By Jim Selman | BioIn 1976, I was working with some government employees in Virginia trying to implement a new system for integrating human services—a kind of one-stop shop for all the various services offered at that time. I had just finished the est training the previous July and was overwhelmed with my own experience and the idea that a person could transform themselves and their relationship to everything. Until then, I had bought into the belief that people don’t really change in fundamental ways, that personalities are fairly fixed, and that it requires a major crisis to shift our perceptions of reality. It was during that period that I formulated the idea that there were things that could be managed or taught and other things that could not be managed or taught but that could be “coached”. The difference had to do with how we observe others and ourselves and how we relate to power and responsibility.
This was a time before the concept of organizational culture had appeared in the business lexicon. I don’t think I even heard the word ‘paradigm’ until about 1980 or so. Peter Drucker was about the only popular writer on the subject of management. This was a time when people thought in terms of careers spanning a lifetime and many even expected to work for one or perhaps two companies for life. Tom Peter’s landmark book,