When A Coach’s Needs Get In Your Clients Way – Ego
~ Article by Dr.L.Michael Hall and Mr Shawn Dwyer ~
It can happen. Your needs, drives, and unfinished issues can get in the way of your client reaching his or her goals or even experiencing an effective coaching session. Unlike many professions where the agent’s congruencies, beliefs, psychological state do not matter, in coaching it matters. In many professions, what the person thinks, feels, and believes is irrelevant because it does not affect her ability to apply her skills and achieve an outcome.
But in coaching, you primarily use yourself to conduct the coaching experience. And because you are the “tool,” the condition of you as the means of transformation is critical. That’s why your emotional drives and needs can get in the way. And because of that, that’s why we work on releasing judgment and getting the ego-investments out of the way as a Meta-Coach. That is also why we repeatedly say that whatever happens in coaching session, it is not about you.
Unfinished Business and Ego
In spite of that, I often hear coaches, even Meta-Coaches, worry about what they would do if this or that happened. “What if the client wants to know personal things about me?” “What if my client rejects me?” “What if a client criticizes me?” Inferentially any of these concerns implies that the coach is making the experience far too much about him or herself. That would be an example of how your unfinished business gets in the way.
One reason for you, as a Meta-Coach, to revisit our Self Leadership training from time to time, is to refresh the foundations of your own personal flow or genius state. After all, if you feel powerless in handling something, or if your self-esteem hinges on your performance or the client’s outcomes, then you are working from a undeveloped self (perhaps a false self) and your need for unconditional self-value is getting in the way.
In the coaching experience, as a coach you need to be fully present to your client and to the situation being described so that you can flexibly think, problem-solve, think creatively, and think critically. But if you have some rigid ego-investments that causes your sense of self to be needy, that will interfere with effective information processing and coaching facilitation.
Your thinking will be shallow and superficial, self-focused, and probably defensive. And when you come from that kind of place you will not be effective.
To coach you really need to get yourself clean and clear.
By clean and clear I’m referring to completing any of the socio-psycho-sexual stages of human development that Piaget, Erickson, and others identified. The person who is stuck at some earlier level of development isn’t clear and therefore will not be able to be cleanly present for their client. While a great many of the NLP and Neuro-Semantic processes in Modules I and II can take care of personal growth and development and internal conflicts, sometimes a person needs either a coach or a therapist to clear out any remnants of unfinished business.
When there are struggles within any of us- it could be as simple as two legitimate frames warring against each other. There could be a frame war in a power struggle for dominance. Or it could be the function of a limiting belief, decision, understanding, identity, etc. And because these of frequently our blind-spots, no wonder we are often the last person to recognize them.
Now your needs, especially your unconscious drives, can get activated while you are coaching. There’s nothing abnormal about that. When that happens, use that awakening as indicating a next level of development for yourself.
Get with your coaching supervisor to understand and address that need or drive. The more you work on you- the more you keep yourself clean and clear as an instrument of facilitating for your clients. You will then be able to more clearly hear your client and support them.
Gain a deeper perspective in your needs by visiting Coaching Essentials