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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Finding the Shadow in Other People

A professional coach can be of assistance to their client with regard to not only the intra-psychic dynamics of irony, but also the dynamics associated with irony in interpersonal relationships. We find ourselves conflicted not only about the apparent contradictions within ourselves, but also the contradictions that we experience in our experience of and feelings about other people with whom we work – and (in particular) with those people whom we love and with whom we share our personal life. As Jung and Rorty both note, we are often bonded to people who seem quite different from ourselves. In Jungian terms we are attracted to and at the same time repelled by those who represent the Shadow side of our own psyche. In Rortian terms, human solidarity is based on mutual recognition of the differences between perspectives, truths and narratives among people within a society.

We have already encountered this interpersonal dynamic when describing the impact of collective archetypes on the leadership of both Kristen and Joshua. People with whom they work will tend to discount or isolate elements of their own psyche and project these elements onto their leader(s) (Kristen or Joshua). They have, in essence, caste their shadow over Kristen and Joshua. They have begun to believe that this shadow is actually the real person operating in a real world. As a coach, we can help our clients discern what is and is not their real self and the real world in which they operate. Obviously, there is no one reality (especially as Rorty has noted when irony is thrown into the mix). It is of great value, therefore, for a leader to have someone alongside them to sort things out a bit about projections onto them from other people. As I will note shortly, this task is even more important given the additional dynamic associated with collective archetypes.

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