A Research Paper By Christos Vasilopoulos, Business Coach, GREECE
Understanding the inner mechanics of what drives the thinking process and actions is crucial as it fundamentally changes the coach who understands it.
This understanding influences all aspects of a coaching session. It cleans the coach’s mind before and after a session, changing how they see themselves, their role, and their client. It cultivates empathy but not attachment. Thus the coach can control their mind and not get carried away into adopting the role of a consultant or mentor.
Understanding interdependence is about everything about thoughts, emotions, and life. It helps to see and explore the “why” that leads to the “what.”
In such a way, understanding Interdependence optimizes coaches’ thinking and acting process, regardless of their niche, as it strengthens and empowers their ability to see and understand.
What Is the Thinking Process?
The thinking process is a mental or cognitive process that occurs in the brain when we engage in thinking or problem-solving. It involves using various mental functions, such as perception, attention, memory, reasoning, and decision-making, to process information and generate new ideas, solutions, or questions.
There are different types of thinking processes, including critical, creative, and analytical thinking. Critical thinking involves evaluating information and arguments logically and systematically, while creative thinking involves generating new and innovative ideas. Analytical thinking involves separating complex information into smaller parts to understand it better.
Various factors, such as our prior knowledge, beliefs, emotions, and biases, can influence the thinking process. Practicing mindfulness and self-reflection can also help us become more aware of our thinking patterns and improve our cognitive processes.
What Is the Usual Understanding of Interdependence?
Interdependence refers to the relationship between two or more things or entities that rely on each other for support, stability, or functionality. It is a situation where one entity’s actions, decisions, or behaviors impact others and vice versa. In interdependent relationships, the entities share resources, information, and responsibilities and work together towards a common goal or objective.
It can be seen in various contexts, such as relationships, business partnerships, and global politics. Thus, Interdependence is a fundamental aspect of many systems and relationships, highlighting the importance of cooperation, collaboration, and communication in achieving common goals and objectives.
However, the common understanding of interdependence is about the relationship between 2 or more things/entities. It implies a “transactional” logic, such as in a business partnership.
Yet, there is an aspect that is far deeper and beyond that. To see the Interdependence in the chain of thoughts or emotions in a single person before they interact with anyone.
Usually, that type of Interdependence influences the action/reaction of a single person against another. So, what arises inside one entity, affects the “transaction” with another entity. That approach places the understanding of Interdependence in a far more fundamental role.
- What elements formulate the thinking process and lead a person to a decision and a conclusion?
- Are these elements independent or dependent arising?
One must be able to see the Interdependence in everything inside and outside of them to be then able to recognize any thought or emotional process.
What Is the Purpose of This Paper?
This paper aims to show that everything in our mind and outside of it is interdependent, and seeing the dependency components leads to a highly improved thought process on matters and decisions. It can cultivate heightened awareness levels in the coach and -as a result- in the client.
Understanding the Interdependence Benefits
By understanding the Interdependence of all things in the thought process, a coach can observe and be aware of if something is a “fact” or a “belief”; to recognize if a feeling or a thought is self-existing or interdependent, its “birth canal” and its structural elements. Thus, by knowing the “truth” of things, ideas, and emotions, a person can make decisions and questions precisely to the point.
Understanding Interdependence in the thought process is a perfect preparation for any coaching session as it trains the coach to observe their thoughts before and during a session.
Additional side benefits are:
- Cultivation of empathy.
- Increased emotional intelligence.
Understanding interdependence can help a person distinguish between what is and what appears to be. When people see how everything is connected, they can also see the connective elements.
In any interaction, when Interdependence is fundamentally and consciously understood, it completely changes how we interact, advise, or coach. It affects our behavior and decisions towards any living organism and beyond that. It affects our compassion levels, and our tolerance, even for how long we leave a water faucet open or how much garbage we create.
It affects leadership decisions and relationships with teams, clients, vendors, and associates. It can cultivate ethical practices and interactions of all kinds.
Deeply understanding Interdependence does not make someone submissive or weak. It relates to the clarity that most seek in their lives. Being able to see to the furthest point from where i.e., a thought, is born until it manifests as one thing, is power and empowerment.
Understanding the interlinking of anything and how something depends on another helps the decision-maker to make decisions with far fewer influences from either internal or external factors, trends, or peer-pressure mechanisms. They can see things in their pure form along with their components.
