towards saving our planet for future generations? Or do we hide our eyes, listen to the pundits and maintain our various comfort zone systems?
What zones of comfort do we currently live in?
- We live in the zone of sophisticated fashion. Yet, every T-shirt requires a least 713 gallons of water to create.
- We live in the zone of gourmet eating. Yet, the release of about 100 kg of methane per year for each cow is equivalent to about 2,300 kg CO2 per year in our upper atmosphere.
- Each ocean fish we eat leaves less and less. Can we raise and eat pond fish?
- We live in the zone of easy plastic. Plastic is very expensive to the environment, both to produce and to dispose of. It clogs our oceans. What can you shift?
- We live in the zone of easy flying about. Yet, on average, each person on Earth going about their normal business produces the equivalent of five tonnes of CO2 a year. A single transatlantic round trip produces the equivalent of about one tonne per passenger even in economy class. How to pay the price?
- We live in the zone of Facebook and WeChat. People do not like to hear what is not convenient for them and conventional to their formed habits. We like our ‘likes’.
What does it truly mean to be a coach? We need to connect to truthful vision. We need to see the choices that our clients present and also ask towards our shared future. What is in our control? What is ecological? What is good for people?
Galileo developed a support system from other explorers. Kepler and others agreed with his discoveries. Galileo was observing in a milieu of inquiring minds and was supported to bravely share his discoveries.
Can we use our support system as coaches to take on a new role – to support people towards our planets requirements now? Can we assist others to live in the ecological reality system emerging now? Can we ask the questions that develop the capacity to plan towards the future that is upon us now?
We coach’s have developed our skills as good listeners. Part of our coaching agreement, however, is direct communication. We are decision-makers and members of communities who still have some choice in how our societies link to the natural world. We can talk to people as well as listen to them. We can ask key, open-ended questions. We can be influential.
The Nature of World Game Coaching
Currently, we are facing various inquisitions, on different levels, and we need our courage. First, we are citizens; we are members and associates with corporate communities, listening to multiple teams, and we are also leaders. As coaches, we are policymakers, shifting the structures of how people develop policy. We can look through the telescope and invite others to see for themselves. We can suggest – as I am suggesting to you now – that ecological observation leads to a different level of powerful coaching and decision making.
As coaching leaders, we are looking through different eyes and listening through different distinctions than those we coach. We deeply know – through Solution-Focused coaching – how people really can find their own solutions. We know how teams can re-orient and become visionary and unstoppable. We have direct experience of the greatness of people.
Yet, we are living in very strange times. The people of the world are in a deep trance about the condition of our planet. I spoke with Charlie Pellerin, the former director of NASA. He said to me, “Just forget it. There’s nothing we can do now. Five years from now the deserts will spread to the grain-growing areas. Food will fail, wars will start, and it is all over. Just relax – too late to fix it now.” I said to him, “I believe we do have time, though not much.”
I strongly suggest that now is the time for us to truly develop a coaching vision on all 3 levels as Solution-Focused World Game Coaches. Simultaneously, we are citizens, we are coaches, and we are leaders. It is time for us to become the tipping point for leadership wherever we live. We need to hand the telescope to our teams and leaders and coach our companies and fellow citizens as they make choices. We need not only to listen; we also need to directly communicate about the quality of thinking that is possible for all of us. We always work with what is ecological. The future life of humanity is relevant and that directly depends on the quality of our thinking. Personally, I want to move up my own dial to 'T', to talk with people about ecology every single day.
We Solution-Focused Coaches know how to check off the boxes in our mind as we coach – positive, in control, SMARRT, good for people. We may not be ‘in control’ of all aspects, but we can communicate; we can talk to people every day, and we can explore with others and invite them to consider what might be ecological, relevant, and long-term.
Is this big home we share important to you? Is the life of the planet long-term truly important to you?
Become a Solution-Focused World Game Coach
Discover more about the 2019 World Game Conference in Antalya, Turkey
In this conference, we will be examining our biggest projects as individuals, as project leaders, with our companies, and as world citizens. We want to truly create the category: World Game Coach. How do we play the game of being a world citizen? How do we invite others to play?
Like Galileo facing the Inquisition, how do we move past the fear of upsetting people? How do we speak every day about events of our planet as involved world citizens and invite others to play their own ‘bigger game’?
Everyone – Welcome to the Solution-Focused World Game Conference! Find your specific World Game here; accelerate your aim here. Let us truly begin to make the Tipping Point happen!