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  • MIke Brouwer

What can we learn from philosophers when working as a coach? – Girard

René Girard was a French-American anthropologist, philosopher, historian and comparative literature scholar. He is considered one of the greatest innovators in contemporary humanities. His work can provide valuable insights for coaches, particularly when it comes to understanding and working with issues related to power dynamics, competition, and envy.


Girard's work on mimetic desire, meaning that people tend to imitate and copy the desires of others, can help coaches understand the motivations and dynamics between those they are working with. When our wants are shaped by what we see others wanting, this can lead to rivalry and competition that can interfere with a person's progress.


His theory of scapegoating can be valuable for coaches to help clients move out of a blame-based mindset and develop a more constructive approach to their conflicts. Understanding the dynamics of scapegoating and mimetic desire can help coaches identify and address any potential rivalry between a client and their peers, and ensure that clients are working towards the same goal. At the same time, it can provide a great deal of insight into the dynamics at play in coaching relationships.

Additionally, Girard's theory of scapegoating can help coaches recognize behaviors that can lead to a client being scapegoated in a group setting, and to provide support and guidance to help them avoid this kind of situation.



Finally, Girard's work also emphasizes the importance of recognizing and addressing the underlying conditions that can lead to mimetic desire and scapegoating in the first place, such as inequality and insecurity. By understanding and addressing these issues, coaches can create an environment where clients are supported and motivated and can focus on their goals. Girard's insights on the role of mediation and reconciliation in resolving conflicts can be a powerful tool for coaches to help their clients build healthy relationships.

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