Engaged I stumbled through a response and then the next question came. “And when you ran into obstacles what character traits did you draw on to keep going?” Again there was silence on my part. And again I fumbled the best answer I could in the moment. It went on for about 15 minutes and at the end, I felt alive, renewed, engaged and most of all…returned to myself. It was one of the more life affirming experiences I’d ever had and I thought…”I want to do this for people.”
And that was the start of a 20+ years in coaching career. I joined the ICF which seemed to be an organization that was supporting these principles of honoring people’s uniqueness, exploration (the word is all over the competencies) and discovery of something new that would fit uniquely to whom the client was and what they were seeking.
Sadly, we didn’t do that same kind of exploration for ourselves. In our quest for legitimacy as a profession, we fell back on the ‘tried and true’ structures of other organizations, even adopting the Robert’s Rules of Order way of meetings. We went all hierarchical with directors, a board, committees etc.
It was as if we had asked a coach how to put together an organization and the coach said …”Do what already exists.” This is something that we wouldn’t do for our clients and yet we abandoned the sense of adventure and discovery that is/was the hallmark of our profession. We stepped in a pile of incongruence and never looked back.
It seems we never dared to seek or invent a new form. We never took the moment to say…”if we are a unique organization, honoring a one of a kind membership and we were staying true to those values what would we create?”
We came up with ‘competencies’…just like other organizations, to inspire and measure our profession’s output. Sidebar here, who actually wants to be ‘competent’? We didn’t even take the time to seek out new language that would become part of the brand and therefore the distinction we presented to the world.
We were so busy trying to define ourselves as different from therapy or consulting or mentoring that we didn’t notice that we were following what was taught about each of those things as to how to have an organization function.
We might have continued the sense of discovery and created something as yet unseen in terms of how an organization could function. And yet we didn’t. We copied. And that is the singular most glaring indictment of how we operate that has created many more difficulties as that desire for legitimacy and ‘professionalism’ compelled us to simply adopt or attempt to adopt other practices for our organization.
In doing so, we gained acceptance in the world at the price of our soul. Our soul of ‘not knowing but inquiring’, our soul of ‘daring to seek something new that fits the unique creature we were’ our soul of ‘honoring the individual’ before simply driving to success. We forgot the ‘who’ of who we are and went pell mell down the mountain to solidify the ‘what’.Download Article 1K Club