I found an interesting article from NPR last week that confirms what many of us have known for a long time – that gossip is not just about dishing on people to entertain ourselves (if, of course, we were to allow ourselves to do such a thing! :-). Gossip influences not just what we think about people and expect about people – but now research says it influences how we actually see people. And I mean “see” in terms of the biological function of vision. According to the article – and the biology of the species – human beings evolved to use gossip as a way to help manage interactions. What we could find out about each other prior to an interaction would help us know who is likely to be our friend and who is likely to be an enemy. Check it out: http://n.pr/l4cEGr
Now, I do have a point here. If our perceptions of people influence, literally, how we see them – it follows that there will be some affect on how we interact with them. Our behaviors are often influenced by how other people react or interact with us. Given that, how might gossip influence a coaching process – either in the way a client sees his or her coach, or a coach sees his or her client? Can you use this research to help your coaching clients understand why they perceive certain things about people, even though evidence might not exist? Is this a greater issue in the workplace than it might be in an independent coaching practice?
Articles by Doreen Petty