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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Yet, there is also the Shadow side to Kristen. She has a festering anger about contemporary health care and chose to specialize in health care administration precisely because she wanted to bring about reform. As a junior administrator, Kristen kept the Shadow function at bay. It only slipped out when she went for a drink with her best friend (another female junior executive at Healthforce). They could both vent their frustration and empathize with one another regarding the “good girl” image that both of them had to convey in order to get ahead in the organization.

Kristen’s best friend left the organization (and health care) within five years, leaving Kristen with no one to talk to. She “repressed” her Shadow and remained mute about reform until promoted to the position of regional director. At this point, Kristen decided to let her “radical” ideas be known. Yet, there is still the need for discretion, which Kristen’s Shadow does not always observe. Over the past fifteen years, Kristen has often regretted her expression of new ideas after a stressful meeting has been adjourned. She is fully aware of her CEO’s ambivalence and hates her own “stupid” expression of ideas that she knows he will reject.

Now he has to listen to her ideas and she is not sure if this is the right role for her to play in Healthforce. She is faced with the ironic tension between a well-developed and highly successful Persona and a Shadow that is based on her justifiable (and now widely-accepted) critique of contemporary health care. Kristen is engaged with and living in Hard Irony. The insights offered by both Rorty and Jung seem to be relevant in fully appreciating the challenges being faced by Kristen.

There is a second level of irony. Kristen is a great administrator who makes effective use of her sensing and thinking functions. She can be realistic and systematic. This has made her very successful in Healthforce. On the other hand, she holds an intuitive vision of what American health care (and Healthforce in particular) can be. Kristen is constantly hearing her feeling function criticizing the compromises she has made in moving up through the organization. Kristen’s sensing and thinking functions tend to constellate around her masculine energies (animus), leading her to be quite skillful in working primarily with men at Healthforce.

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