Home Concepts Schools of Coaching Appreciative Multiple Perspectives and Multiple Truths: Challenges and Opportunities for Professional Coaches

Multiple Perspectives and Multiple Truths: Challenges and Opportunities for Professional Coaches

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There is a second fundamental flaw inherent in the Great Warrior archetype—and in virtually all of the other archetypes that pervade organizations. This flaw concerns the indispensability of the leader who has been assigned the role of emulating and displaying this archetype. This is a step beyond role-suction. Not only is a leader like Joshua pulled into a specific, unalterable role in the organization. There is no one else that can take his place. Succession planning is a major challenge when members of an organization are captivated by, enthralled with and dependent on a specific archetype and its manifestation in a specific person (or specific group of people). Everyone is caught up in a collusive imposturing.

Joshua doesn’t want to remain CEO of Fairhills forever. He would like to return to the role of therapist or perhaps take on a new challenge. But will his organization allow him to leave? Who will take his place? Will the organization collapse without Joshua being in charge? If Joshua does leave, then there is likely to be a pervasive sense of betrayal in the organization.

Staff members and board members will be angry: how dare he leave the scene of the battle! Has he become a coward or has he always been a coward (we just didn’t see it)? Has he really been using us for his own gains and glorification? The impostureship collapses. A new collusion-based sense of betrayal enters—leaving no room for organizational learning. Psychotherapists with a psychodynamic orientation identify this as the “splitting” function that can operate very powerfully in the psyche of their patients. We now know that this splitting can also be observed in the collective (and colluding) behavior of many people in an organization.

Even if the organization plans carefully for the departure of Joshua, it is likely to place the new CEO into the same role as Joshua occupied—even if the new leader neither wants to be in this role nor is skilled in the areas required of the Great Warrior. It is not unusual that a successor to someone like Joshua will fail in their job. The organization then often selects and tosses out or wears out a string of leaders before finding someone to fit into the role occupied by an archetypically-saturated leader like Joshua.

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