Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Thursday, 24 January 2013

What is your 'deference threshold'?

Ok picture the scene - you go to visit a new client/ customer or set up a meeting with a new senior manager. Instead of being your usual relaxed, poised and self-assured self you find you have regressed a couple of decades. Instead of speaking with your normal surety you find yourself babbling and tripping over your words. Nobody is more surprised than you.

This a sure sign that your 'deference threshold' has been tripped - instead of relating adult to adult you find yourself operating from a one down place in the face of this awesome (and possibly scary) human being. We all have a deference threshold - I recently asked a very experienced coach this week who triggered hers and she replied "I once had to work with an Army General ... that did it for me!" Usually the awesome being reminds us of parental or other authority figures from childhood days and has nothing to do with the reality of who they are. Sometimes we get entangled in other's power plays and it is everything to do with them.

Coaches have to learn to work with a wide range of people - including very senior people. It is therefore well worth finding out who sends you over the edge and what it is about them that triggers you. Good material for coaching supervision.

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