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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This acknowledgement is not easy. The acknowledgement moves one into Hard Irony. It adds complexity to our sense of self and pulls us in at least two different directions. When should each of our sides become prominent? What is the wisdom associated with each side and when is each side stupid or easily duped? As coaches, we can assist in this sorting out process. In many traditional mystical practices, this sorting out relates to something called discernment.

Mystics had access to not only the words of the divine, but also the words of the not-so-divine (satanic perspectives). They were wise not only because they had access to spiritual truths, but also because they could differentiate between the divine and satanic. In secular terms, they could discern that which was aligned with the greater good of the world and that which was aligned with their own self-interests and ego. A similar kind of discernment must take place when a leader faces the irony inherent in their own personal psyche. A coach can be of great value in asking tough discernment questions—such as “Why are you doing this?” “How do you know this is true (real)?” “How will you know if you have succeeded?”

Assessing the Appropriate Use of Strengths

There is a second level at which the coaching inquiry can be engaged. We know that successful leaders rely on their strengths and make extensive use of strengths associated with particular dimensions of their psyche. Jung even goes so far as to suggest that the first half of life is all about honing the strengths that we have inherited or acquired early in our life. We also know, however, that it is often the strengths which leaders possess that get them in trouble. They overuse their strength or use their strength in inappropriate settings. Joshua might be too consumed in administrative detail or get too wrapped up in the treatment plans for a specific adolescent client. Kristen might overplay her hand as an advocate for change or might (like Joshua) get too wrapped up in her administrative role.

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