Discover more from Like person, like coach by Iacob Bacian
'23 Weeknotes #17: The Clarity of Endings
You are reading ‘Like person, like coach’, a newsletter about becoming the coach you are whilst trying to contribute to a better world.
‘You can’t have a developmental conversation with someone who thinks they always know what they’re talking about.’
- Simon Cavicchia
As I’m approaching the end of a few coaching relationships and also exploring ending in therapy, I am gaining up-to-date clarity on who I am as a colleague and coach. I’ve broken down these insights into three themes: shame, privilege and ‘the healthy self’. It's a rich one this week, thanks to incredible colleagues, supervisors and therapists who keep inviting me into deepening my learning.
Real learning is always shocking. And we always believe we are better than we are. Where I thought I was aceing I was instead floating in blind spots:
1. Shame - I’m getting clearer on how my experiences of shame lead me to pushing myself too hard to become a perfect coach and perfect person. Which automatically turns into me putting unrealistic pressures on clients and colleagues.
Simon is helping me with his chapter on ‘Shame in the Coaching Relationship’ where he talks about moving from holding yourself to ‘set images’ to ‘core qualities’. So instead of feelig ashamed when I fail to be ‘the perfect coach’, I’d like to develop the capacity to respond to failure with: ‘That wasn’t the best approach in that coaching call, but I am a reflective coach and I will aim to respond more effectively next time.’
‘George Kaufman describes shame as ‘the affect of indignity, of transgression, of defeat, of inferiority ad alienation’. It is experienced as ‘an inner torment, as a sickness of the soul’. It is the most poignant experience of the self by the self, whether felt in the humiliation of cowardice, or in the sense of failure to cope successfully with a challenge.’
2. Privilege - To talk about anti-oppression is one thing, to live it is another. For the longest time I’ve been struggling with accepting an element of victimhood in my healing journey. Identity politics grated at me because of this. But I’m leaning in to a more nuanced approach.
I am doing work to better understand what keeps me refusing to acknowledge the impact of the systems of oppression that affect me. On the flipside, accepting the privileges I’ve had in life to get me where I am is extremely shame-inducing, which returns me to point one and why I need to be working on building shame-resilience.
Báyò Akómoláfé helps me with this article:
‘We are fluid and relational, constantly becoming, open in our reiterativity. Sometimes health proceeds from a sickness. Sometimes a lion’s carcass might be home to a swarm of bees and the honey they produce. Sometimes the enemy looks exactly like us, and my brother is the one that holds a sword to my throat.’
3. Coaching from the Healthy Self - Training coaching has historically rarely approached the subject of trauma, and yet it’s rare that trauma doesn’t show up in coaching converasations. Trauma doesn’t have to be only the major traumatic events but any event that in the moment overwhelms our capacity to respond effectively.
I’ve been re-reading Julia Vaughan Smith’s book on ‘Coaching and Trauma’ where she describes Franz Ruppert’s model of trauma which identifies three selves: the traumatised self, the survival self and the healthy self; and how we might use this formula to help us identify when we are coaching from our healthy self or not.
‘The aim is to track your survival self and strategies and map out your patterns and what the triggers are. We need to be kind and compassionate towards ourselves when we realise we have been in survival mode with our clients’.
Qualities of coaching from the healthy self: (seen as ongoing development rather than a checklist to tick off)
- Having self-awareness and capacity for self-exploration
- Being able to be present and attuned to the client; listening attentively
- Being non-judgemental and curious
- Having the capacity for self-regulation
- Having good contact with the body and the felt experience
- Having empathy and compassion
The following articles helped me this week:
Internal and External Self-Awareness (HBR)
Cognitive, Emotional and Compassionate Empathy (Psych Central)
What if I am the That Toxic Colleague? (Phiona Martin)
The Paradoxical Power of Humility (Psycholoy Today)
20 Common Defense Mechanisms and How They Work (VeryWellMind)
See you next week,
If you enjoy reading Like Person, Like Coach, please recommend it to others who might find useful, too. If you have feedback and suggestions on how I can deepen my learning please write me on email@example.com.