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By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

As I listened to Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder presentations earlier this year I was struck by how coaching is similar.  What I like about coaching is the show of respect when you ask permission to coach or to offer insights so that the power and the focus are not on the coach.  It’s a partnership.  It is not referred to as respect in First Aid or First Responder training but it is about getting consent to approach.

When you approach someone who seems to need assistance and you are qualified and able to offer First Aid, you go through a series of questions to be able to determine the course of treatment.  First you have your scene survey where you assess what is going on around you.  Once you’ve established that your help is needed and you are given consent – or it’s implied – you launch into your primary survey where you determine if this is a trauma or medical situation and then you launch into your secondary survey where you check the person from head to toe, take vitals, medical history, ultimately performing the treatment you know and are qualified to do.

In thinking about this from a coaching perspective someone is looking for your support through changes in their life and the first thing you do as you assess one another is gain consent.  They assess you (does your style resonate?) and you assess them (is this really coachable?).  After this scene survey where you assess what’s going on, you launch into your primary survey where you determine what the goal is…the timeframe you’re dealing with…and the level of support the person has or doesn’t have.  Is it a traumatic situation that has led them to ask for help?  Is it a matter of wellness?  Is this a situation that would be better addressed in therapy?  Secondarily, if this is a coaching relationship that’s consented to, you begin carrying out the agreed upon treatment together.

What is important for this exchange – whether we’re talking First Aid or coaching – is consent….permission…respect…  Think about how you’re handling the situations in your life lately.  If there seems to be a lot of drama is it possible that consent was not given?  What would it mean if consent were given?  Would that change things?

In the case of Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder situations if consent cannot be granted – the person is impaired, a minor, unconscious, etc. – then it is implied.  If you’re in a coaching situation and consent could not be given how could it be implied?  Could it?  Think about it for any situation involving those that cannot consent as you might expect, like trees, flowers, animals.  How might other living beings grant you consent to approach? If we’re mindful of consent it could change our relationships with others by recognizing their power.  Being mindful of consent could also – possibly more powerfully – change our relationship with ourselves as we recognize that we also have that power.


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