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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Kristen has been with Healthforce for 25 years and has served as regional director for the past 15 years. As the numbers indicate, Kristen began to advocate for change since coming into her directorship. She was mostly a “good worker” prior to taking over the directorship; her “true colors” as a change advocate only emerged after she was appointed to this powerful position. There is some ambivalence on the part of the CEO (who was serving as COO when Kristen became director) regarding this emergent advocacy role assumed by Kristen.

The CEO still greatly appreciates Kristen’s loyalty to the organization and relies on her organizational competencies (while often feeling less confident regarding the male directors of other Healthforce regions). He has not appreciated her push for reform in Healthforce—at least not until recently. The CEO now looks to Kristen for new ideas–given the calls for reform throughout the American health care system. He still does not like the ideas Kristen is presenting and deeply resents the imperatives that have been imposed on his organization by the US government and health care marketplace.

The ambivalence of Kristen’s CEO is evident every time she meets with him. He listens to her and takes many notes, but grumbles about the changes being advocated by Kristen. At times he bursts out with considerable anger about the imperatives that Healthforce is now confronting. Kristen doesn’t know quite how to react to his display of emotions. He is a man who was very careful about expressing emotions during the first years of his leadership (“holding his cards close to his vest”). Is he just getting burned out in his very demanding job? Should she get out of the way and let some other leaders in the organization become advocates for change? Has she worn out her welcome and credibility? Is she now identified with the “enemy” (the government as well as a volatile and demanding marketplace)?

Faced with these challenging conditions, Kristen is finding that her own psyche is highly active – even chaotic. She is faced with many dynamic ironies. First, she presents what Jung would call a persona of competence and dedication. She is hard-working and skillfully collaborative. Kristen might even be labeled a “company man [woman].” She has worked at Healthforce all of her adult life, having been appointed to a lower level administrative position straight out of her Master’s Degree program in Public Administration (with a focus on health care).

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