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The Handbook of Knowledge-Based Coaching: FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE by Diane Brennan, Leni Wildflower

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LEGITIMACY OF THE FELT EXPERIENCE

The body’s felt experience has not been trusted as a legitimate means of navigating the world. Humberto Maturana, a Chilean biologist and philosopher, and his student, biologist and neuroscientist Francisco Varela, wrote a pioneering book titled The Tree of Knowledge (1987), which makes a powerful, scientific case for the way biology shapes our understanding of reality.

Among the claims they make, two are particularly critical for coaching. First, as human beings, we are structurally determined. What this means is that our “knowing” is rooted in our biology and that “reality” isn’t something “out there” that everyone can agree on, but rather occurs to us in ways that depend on our own filters—biology, physiology, ...

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