In a series of theme evenings at The Association for Coaching, the theme on 6 June 2013 was:

Coaching as a language game

You hit the nail on the head! A native speaker clearly sees this as a figurative sentence and … ehm … he hits the nail on the head! However, the phrase can also be taken literally, although then it is only a rough representation of reality. What kind of hammer? What kind of a nail? A good whack or a tap? Usually we understand each other well enough, or at least we think we do, but everyday language really seems to be inadequate for an unambiguous representation of what we really mean. And that is perhaps a little awkward, since a large part (perhaps the largest part) of the interaction between coach and coachee takes place through language. And that language must have meaning.

Analytic philosophy, the philosophy of ordinary language, has provided a method for ascertaining the meaning of a language expression. Such a language expression, whose meaning must be explicitly addressed, is a coaching issue. The circumstances under which the issue arose are called language play in the analytical method. If coach and coachee together make explicit the – often implicit – rules of the language game, insight is gained into the meaning of the question. Not infrequently, the answer is then there for the taking.

In this theme evening, we will discuss the language game method as a tool for the coach and the coachee to arrive at an adequate response to the coaching issue.

Based on Denkgereedschap, Paul Wouters, 1999.

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