On Coaching, Languages & Music

Michael ThalliumSometimes some of my Spanish speaking friends ask me, not without a certain tone of reproach, why I mainly use and foster English or German cultural and teaching materials or videos, especially bearing in mind that I am Spanish and Spanish is my mother tongue. Quite frankly and with all due respect: because those are the languages in which I find more interesting and quality stuff. By this, I do not mean that there are no interesting materials in the Spanish speaking countries. Actually, in Spain, the philosopher José Antonio Marina is carrying out one of the most interesting iniciatives, his online Biblioteca de la Universidad de Padres (Parents University Library). But as interesting and good quality it really is, the fact is that a great deal of the videos you can watch online are, either you like it or not, yes, in English.

And if we move on to the field of life & business coaching literature, I cannot help but say that, although it is true that some -I would rather say just a few- Spanish speaking authors certainly write “juicy” and authentic books, most of the literature you can find in Spanish is just rehashed or copied, with varying success, or translated from other languages.

Thus, the same way Jim Collins says on his web page that executives should read fewer management books, I suggest that people, whether executive or otherwise, should read fewer coaching books. I do not mean that reading them is a waste of time. You can learn a lot from them. The question is what to read or not. You can certainly improve your leadership and coaching skills and capabilities by drinking from “other waters”, the waters of some great books or sources that have been published in a wide variety of disciplines. More important and outstanding leaders often forge their best theories, insights and behaviors by reading outside their primary scope.

And this leads me to a recommendation. It was through the recommended readings on Jim Collins webpage that I virtually bumped into Robert Greenberg -and then I was lucky enough to contact him on Twitter as well. Robert Greenberg is a friendly, good-natured and witty musicologist who has great courses you can download from The Great Courses. -yes, yes, I know, the courses are in English, but if you have read this article up to this point, I guess your level of English is not that bad. Actually, it may be even much higher than mine! Whether you are an English native speaker or not, I highly recommend Robert Greenberg’s course: if you are the former you will learn a lot about history, music, life and, yes, leadership and coaching; if you are the latter, you will also greatly increase your English level Two birds with a stone! Mi recommendation is not a book, but an audiobook: How to Listen to and Understand Great Music: The Greenberg Lectures. This Greenberg’s series of 48 lectures (around 45 minutes each) combines a history of western civilization with a history of great music from ancient Greece to the 20th century. The course illustrates the interplay between societal change and innovation. Greenberg offers a very particular perspective on the accelaration of change worught by the 20th century.

The Great Courses Production Team, February 2013.

The Great Courses Production Team, February 2013.

I would like to finish with the words that Robert Greenberg wrote on his Facebook wall when he posted the above picture of the production team of The Great Courses: “It takes a village to make a course. Well, here is our village, and a smarter, more passionate, more committed bunch of professionals will be hard (if not impossible) to find, on this or any other planet.” Sitting in the middle and dressed in black, you can see Robert Greenberg.

Onward to coaching!

Michael Thallium
Global & Greatness Coach
Book your coaching here

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>