Buddhism, Coaching and Commerce – The Real Barriers to Business Growth and Progression
What I like about Buddhism is it claims not to be a religion but rather a philosophical exposition of the truth….philosophical in the sense that it does not limit reality to just the physical plane but attempts to embrace the mental, emotional and spiritual planes of reality and how these are inter-connected and inter-dependent.
From this more holistic definition of reality and how the universe works we can understand some of the more intangible and invisible aspects of human experience that although we cannot grasp them with our senses we have a common experience of them, positive and negative.
The increasing support for coaching within business comes from the growing realisation that many of the barriers to business progression are located at an unconscious level within the leaders of business and their followers and that if we are to rebuild a more sustainable economy then we need to take the time to identify exactly what these barriers are in order to improve how we work.
In my experience it would be true to say that some of the barriers to business progression are indeed financial and practical, but the majority are in fact mental, emotional and spiritual in nature.
The collective noun that best describes all of these barriers is IGNORANCE!
Interestingly the word derives from the verb TO IGNORE suggesting that many of these barriers or obstacles to business growth can be overcome if we simply stop ignoring them and make a concerted and united effort to tackle them head on.
Buddhism claims that in our progression towards enlightenment as individuals and communities there are three important and definable stages:
FIRST STAGE is the intellectual stage of learning and understanding which from an organisational development perspective can be called ‘the cognitive upgrade process’ that will give leaders and their followers the appropriate ‘mental software’ to be able to interpret the unconscious data that is brought to the surface through the coaching experience.
All Buddhist teachings that relate to this stage of the enlightenment process are embraced within what is known as the Theravada Tradition or the Scholastic Tradition.
In ‘coaching speak’ this is the EDUCATIONAL aspect of working with a client.
SECOND STAGE is the visionary stage of learning and understanding which entails defining and communicating the vision of the business which will engage participants emotionally with their work to maintain motivation and right effort towards achieving business goals and objectives.
All Buddhist teachings that relate to this stage of the enlightenment process are embraced within what is known as the Mahayana Tradition.
In ‘coaching speak’ this is the INSPIRATIONAL aspect of working with a client.
THIRD STAGE is the transformational stage of learning and understanding which is where business relevant understanding and motivation combined (alchemy), is converted into appropriate actions and behaviour changes to create a more efficient operational process. This may be management related, process related or simply agreeing and defining best practice protocols that will assist the smooth running of the business.
All Buddhist teachings that relate to this stage of the enlightenment process are embraced within what is known as the Vajrayana Tradition (vajra meaning ‘thunderbolt’) or more commonly known as the Tantric Tradition.
In ‘coaching speak’ this is the point of COURAGEOUS CHALLENGE where resistance to change is confronted and named so that the person or group of people can grow in self – awareness and move beyond their unconscious limitations. This is the most skilful part of being a coach and requires years of practice.
Transformation takes place through ‘penny drop’, ‘aha’ or ‘eureka!’ moments when the individual or group of individuals suddenly gain conscious insight into an element of UNCONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE and in so doing are able to explore a positive action plan to improve what has been happening.
In this way improvement, change and progress is made and so a business grows.