Fairness is a feeling. Something feels fair or unfair at a fundamental level. It’s only later that we tend to think it through. That is somewhat the gist of yesterday’s post.
In coaching we have to remember that in dealing with issues around fairness we are dealing with emotional rather than purely cognitive responses. We are dealing with feelings – and in dealing with feelings the first thing we have to do is defuse the emotion. This is not the same thing as taking it away. Rather, it is the coach’s task to help an individual manage the emotion. This can include deep breathing exercises, quiet meditation and in particular, the use of reframing to lead an individual from a purely emotional response to a more considered cognitive response through use of the ladder of inference.
Remembering that issues of fairness are emotional rather than cognitive in nature will help both coach and client move more swiftly to a resolution.
Take six jazz musicians and put them in MRI scanners. Add special plastic keyboards so that they can jam together (itself a feat in these confines) and see what happens. When this experiment was performed recently some interesting things were observed.
Inhibition switches off. Self-expression switches on. Sensory awareness is heightened. Specific areas of the brain controlling these functions either shut down or powered up. It was much the same type of pattern that happens when we enter a dream state.
It certainly mirrors my subjective sense of what happens during my own creative flows. Story-telling switches on. Feelings intensify. And at flow’s end there is the often surprising realization that hours have gone by. Check it out at the link.
Links: Creativity puts the Brain in a Dream-like State, Associated Press
I’ve used a term over the years – “playing in the sandbox.” It’s not original of course. But it has been useful to illustrate a couple of important concepts. The most obvious is the sandbox as metaphor for life – how well we get along with those around us at work, at home or in our communities. It’s all about social skills to use a more sterile term.
The second has to do with our views about the world. It’s the box in which we live and through which we see everything around us. Each of us has one of these “mental models” – and they’re all different. The point is that our box, for all its apparent solidity, is only made of sand. It’s changeable.
Working well together. Playing well together. Making allowances for differences in how we each see the world. Being the best that we can individually and collectively be. That’s the gist of the sandBox.