“Myths are “the way things are” as people in a particular society believe them to be, and they are the models people refer to when they try to understand their world and its behavior… Myths are not deliberately, or necessarily consciously, fictitious.” — James Robertson
According to co-active coaching, every client is “naturally, creative, resourceful and whole.” There is no fixing. The coach accepts and encourages the client’s capacities. All of them just as they are.
On the one hand, this kind of encouragement seems to indicate that nothing can change. If a coach accepts and encourages the client’s capacities just as they are – how can anything new happen? Without some motivating discrimination, habits and routines perpetuate themselves. The range of expression is accepted — just as it is.
On the other hand, if a coach accepts and encourages the client’s capacities as they are — with the belief that more can be realized — then something new can happen. An opened-space is made for discovery and practice. “More” becomes the standard towards which both the coach and the client work. The area of endeavor is always on the outer edge of what the client is capable of — right now.
The dilemma, of course, is that “more” runs up against the mythology of “less.” Mythology can frequently limit what is achievable. