The promotion of maturity occurs within the interaction between a coach and a coachee.
The mechanics of this interaction are threefold:
- Asking Questions
- Taking “I” positions
The quality of this interaction is dependant on the skill of the coach and the level of connection with coachee.
An optimal connection allows for an unconstipated flow of information, the ability to “shoot the shit”. The coaches self-disclosure can act as a laxative to get things going. The coach who discloses candid thoughts, feelings, fears and mistakes creates a culture in which the team is more free and confident to do the same. The coach who over discloses is no longer “shooting the shit” but has crossed over into verbal diarrhea. Rather than creating a true connection, it just stinks up the culture.
A coach can find the optimum balance between the tension of constipation and embarrassment of diarrhea by paying careful attention to two strong counterbalancing life forces.
“Togetherness is a biologically rooted life force (that is more basic than just a function of the brain) that propels an organism to follow the directives of others to be a dependant indistinct entity” Dr. Miceal Kerr – Family Evaluation
The coach who seeks connection through over disclosure crosses through the boundary of connection into the realm of indistinction where one can not tell where the coach begins and the coachee ends. The coaches ability to help the coachee reflect on self is compromised when so much togetherness develops that the two selves are indistinguishable.
“Individuality is a biologically rooted life force (that is more basic than just a function of the brain) that propels an organism to follow it’s own directives to be an independant and distinct entity” Dr. Miceal Kerr – Family Evaluation
The coach who avoids connection by non-disclosure creates a separation between themselves and the coachee. This distance prevents any kind of mutual understanding where the coachee can reflect on self from a place of shared experience.
In which relationships do you need to seek more Togetherness?
Look for points of connections, common beliefs and shared experiences. Not long after my wife and I started dating I received a call from her eccentric cousin whom I had only met a couple of times. Kirk, you’ll never guess what just happened – I just shit my pants”. A story like this may open up a connection with a colleague who also has that in-law. While you may disagree with company strategy and direction you now have one point of Connection.
In which relationships do you need to seek more Individuality?
Look for points of disagreement and differences of opinion. Do their problems automatically become your problems? Do you have a sense that they need “Us” to be ok? Are you feeling smothered by the indistinct nature of the relationship? If you push the other person away it only serves to reinforce the pull of togetherness. Define yourself clearly and firmly, stand your ground without pushing, in order to establish greater Distinction.
The goal is not perfection. All leaders shit stinks. But the coach who monitors and effectively balances these forces comes out smelling like a rose.
Photo by Lee Coursey