Pulling teeth

I hate dentists! 

Reason being that I’ve had a rather traumatizing experience when I was around 10 years old (Fuck you Dr Rose! You told me you’d “just take a look”. It may well be that you’ve accidentally slipped into my nerve, but either way, you broke something and I can still feel it each time I merely think about dentists). 

Anyway, you can imagine how I’ve felt inside when a recent supervisee described some of her coaching engagements as “like pulling teeth”. 

Upon asking my 10 year old self to kindly step out of the way and let me do my job, we got to reflect on what our role is as coaches, and what sort of style to lean into. 

My immediate thought event was: “If it feels like pulling teeth, that’s not coaching then, is it?!” After all, we’re supposed to hold space and let the client do the pulling. If they’re just lying there with their mouth open and expect us to go to work on them, something’s off in the relationship. 

Thing is that this coach really enjoyed that kind of work. It felt challenging, a bit risky, exciting, incredibly impactful, and she was able to draw on decades of experience and knowledge as a practising psychologist and extreme sports athlete. Yes, she took on more responsibility than most coaches would (want to/be willing to bear), and that sometimes weighed heavily on her and felt quite draining; but she liked it, and her clients valued it, and the organisation that contracts her again and again to work with their most challenging executives clearly thought it was worth paying for. 

As a proponent of integrative approaches to working with people (and arguably influenced by my existential lens on challenging authority and dogma) I’ve arrived at a position that there isn’t really a right or wrong way of coaching (read: working with people), only different ways of working. 

What’s important is that we develop the awareness of what we are willing and able to bring to the table, combined with the capability to choose the right set of skills, tools, or ways of being at the right time with the right client. 

And it helps to be able to communicate what you do, and how you do it, so that your clients can give you informed consent before you start pulling their teeth. You wouldn’t wanna go and traumatize anyone, would you now?!

With love (and hate 😉 )


New content: Coaching Uncaged – Adlerian Coaching

There are many proclaimed “godfathers of coaching”, and I wasn’t particularly familiar with Adlerian psychology, so I gotta admit I was rather sceptical when faced with Pascale’s wonderful enthusiasm, experience, and knowledge around Adlerian frameworks and how it influenced (and arguably sits at the core of much of) coaching practice. Well worth a listen or a watch if you care to broaden your awareness around whose shoulders our profession stands on. 

If you’re hungry for more podcasts, you’ll find plenty more on here

And as always, heart-felt thanks to the amazing team at Animas Centre for Coaching for making these conversations possible! 

Next event: Coaching “Selfish Leaders”? Yannick’s Coaching Lab with Jindy Mann

I’ve not had the conversation with Jindy about why he chose “The Selfish Leader” as his brand name and website URL. What I do know is that I really appreciated his vibe and presence, and that I was immediately curious about his leadership coaching style. I’ve therefore invited him to grace the Coaching Lab with a demonstration of his style, and we all get to sit in on it, including an extended space to ask him any questions. 

I know what I’ll ask 🙂 Care to join us? 

Learn more about Jindy at https://gocoachinglab.com/vault/next-lab/ 

Tickets available via MeetUp, Eventbrite or catch the recording by signing up as a member.

And if you’d like to be Jindy’s client for this session, you can put your hand up here.