How to heal polarisation

By Martin Vogel

As part of my recent research into how coaches are engaging with the political sphere, I interviewed a US-based coach, John Schuster, who teaches on coach training programmes at Columbia University and the Hudson Institute. The interview didn’t make the final cut of the published article because the editors wanted to focus on the discussion of coaching and climate change. But John’s work highlights a very different way that coaches can contribute to addressing some of society’s big challenges. John is tackling polarisation: using his coaching skills to bring together people across the Republican-Democrat divide.

A Democrat-supporter, he teamed up in 2016 with a coach who had voted for Donald Trump. They organised a conversation to which each invited three friends from their own side.

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Barack Obama: new model leader

By Martin Vogel

Barack Obama at Jefferson Jackson Dinner, Des Moines, Iowa
Barack Obama, Iowa, November 2007

When Barack Obama is inaugurated as US President on Tuesday he will usher in not just a break with the eight years of the Bush Administration, but a distincitively modern humanistic style of leadership which has never been tested at this level. If his presidency is a success, it will have a profound impact on how leaders everywhere perceive themselves and how to be effective in the 21st Century.

One of Obama’s most striking chracteristics is the way he draws on ways of being as a leader which have been advocated as best practice for thirty years or more, but which he synthesises into a style which seems strikingly authentic and demonstrably impactful. He comes across as a man who is grounded, at ease with himself, totally focussed, and able to connect with people with integrity.

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