Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

In praise of confusion and uncertainty

I got off the phone this morning with  my mentor thoroughly confused, and feeling grumpy as a result. I'd gone from a surety that  "I've got my ducks in a row" to feeling that the whole duck pond had been unexpected emptied. However I also know that this will be to the good eventually as a better plan will emerge once I've have time to stew.

This experience got me to thinking about the value of feeling confused. Isn't a good shake up of one's certainties and assumptions actually the stuff of learning and growth? Like most of us, I'm not keen on the feeling of confusion and can rush on in an attempt to get back to the comfort of  'certainty' rather than tolerate the discomfort of confusion and not knowing. However, I know from experience that the 'not knowing' place is often the place where I find genuinely fresh perspectives ... if I am prepared to give it the time it needs.

I notice when I work with novice coaches they are often very keen for their clients to reach clarity and are often dismayed if a way forward doesn't emerge quickly. Consequently the work can become a rushed problem-solving session rather than a thoughtful and considerate examination of the assumptions and beliefs underlying an issue. Result - a superficial quick-fix that doesn't stick... perhaps tolerance of confusion and uncertainty is a muscle more coaches could usefully develop.

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