Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Should's, must's and ought's - issues in coaching

How do you know when to bend and when to walk away? This has been a recent question for a coaching client who is finding it heavy going in their organisation. Despite putting in massive effort and extra hours they find themselves somehow still behind the pace, and struggling to know what is expected of them let alone deliver it. Our conversations have therefore turned to how much it is reasonable to try to adapt, and at what point does adaption actually become maladaptation, and the only sane response is to do something radically different or leave.

A tell-tale sign of maladaptation for me is when the “should’s, must’s and ought’s” become a signature of the coaching conversation – “I should try harder… I must fit in .. I ought to be able to”. Albert Ellis, founding father of Rational Emotional Behaviour Therapy (REBT), a forerunner of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), amusingly but rudely called this ‘mustabation’ – a compulsion to rationalise away our own needs in favour of someone else’s. So when I hear a crop of “should’s, must’s and ought’s” my instinct is to get curious about the assumptions my client is making and challenge their source and validity.

Of course we all have to bend a little to fit in, however its also healthy to know when not to. Watch out for your “should’s must’s and ought’s”.

1 comment:

  1. The purpose of one to one coaching and group/team coaching is to help you and your colleagues to set and achieve your specific goals and improve your performance and that of your team/organization through changing and improving your thinking, behavior and actions.

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