Chance or encounter ?
“Il n’est pas de hasard, il est des rendez-vous”, sings Etienne Daho, in this beautiful track “Ouverture” from the album ” Corps et armes “.
I can already imagine Thierry Chavel humming the melody and pointing out the borrowed formula from Paul Éluard*.
One morning in February 2019, I was discussing with Julie about a book she had recently read. We were following the same training as professional coaches at the ICN Business School. In a lively and cheerful way, she advised me to discover the book entitled “Je peux guérir”.
This book echoed within me with topics that I had (re)discovered during my first experiences with coaching, ten years ago : vulnerability, resilience, at times resistance, body intelligence, evolution in spite of or with oneself. The book was all the more interesting as it was narrated by an experienced coach. And I wanted to meet its author, Thierry Chavel.
I’ll be there.
Thierry agreed to meet me and to testify of his own practice so I could feed my reflection on my final thesis: implicitness and coaching. Thierry welcomed me in his Parisian office. A small round table, two orange leather armchairs, two bookcases, a window overlooking the boulevard, a teapot and a bowl of chouquettes: that’s how I remember the decor. The discussion begins after the presentations. I question, I listen, I observe, I absorb and I let myself be absorbed. In the background music playing from my personal radio, whose volume is turned down to the lowest level, I can hear “Etre à la hauteur”. I feel impressed and almost intimidated. By what exactly?
Thierry has an exceptional quality: the ability to instantly connect a situation to a literary, cinematographic or musical work. He quotes the works with precision. He gives the names of the authors. He summarizes their content. In short, he gives you many associations offering his interlocutor a catch to get out of the rut. This one-hour interview gave me a long way to go. And without ceasing to marvel at Thierry’s erudition, I measured the infinity of human knowledge, of which he is a messenger.
The symptom prescription.
Autumn 2019, my certification as a professional coach in my pocket, or rather soon in a frame, I enroll in a collective supervision program with Thierry. At first I hesitate to sign up for all the right reasons in the world. You know, those that mask the primary cause of discomfort. In reality, I’m afraid of being sufficiently educated to grasp the meaning of the references Thierry uses. So I apply the technique of symptom prescription: I expose myself to embarrassment, often. Every month, every Tuesday, I experience the gap between Thierry’s erudition and mine. Until I can verbalize what is so uncomfortable, which suddenly makes it harmless, then productive.
I remember a client that I had met in a hallway a few days before our first work session together, she and I. She was sharing with me her fears that she was not sufficiently equipped to handle the conversations. I could understand her point of view. I had been through something similar, and I might still be going through it. And she now remembers from our conversations how easy it was for her to draw on her own knowledge, her own inner wisdom, because there are no pre-requisites for working with a coach. The coach welcomes you as you are.
Thierry welcomed me as I was, and he also introduced himself as he is: a maieutician coupled with a generous knowledge giver.
*Can anyone tell me the exact source? Why don’t I ask Thierry?
Crédit photo Etienne Daho: Claude Gassian