Interdependence in Nature
All living things and ecosystems are interconnected and dependent on each other for survival. Here are a few examples that illustrate Interdependence in nature:
- Food webs: In an ecosystem, plants, and animals are interconnected through complex interactions. Plants produce food through photosynthesis, which is then consumed by herbivores. These herbivores, in turn, are consumed by carnivores. If one species is removed from the food web, it can have ripple effects throughout the ecosystem, affecting other species and ultimately impacting the entire ecosystem.
- Nutrient cycling: Nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycle through ecosystems as they are taken up by plants, consumed by animals, and eventually returned to the soil through decomposition. This nutrient cycling is essential for the growth and survival of all living things in the ecosystem.
- Mutualistic relationships: For example, bees and other pollinators rely on flowers for nectar and pollen, while flowers depend on bees for pollination. Without one species, the other would not be able to survive.
- Climate regulation: Trees and other plants help regulate the Earth’s climate by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releasing oxygen. This process, known as photosynthesis, helps to reduce the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and maintain a stable climate.
Interdependence in Thoughts
Our thoughts and beliefs are interconnected and influence each other in various ways. There are several ways in which we can observe this Interdependence:
- Belief systems: Our beliefs about the world and ourselves are interconnected and influence each other. For example, if we believe we are not good enough, we may also think we cannot achieve our goals. We may also project this to others and our opinion about them.
- Confirmation bias: Our existing beliefs and thoughts can influence how we interpret new information. We tend to look for evidence confirming our beliefs and ignore or dismiss evidence contradicting them.
- Cognitive dissonance: When we hold two conflicting beliefs, it can create a sense of discomfort or dissonance. We may then try to resolve this dissonance by adjusting our beliefs or seeking information supporting one belief over the other.
- Emotional reactions: Our thoughts and beliefs can trigger emotional responses, influencing our views and opinions. For example, if we feel angry about a situation, it may affect the way we perceive and interpret it.
Interdependence in Emotions
Our emotions are interconnected and can influence each other in various thought processes. Examples:
- Emotional contagion: Research has shown that emotions can spread from one person to another through a process called emotional contagion. For example, if one group member feels anxious or stressed, it can lead to others feeling the same way, even if they were not initially experiencing those emotions.
- Emotional regulation: Emotions can also be regulated and influenced by other emotions. For example, when we experience a negative emotion such as anger, we may use positive emotions such as humor or gratitude to regulate and shift our emotional state.
- Emotion interactions: Emotions can also interact, shaping and influencing our overall emotional experience. For example, the emotion of fear can intensify the experience of sadness, while the feeling of joy can mitigate the experience of anger.
- Emotional memory: Our emotional experiences and memories are interconnected and can influence each other over time. For example, a positive experience can influence our overall mood and emotional state for an extended period, while a negative experience can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and trauma.
Interdependence in Companies
Different stakeholders in a business are interconnected and dependent on each other for success. Here are a few examples:
- Suppliers and customers: A business depends on its suppliers to provide the materials or products necessary to manufacture or sell its goods. Conversely, customers rely on the business to provide their needed products or services. Without either of these stakeholders, the business could not function.
- Employees and managers: A business relies on its employees to carry out the day-to-day tasks necessary for operations. In turn, employees depend on managers for guidance, support, and feedback. Without effective management, employees may become disengaged or leave the organization, leading to a loss of productivity and revenue.
- Shareholders and stakeholders: Shareholders are investors who provide capital to the business in exchange for a share of ownership and potential profits. The business’s success or failure affects other stakeholders, such as employees, customers, and the community. Balancing the needs and interests of all stakeholders is essential for the business’s long-term success.
- Partnerships and collaborations: Many businesses rely on partnerships and collaborations with other organizations to achieve their goals. For example, a technology company may partner with a manufacturer to produce and distribute its products. Effective partnerships require mutual trust, respect, and willingness to work together to achieve shared goals.
Do extend the concept of a company to any other entity that demands the cooperation of different entities, i.e., a sports team.
Interdependence in a Person’s Existence
A person is not one thing. Its existence, thoughts, emotions, and biology have a place in the past, the present, and the future. To better understand this, here are some examples.
- Parents: We are the organic outcome of our parents. We carry them inside us. We are connected to them. We also carry their emotions and thoughts of their parents and grandparents. We are not one thing. We are a result of a long line of people and their history.
- Offsprings: Our children follow the same logic as above, and we live in the future through our children. They carry parts of us, our teachings, and anything we pass to them consciously or unconsciously.
- Teachers: We carry them inside us through their lessons, instructions, books, and the knowledge that their teachers acquired before them through history.
- Friends: We carry -up to some level- qualities that we adopted from those we like to spend time with and, in that logic, the qualities of those who provided them.
