Not too long ago, I argued that practices like therapy and life coaching constitute a class of "ritualized conversations," whose formal nature unlocks enhanced possibility for exploring ideas. The more clearly the form of a conversation is specified (when it happens, who's doing what), the more effectively ideas can emerge and come under consideration.
Life coaching by email?
There's a bit of a controversy in the field of life coaching over whether coaching by email is a proper thing to do. Is it even possible to do coaching in writing? Will it "work"?
Well, I don't really care about "co-active" coaching or whatever else the regular life coaches are offering these days. If life coaching is largely about motivation, for instance, and experts at that say it isn't done well in writing, so be it.
Perhaps coaches are afraid that what they do won't seem very special if it's reduced to a few words on a screen. (There may be more scam artists offering email coaching too, but that's another problem altogether).
Written conversations are highly ritualized
As for me, I offer explicitly philosophical life coaching: one part philosophy, one part life coaching. And it's certainly possible to do philosophy in writing! Committing ideas to writing forces some precision, and failures to formulate philosophical thoughts clearly on paper are extremely painful to attempt to read.
Thus I realized: in many ways, thoughtful longish-form writing actually epitomizes the spirit of ritualized conversations. Written exchange can bear all the best features of a dialogue, a measured give and take.
Without time pressures, asynchronous written exchange gives each party an opportunity either to write what comes to mind or to "sleep on it" as necessary. Written exchange can also be conducted in a well-organized fashion, instead of having to cognitive juggle many pieces of the puzzle all at once.
An experiment: beta testing philosophical life coaching by email
For these reasons, I've decided to undertake an experiment with philosophical life coaching by email (this month, September 2019).
I'm looking for several email coaching beta testers:
- The client will email me as often as s/he likes for one month beginning at signup.
- I will respond to each client email within 72 hours.
- Ideal for someone who is facing a non-emergency problem in life, but who feels unenthused about speaking on the phone at pre-scheduled times.
- When the trial month is over, we'll briefly discuss how it went (phone or email, client's choice). I'll decide whether I'll continue offering services primarily by email, and on what terms.
- Obviously not good for someone who hates the written word or finds writing difficult/exhausting (I invite you to consider regular phone coaching instead).
(Leaving this post up for historical purposes - beta testing signup closed - reach out if you're still interested in this!)
Pamela J. Hobart - Philosophical Life Coaching Newsletter
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