Another personal shadow we must deal with is ego. We work hard to become qualified. We work hard to develop expertise. We work hard to develop a signature presence in the market place of coaching. I don’t know about you, but I’m proud of who and what I have become. Sometimes, however, I slip subtly into knowing what is best for my clients or enjoying my oh-so-clever questions a bit too much. Likewise, when I unconsciously take a position of wise or over-nurturing parent, I am working from a shadowy place.
Of course, this is personal stuff. Human relationships are always ripe for missteps. We like some clients more than we like others. Some clients challenge us or seduce us into their games. “…Coaches, like everyone else, never evolve to the point of being immune to these forces.”, Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart (Mary Beth O’Neill, 2007). Similarly, Scharmer and Senge state in Presence: “The success of an intervention depends on the inner condition of the intervener.” And Edna Murdoch, founder of the Coaching Supervision Academy reminds us, “Who we are is how we coach.”
When we forget to track this inner condition, this effect clients have on us, this beingness of ourselves, we allow ourselves to operate unconsciously – and that is where the shadow dwells.
I’ll explore possible shadows of the coaching profession next.