- Food: What we eat and drink becomes part of us. We are constructed from the food and elements our mother and father consumed and what we consume, and in reverse order, it can go back to all life forms and the planet itself.
These are just a few examples. When investigated, we will see that everything is eventually connected.
The Chair Example
Observe a wooden chair. How this chair came to “life”? We call it a chair, but is it one thing despite the name we assigned to it? It consists of the following:
- Wood: From the tree from where the wood came. From the natural fertilization of the forest from deceased animals, insects, and worms that contributed with their elements to growing the tree. The soil, sun, and rain helped raise the seed into a tree to get the necessary wood.
- Connective elements: From the ingredients that provided the glue and nails to assemble it.
- Varnish: Its origins and their processing. Each of these comes from trees, oil byproducts, etc. Most come from resin, drying oil, drier, and volatile solvents.
- People: The minds of those who first thought, designed, and manifested it through the ages until it reached that form.
- Production: From the machines and people that manufactured it and those who designed the machines and those who thought of them and the factory it was made in. The minerals are mined and processed to create electricity for the factory.
Suppose you continuously examine the origin of each element that contributed to creating a “simple” wooden chair. In that case, you will see a whole “world” of thousands of things contributing to its creation.
This logic is not limited to a chair. It applies to all aspects of our existence, in thoughts, emotions, and -by extension- to organized systems like companies. Observe how a “final” thought was created. How a feeling of anger or joy was formulated and its ingredients.
Understanding Interdependence in Coaching Practice
A common topic/goal in coaching sessions is gaining clarity for any X subject. Any person must see what they consist of to clearly decide what they want. Otherwise, they decide through an illusion. That is one of the main reasons a client starts with the “what,” but the process relates to the “why.”
The coach is oriented towards seeking the”why” and what is in the way, so the client to find the solution to the “what.”
Seeing what that path toward clarity entails, all parties can see the components of their thoughts and feelings.
In other words, understanding Interdependence is hugely beneficial for the coach. When the coach has worked with their own beliefs, thoughts, assumptions, and feelings and has seen from where they come and how they formulate under a single label, they can understand that all people share the same things, just in different levels and manifestations.
That helps the coach to enter a session with the following:
- Increased confidence.
- Clear mind.
- Increased consciousness.
- Compassion and tolerance.
- Less underlying judgment.
- The will to help but not to instruct.
Elevating the Essence of a Coaching Session
Seeing the roots and components of all things in themselves, the coaches can achieve the following with a cooperative, supportive, and positive role:
- Feel the importance and responsibility of ethical practice in coaching.
- The development of a coaching mindset against a consultant’s perspective.
- They understand why they need to help the client establish and stay focused on the agreement.
- Lay the ground to cultivate trust and safety as the client is not seen through preconditioned thoughts.
- Help both (coach/client)to maintain a presence as that understanding facilitates non-attachment.
- Allows the coach to listen actively, without prejudice or preconditioned assumptions. Thus, to ask the right questions.
- Supports the coach to ask from the point of evoking awareness in the client and sustaining their awareness in the session. It makes the coach understand the world, its thoughts and feelings, generation & origin process.
- It helps them help the client to plan the clients’ growth according to their needs (client) and their path in life.
Finding a Purpose for the Coach
Another benefit for the coach is they can identify their purpose. They see and understand the “why” that leads to the “what.” When one gets accustomed to practicing to catch the train of thoughts and emotions that lead to a decision, they can strengthen or even change what they want to do in their life and with their coaching practice.
From one, they can understand many. One can find this in the famous inscription in the temple of Apollo, Delphi, Greece, that says, “Know thyself, and you will know the universe and the gods.” In another way, it is expressed as part of the poem “To See a World…” by William Blake.
To See a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
Both talk about the Interdependence of things and how understanding ourselves (thoughts, feelings, elements) can lead to understanding everything and everyone.
The Importance of Understanding Interdependence
Profoundly seeing and feeling the Interdependence in any thought process produces a deep understanding of the self and others. That allows a coach to enter any discussion or interaction with a calm mind and the necessary empathy and interest to help and support a fellow human being without attachment.
Interdependence shows that all are interconnected, consist of the same things, and have the same needs.
A key benefit and point of alert are that Interdependence must be understood and “felt,” not only comprehended as a conclusion to a logical association.
When it is felt and studied -even meditated upon- it can bring the changes and benefits mentioned. To be able to see the fabric of all things reveals profound wisdom and manifests special skills.
I must also say that logical thinking is not less effective to start examining Interdependence.
It can help a person see the reality behind illusions.
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