Coaching Dialectic

Image: Elyeser Szturm

Jean-Pierre Chauvin*

"[...] Every man can speak in public acceptably if he trusts himself and has an idea boiling in his brain."
(Dale Carnegie. How to make friends and influence people).

Since the economic alignment of this neocolony with the United States, partially materialized in the First Constitution (so-called republican) of Brazil, in 1891, tragedy was announced. As the socio-cultural contagion of the English and French was not enough, since the "Independence", our defiancers are distinguished by the affiliation of the big territory to a “strong” and protective country, preferably armed with megatons and obvious words, in the name of democracy and freedom.

From this point of view, the subservient representatives of this land are personalists (almost never statesmen, a very different thing) and act like that voter who, placed on the margins of society and metaphorically blind in one eye, voted for the boorish candidate (believing he was telling the truth , in the name of good and order); he also voted for the rich guy (because he believes in the fallacy that those who have more steal less and help more). Wouldn't it be the case to suggest to the guardian of the voting ballot, with or without a pistol, that he suspect where the wealth of the candidate he thought he had chosen with coherence and lucidity came from? Or ask yourself how the uncontrolled speech of a leader can result in good examples for the nation, which commands as if it were a playground From north?

Returning… what transnational tragedy do I mention? I am not referring to the virtues of jazz. blues and rock and roll; I don't allude to Ernest Hemingway or NASA discoveries; even less do I refer to Hollywood films, which intend to universalize uncertain values ​​and ideologies.

I'm talking about fever coaching, which suggests regrouping part of the West among subjects destined to be coach ou coachee – terms that are often mistranslated into Portuguese, such as “mestre” and “apprentice”. By the way, every now and then television stations here reinvent programs based on this set of pseudo-techniques for selling goods and creating a self-image.

The first aspect to note is that coaching translates, more precisely, as “training”. Who has followed the matches of UEFA Champions League, or the games World cup of football, you will have realized that coaches are identified in this way. Usually, teams attribute part of their success or failure to the coach, or “teacher”, according to the lexicon of some players. (I refrain from questioning this denomination, starting with the brutal difference between the recognition and remuneration of the “teacher” on the edge of the lawn, and at the center of debates around amenities, compared to the teacher who, despite mismanagement, tries to honor the commitment to assist in the education of children, young people and adults, in the modest classroom of sometimes inhospitable environments).

In a word, the coaching presupposes an asymmetrical relationship, even though its commercial representatives and pseudo-intellectuals, auditorium animators, try to elevate the materials they record or sign beyond the status of self-help manuals. It would be enough to go through some stores that rent niches in stands, to verify that the titles of these categories (coaching and self-help) almost always go together. After all, what do the authors share? From the intention of recalling “values” compatible with the aggressiveness of the market and the supposed virtue of (re)teaching, in an allegedly simple and immediate way, how to reprogram, adjust or equalize the mindset outside, with a view to considering trades, reverberate brands and profit. Always thinking positively, of course

Adherents of neoliberalism, and blind to its symptoms, these subjects love to personify the market, as if it were possible to humanize it and confer reasonable and orderly attributes (which, in theory, would characterize man) to an abstraction coined by pseudoeconomic jargon. For the credulous – subjects who “relearned” how to live and earn money in any way, making use of the most spurious expedients – it may be difficult to accept the literal meaning of coach. Even so, there are those who defend these figures with a speech that is so demeaning of themselves, as praising types who specialize in forging catch phrases with which they sell millions of copies and fuel business meetings and deals, disguised in sessions of happy hour.

In truth, the self-employment and self-help manuals function as oracles of common sense: sorts of scriptures that sanctify the market, in which the self-entrepreneur occupied the throne and the metaphysical sky gave way to the God of Profit, in theory, ennobling. However, what the coaching, in fact, teach? 1. To see yourself as a commodity and the other as a customer; 2. To believe that the universe is divided basically between winners e losers. 3. By defending that whoever makes the most effort wins, he pretends that failures in the company's conception and administration, the stock market crash or bank failure are transferable to the apprentice: it would be him (and not the corporation) who would have lacked commitment , strategic vision, foresight, positive thinking etc, etc, etc.

One of the contradictions of coach (effectively, a paid coach) is that, in the name of the vaunted modernization of employment, he fantasizes about a world without bosses or hierarchies; no tax burden, no labor rights. In the name of financial self-sufficiency, administrative austerity and emotional control, the master (euphemism of coach) reintroduces asymmetrical relationships on the theoretical level, due to the notorious “practice”, defending fallacies smeared with the varnish of those who believe they communicate (if) well, through the use of the most virulent and ordinary language.

O coaching it lends shallow and easily accessible terminology to readers who lack parameters and criticality. To ensure the persuasion of your customers, future or existing, the coach resorts to technical jargon (with an English accent) and confuses energy with violence. Perhaps there are exceptions; but, so far, those I have watched, listened to or read are no exception to the rule. And here lies another knot of this utilitarian “art”. like the coaching favors the rewarding conception, its supporters have a horror of any and all forms of criticism and, by extension, the exercise of solidarity.

It doesn't matter to coach that your client (or mentee) improves as a person, but becomes more effective and efficient. It is curious that, although it intends to embellish the savagery of the market in favor of self-enterprise and self-government (with the help of internships or equivalent “collaborators”), preferably without State interference, the coach is nothing more than an expensive and verbose trainer – hired personally or in the form of books, lectures or video lessons – to train subjects whose phobia is not being recognized for what they pretend to be or for the place they have arrived, even if surrounded by miserable people.

(I do not doubt that there are those who boast of their small doses of glory not because they are convinced of their expertise, but by contrast, from the point where he thinks he is, with those who have not had the same opportunities.)

Among the trainable bunch here, in the flat land of consumers, it is probably the lack of discernment and the need for a business guide (almost a spiritual father, devoid of metaphysics) that transform the coachee in a predictable, rude and easily molded type for the exclusionary illogic of success.

The fact is that, forgetting the condition that differentiates humans and would allow them to distinguish themselves from trained beings, they limit themselves to internalizing and propagating prefabricated formulas that do not take into account basic differences (origin, nationality, social class, experience, schooling, training, repertoire, age, gender, etc.), nor does it take into account that social and cultural misery directly interferes in the relationship between men, including in the overestimated universe of startups and business projects.

*Jean-Pierre Chauvin He is a professor at the School of Communication and Arts at USP.

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