Pragmatic advice for coaches, managers & leaders

Almost Unique?

Coaching and Thinking

I have spent, and continue to spend, a lot of time contemplating my own philosophy of coaching and the work that I do. Over time I have created a “worldview” that works for me.

Kolkto-rivera in his excellent study into Worldview concluded “worldview is the most important construct that the typical psychologist has never heard of.” I would echo such a sentiment but apply it to many involved in coaching.

Understanding this should be in Coaching 101.

Freud identified several opposing pairs of factors that may, in combination, help formulate a worldview. The opposing pair that I would like to focus on here is: Uniqueness vs Universality.

Unique to Universal Continuum

My own philosophy is that each human being is unique so I would tend to position myself at some point to the left of the above scale. The subtle differences, the infinite possibilities in the genetic soup, combined with a host of individual experiences and upbringing will, in my view, produce a one and only you. Never before seen and never to be repeated.

For the sake of balance, it is worth pointing out that this is opposed by the view that humans have a large number of traits, reactions and views that can be generalised into recognisable patterns. Neither is superior to the other. Being aware of such differences and the advantages and disadvantages of each, is a key.


With the position around Uniqueness that I hold, it shouldn’t surprise you to know that I believe great coaching would enable the coach to form a picture of some of the pertinent details of a client through the responses to questions asked and picking up on the “unsaid”. With experience, a coach would be able to draw certain tentative conclusions about the person they are working with.

Such conclusions would be no more or less likely to be accurate than any assessment tool could provide. These conclusions, like the MBTI® profiles, would have to be tested with the client for “validity” and “reliability” i.e. were they accurate and in what circumstances.

High Five

Questions to help develop your coaching

1. How would you decide whether you tend to favour Uniqueness or Universality as a factor of your own worldview?

2. What are the impacts of this conclusion on your ability to coach: those with similar worldview or opposing worldview?

3. What might such awareness mean in relation to the type of clients that you may achieve your best results with?

4. What evidence could you draw on to analyse a client’s worldview?

5. How does this article impact your views on the assessment phase of coaching discussions?

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