The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Distancing from the learning process

As a coach, I’ll often be confronted with my client’s desire for a solution. There is a problem and all they desire is to get rid of it.

Actually, what they dislike is the discomfort of lacking an answer. And often this becomes a reason to dislike the appearing question. They are a constant reminder of how difficult it is to find the answer oneself. It’s not necessarily my question that is difficult to answer. It is the question they ask themselves that they have not yet been able to answer.

And as they have been struggling for so long with finding that answer, it is hard for them to engage in that process with someone. Every moment of the journey possibly being a reminder that they have failed until now. It can go as far as preferring to make sure that no solution comes about. That result serving as a reassurance that their previous struggling could not succeed.

The tension a coach has to deal with in these situations is to stay connected with the way the client is trying to force a solution. As clients choose us for a specific reason, it can also be the way we fall into their trap. Coaches desire to help, otherwise, they wouldn’t take that profession. It doesn’t prevent them, from sometimes being too fast.

Take for example a client who is challenged by dealing with his competence and fear of failure. Then the tension can be to find how much of an answer may be needed for the client to start seeing the picture he is drawing. But also how much of that idea needed to emerge through their own effort to let them establish a sense of ownership of their answer.

Clients may also be challenged by dealing with their autonomy and ability to take a position. In such a case hearing possible answers may become a way for them to feel frustrated that they are being told what position is right for them. But it can also be, that they already own that position and needed a confirmation that it is theirs to keep or take.

Delivering answers rarely is helpful. Sustaining the learning process may require some.

Don’t jump too soon nor too far.


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