As a coach, we should be aware of this dynamic operating in ourselves as well as our clients. We should encourage our client to explore their own operational bonding—when they are doing work and assuming responsibilities that should be in the hands (and on the shoulders) of other members of their family and/or their friends (personal coaching) or should be done by people with whom they work in their organization (executive coaching). It is fine for us (and our clients) to be concerned about the workloads and welfare of people about whom we care; but we can’t take on their burdens or we ourselves will be in need of care (and other people around us will be enticed to relieve us of the monkey that has moved onto our shoulder – the monkey can become viral!!).
Bonding and Masterful Coaching
None of these three bonding issues are easily addressed nor are the challenges they pose easily confronted. It is critical that we bond with other people in our personal lives and in our organizations. It is also critical, however, that our bonding doesn’t lead (with the help of our oxytocin) to inappropriate actions against the “other”, to self-defeating reliance on the admiration of those we serve, or to a shoulder (and psyche) that is weighted down with monkeys that belong on other shoulders. Our task as a coach is to help our clients make critical distinctions (the process of discernment) between beneficial and destructive bonding.
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