The power of polarity in Gestalt coaching
The sky is not the limit.
Our perspective is.
This article is inspired by a coaching session I had today.
My coachee contacted me through my website, because a work related situation had reached a point, where he was left with nothing, than to ask for advice.
Have you ever been in a situation, which you couldn't solve by yourself and you were left with nothing more than to ask for help, but you did that with a bitter taste, because the voice in your head was telling you, that you are not enough to solve this problem?
Today has been another one of those days, when my coachee realized by himself, with the help of a coaching technique, that the solution always lies within, and all we need is a different perspective, from a person who knows when and what to ask from you, in order for you to see what has been in front of your eyes the whole time.
The successful ones always have coaches...
Just think back to the times, when Kings were surrounded by advisors...it wasn't because the King didn't know the answers, it was because the King made the decision after looking at the same thing from different perspectives - some very different than his.
We don't perceive things as they are - we perceive things as we are.
And things change from the way we look at them, hence the value in having a coach.
Here is the situation in a nutshell: after getting promoted in the company, my coachee became responsable for a team of 9 people, but also inherited another boss, one who has anger management issues. Nobody likes being yelled at, especially on a daily basis, for things that can and should be discussed in a professional manner.
After hearing the details of the story, we shifted our focus on the angry boss, with an attitude of understaning where this behavior might come from.
Now, this is already a big shift in perspective...when you look beyond the surface and try to understand what might have happened to this person, that made him become like this.
In our session we also talked in detail about how his new boss' agressive attitude impacts my coachee not only at work, but also after work, and how it started to cause sleepless nights and excessive amount of stress.
What is polarity?
By using a coaching method called polarity, we examined my coachees situation and he realized, that on one end - the one on the surface - he was the person, who was always trying to make peace, repressed his feelings, never reacted in the same manner, as he was approached by his new boss, and never fought back. However this behavior caused him a lot of stress, which resulted sleepless nights and feeling anxious even after work.
On the other end - still hidden inside - he has immense power, something which his very angry boss doesn't have at the moment.
What is polarity? The simplest way to put it is this: the two ends of the same stick. One end is something that we are aware of, and the other end is our hidden potential, something that can be uncovered with the help of a coach, for not only well-being, but "better-being." Knowing that the avarage people usually run on less that 40% of their own capacity, it's a great opportunity to take on, and also a relief, in the sense that we are so much more than we think we are right now. It's just a current perspective. Everthing can be changed, because nothing is permanent.
Getting back to our story, the boss, is a person, who had an unpleasant experience, which led him to believe, that being nice isn't going to get him anywhere, and being tough, rough and angry will induce fear in his co-workers, and thus he'll be able to control things his way.
However, when the boss was one time confronted by my coachee - who in the moment released a glimpse of his real force or potetial - he had backed down and became submissive for a moment.
It was for a short moment, because the hidden ends in both of them manifested for a few minutes only, and then everything went back to what was perceives as usual.
By looking at the same thing from a different perspective, my coachee was able to realize his hidden potential: his power and his ability to solve this problem by himself - a feeling, which hadn't occured to him at all, since he'd felt like he can't solve this problem and turned to me, his coach, for help.
How could he use his power to solve this situation?
As soon as he knows that his new boss' attitude comes from being hurt or shamed in the past, he will look at him with compassion. He will be able to look at him with compassion, because the boss' behavior has nothing to do with my coachee, and has everything to do with himself. By looking at him with compassion, the dynamic of the relationship will change. Both are going to feel the change and what was on surface so far, will receive a new name: uncovered potential.
With this new perspective and with the realization of their new potetial, a problem gains a solution. One that doesn't require anyone to quit the job - causing the company extra costs in hiring and training.
If you feel like you are struggling with a situation, that you can't seem to solve by yourself, contact me.
Here's my favorite poem as a perfect closing to this artice.
1176 - Emily Dickinson
We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise,
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies. -
The Heroism we recite
Would be a daily thing,
Did not ourselves the Cubits warp,
For fear to be a King.-
Written by Iulia Oprea