Crafting Experience

A tough day at the office today, though the luxury of my coaching work is that I at least see other people’s offices. Looking further into ‘The Craftsman,’ I’m beginning to realise that Sennett articulates many of the ideas that have lurked for some time beneath the surface of my practice.

Sennett proposes that ‘the craft of making physical things provides insight into the techniques of experience that can shape our dealings with others.’ In thinking of the coaching conversations I try to pursue, the three basic crafting abilities of localizing (specifying where something important, good or bad, is happening), questioning (or holding a sense of curiosity about the nature of success or failure) and being open to doing things differently and questioning habitual patterns, sits well with many of the interventions I attempt to construct.

Sennett claims that making time to ‘dwell’ in these areas is critical and that the pace of business often precludes this. But perhaps this is a pointer towards the economies that we may choose to fashion in the future. According to Sennett:

“Doing one thing well, understanding it in depth, may be a recipe for a worker or company to be left behind [...]. Tests that measure a person’s capacity to management of many problems at the expense of depth suit an economic regime that prizes quick study, superficial knowledge, all too often embodied by consultants who dart in and out of organizations. The craftsman’s abilities to dig deep stands at the pole opposite from potential ability deployed in this fashion.” (Sennett, p.284).

Ouch.