Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Feeling in control - issues in coaching

It occurs to me that 'feeling in control' is another of those things that you can have too much of or too little. When I meet a coaching client that feels too little in control there is usually a sense of being overwhelmed, coupled with anxiety and powerlessness. Almost without fail, if I can encourage them to take back a bit of control in their lives  -- often in a very small symbolic way -- this can be amazingly liberating and will often prove a turning point. One recent client gave himself permission to take a short lunch break and get out of the office -- a simple act that did wonders for his sense of personal control and proved a springboard later on for greater changes in his life.

However, sometimes the problem is holding on to too much control... the client who won't delegate or micro-manages their team to within an inch of their life to name two examples. I find this a tougher pattern to work with as there is often a bigger investment in existing behaviour. It is often a slow process of encouraging the client to progressively let go of whatever they are holding on to too tightly and test whether the sky actually does fall in. As one client said' It's a bit like a kite string ... you let go of control a bit at a time'.

So how are things today - too much or too little control in your life?

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