by Martin Goodyer (UK)

Goodyer’s Diogenes’ Test: Is it possible to refute a definition with both good nature and absolute clarity?

History is littered with examples of the great and the good coming up with definitions that prove to be less than helpful:

About two and a half thousand years ago in Ancient Greece, some of the better educated Athenians had all but accepted the great Plato’s definition of a human being, because after much deliberation he had distilled it down to this: a ‘featherless bipedal animal’. I’m sure there was much deferential nodding of heads and very little questioning, as they must have assumed all the necessary thinking had been done by someone of his standing and notoriety; because how else could the great man had come to this unique definition? However, the first person to be known as a cynic, an interesting chap called Diogenes of Sinope (not to be confused with plenty of other well known figures along the philosophical timeline named Diogenes – as I think the name must have been as common as ‘Alan’!), was brave enough to call this definition into question. Rather than debating the topic he apparently barged into one of Plato’s teaching sessions holding aloft a freshly plucked chicken crying, “Behold, here is Plato’s man!”

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Source: iCN Issue 19  (Group Dynamics: Team Coaching); pages 12-14

About Martin Goodyer (MBPsS MAC)

Building trust, creating a safe space and recognising that no leader has all the answers but always has strengths to build on, are hallmarks of outstanding coaching. With an exemplary and extensive track record of coaching built on the solid foundations of a 17 year business career, qualifications in business management and as a psychologist, and now 17 years as a full time coach and coach educator, an author on books on coaching and productivity, a teacher of coaching philosophy and skills at the highest accredited level, and a coach of vast experience working internationally with C-suite clients from India, the US, Africa, Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe and the Far East, Martin is a world class coach.

His coaching style is to effect rapid and lasting performance improvements in both team and individual behaviour. Martin also acted as personal coach to a number of high profile clients in the public eye and is an excellent presenter on seminar platforms, with extensive television and radio experience.