The existential approach is a philosophical method of dealing with challenges in living. It is rooted in the ideas of several European philosophers, notably Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Buber and Merleau-Ponty, as well writers such as Camus and Dostoevsky, and practitioners such as Frankl, Boss and Binswanger. Whilst their opinions varied, they were all concerned at a fundamental level with what it meant to be human and how we could understand human existence.
An existential approach will follow a specific philosophical method of enquiry involving description, understanding and exploration of the client's reality, known as phenomenology. Challenges are confronted and perceived possibilities and limitations are explored. Through dialogue, a client’s “world view” is revealed, and their coping mechanisms and assumptions about their dilemmas re-examined.
This approach encourages us to be realistic about our limitations which in turn help us to identify our possibilities. By re-examining our assumptions about ourselves, others and the world we live in, we create the possibility of seeing new opportunities for meaningful living which may well have been obscured, denied or not envisaged. An Existential approach does not eliminate anxiety but encourages us to engage with it with courage and compassion.
Leading a more meaningful life is the intention of this approach. It is about accepting that life and work involves pleasure and pain, sadness and joy, success and failure, good and bad. We all live in the tension of these paradoxes everyday but our response is often like a magnetic pull towards one end of those polarities and where we seek to eradicate or deny any value or influence of the other. Recognising that both ends of these life magnets have something to offer us in our challenges of life is the goal of this approach, to find a way through our dilemmas by accepting both our limitations and our possibilities, by working with the stuff in our lives we like and the stuff in our lives that we hate.
‘Happiness and unhappiness are twins that grow up together’ - Nietzsche
An Introduction to Phenomenology
A 3-hour workshop for coaches “In this world the basic building blocks of life are relationships, not individuals. Nothing exists on its own, or has a fixed, final identity…we change as we meet different people or are in different circumstances” – Margaret Wheatley
What are we trying to create with this workshop?
We all have perceptions about what we make of the world around us - about our business, our profession, our leaders, our teams, ourselves, and what makes the world go round.
At any given point, these perceptions define our approach to how we live our lives, conduct our relationships, find meaning in what we do, and shape our response to change and complexity. Such perceptions are created from our own unique experience of the world, from our personal history and past experiences and assumptions.
Phenomenology is the study of perception. It is, simply put, an investigation into the means by which we make sense of our experience and explores the interaction between what exists and how we perceive it.
This workshop introduces the concept of phenomenology and its relevance to coaching. Specifically we will explore:
- what shapes our perceptions of others and of ourselves
- what implications our perceptions have on our own responses as coaches
We will work with Husserl’s phenomenological method as a way of practically grounding our exploration, and use participants own material during the workshop
Any one interested in expanding their own coaching practice who are interested in learning more about applying a phenomenological approach to their work.
Phenomenology is a primary methodology of an existential approach to coaching. This workshop will therefore be of interest not only to experienced coaches, but to anyone who is looking to learn more about how an approach, drawn from existential philosophy and psychology, can inform organizational perspectives on collaboration, relationships and leadership
“Each of us experiences our own interpreted world…” – Ernesto Spinelli
Dates and Fees On request