“Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.” – Epictetus

A short article by Mark Chussil in the Harvard Business Review got me thinking about reflection and planning this week.

In it, Chussil discusses ethical behaviour in business management, and the role values and beliefs play in determining what actions people will and won’t be prepared to take in their role.

Usually, he suggests, we try to live in harmony with our values and beliefs (otherwise we experience cognitive dissonance), and this therefore guides our choices and behaviour.

When planning, we usually focus on what we will do in a lesson, session or learning encounter. As such, our ‘behaviour’ should be aligned with our values and beliefs, and underpinned by a coherent ‘philosophy’.

In an ideal world, we would also have a good awareness of what might have influenced those constructs as, ultimately, they will determine the effectiveness of the eventual environment we create for our learners.

I try to illustrate this for a sports coaching context in the graphic below:

Coaching Env


Now, in the article, Chussil suggests that a useful exercise might actually be to make a list of actions we won’t take as part of our practice (a to-don’t-list so to speak). In doing this, and revisiting it from time to time, he thinks it might help us to recognise any areas of our practice that could be on a ‘slippery slope’ towards less than optimal behaviour.

Might this give us a fresh perspective on what we do, how we do it, and why?

Thought provokers and points for reflection:

  • What won’t you do in your next session?
  • Why not?
  • What values and beliefs underpin that view?
  • Who or what has influenced you holding those values and beliefs?



One thought on “What won’t you do in your next session?

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