Today much of my work is executive coaching which I thoroughyly enjoy since you cannot help someone to develop their skills without learning a lot about yourself and other people.
They have helped me develop and hone my approaches. I am thrilled when they begin to understand the environment in which they work and take charge of it, rather than it taking charge of them.
I think my greatest success was when two of my executive coaching clients both of which were highly skilled in many ways came across a type of character whose behaviour that they just could not understand or work with. After a few sessions one of these clients who was interested in the strategies of powerful men told me about a publication he had been reading called 'The Art of Controversy' by Arthur Schopenhauer. Writing in 1831 Schopenhaurer described a form of interaction called 'the Contraversial Dialectic'. This is defined as the art of disputing and disputing in such a way as to hold one's own irrespective of whether or not you are right.
In this extended essay, Schopenhauer identified 38 common tricks and dodges used by people who he perceived lack the learning, intelligence and self respect to present their case in a logical, reasoned, truthful, just and yielding manner.
This conversation led to the development of 'The Step by Step Approach to Defusing the Arch Manipulator' which I share with clients when it is relevant during our coaching sessions and describe in detail in my book the People Skills Revolution.
This is what one Director of Finance said about our time together.
'I started working with Pamela on the Continuum of Interpersonal Skills model, before I secured my first board level post.
The most important of its many contributions to my developing skills as a director have been the extent to which work with it has helped me to remain calm and increased my self confidence. This has been fundamental to how I have been able to navigate the most challenging issues so far. Understanding how low key visibilty leads to greater comfort in different situations and conversely makes you appear more visible'