Self Renewal for all of Life’s Stages from one of the progenitors of the field of coaching

(I have one more post coming on this, my comments at his memorial…they will come some day. And if you want to see one more angle on his life I posted something recently on Psychology Today about him.)

inner-dialog“The quality of your life is determined by…”frederic083

There may be several good ways to finish the above sentence, such as: your relationships, your decisions, your stamina and imagination, your health. All these work.

But the one I most remember, a phrase that changed my life, came from one of the truly great adult educators, who died a few months ago, and who deserves to be known for his enduring work. Frederic Hudson said it this way.

“The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your inner dialoguefrederic083.”

In other words, what kind of inner talk and meaning-making is going on between your ears so you can make good sense of both your inner and outer experience, and then make some decent decisions for moving ahead.

This is why I coach and teach coaching and mentoring skills, and this is what good mentoring and coaching and leadership, and parenting and friendship do for that matter—they all help enrich our inner dialogues.

Frederic was the founder of the Fielding Institute, among the first, if not the first in the country, schools without wall: a long-distance learning, self-directed, advanced degree-conferring program. This was in the ’70s, and now, from our internet-aided world, such learning is all over the place. But it was a radical who made it happen way before his time. We rest on his frontiering creativity today without ever knowing where this type of education comes from (like so many things we do and think, whose origins are lost or not passed on. Frederic would say he was a devotee of Malcolm Knowles, the father of adult education, recalling his roots).

There is a requirement on all of us to keep up in a fast moving world. There is also a requirement to stay true to yourself. These two demands converge into an imperative for regular self-renewal, an often daunting task. Frederic was brilliant in offering tools and methods for this task, and his wife and partner Pam McLean, a psychologist and author in her own right, has added to these tools and methods as their mutual legacy lives as the thriving Hudson Institute of Coaching. I have had the honor to be on the original team of faculty with Frederic in the ’90s and to continue to this day with Pam.

Nobel winner WB Yeats had a poetic phrase about one aspect of this self-renewal, the resistance that comes from others who knew you the way you were:

My friends have it wrong 

When they criticize the change in my song.

They should know what is at stake.

It is myself that I remake.

Frederic was a teacher/guide for the re-making of the self, and he taught us how to keep that inner dialogue from getting sabotaged by critiques or questions from others, including our own inner critic, who do not appreciate our new song. He deeply believed we each had our own path to pursue, our own contribution to make. Needless to say, he was one of the fathers in the ’90s of what has become the growing industry of coaching, because he knew that self-renewal work could be guided by dedicated, whole-person guides who would not advise so much as evoke, not direct so much as support and resource.

His books stand the test of time. The Adult Years is a classic and Pam’s work on the Completely Revised Handbook of Coaching is the latest contribution. Their Institute stands the test of time and gets better and broader as Pam and her team guide it. Frederic’s impact stands the test of time as the inner dialogue of those he touched ripples out across the world, in business, and schools and non-profits.

Thank you, Frederic, for understanding the deep nature of adult learning and the good it could do. Thanks from me and hundreds of others, who grew into our larger selves because you saw in us potential we had yet to realize. We owe you for your vision, kindness, and your brilliance directed to the good, and the new social structures of human development.

We will play it forward.



Are Boomers Tired of Retirement?

by evoker on September 25, 2014

in Self development

phD RetirementI have trained several hundred people in the past few years in the work of retirement planning.

Many have been very ready to move ahead and enjoy or endure their last months of work. They were ready to plunge into this less-career-identified space we still most often call retirement. Others were somewhat ready and knew they had work to do unless they wanted to be totally surprised by leaving their career. And still others were woefully unprepared, and did not even know they were.

Continue reading this article, Getting Your Ph.D. in Retirement, at my blog on the Psychology Today website.


A Bridge to Our Better Pasts

June 3, 2014

Some teachers of human awareness start with the language we used a long time ago, before we knew what a synapse or neuro-science was. One of our great teachers, with one foot in modern anthropology but with her heart in the wisdom traditions, needs to be better known.  I invite you to learn more about […]

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Listen to this Wellness By Design Interview

February 17, 2014

Click “play” below to listen to the February 12, 2014 episode of Wellness By Design, a regular BlogTalkRadio program by Sarah Harris. In this episode, Sarah talks with me about the Power of Your Past. More Health Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Wellness By Design on BlogTalkRadio

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Sharing the energy matrix

January 7, 2014

Coaches and therapists work in the same two energy fields—the first, those cognitive places where we think, and the second, the those pre-verbal, old brain places from which our core energy emerges. Coaches and therapists have different terms and ways of working with these inner energy fields as we interact in the world of work, […]

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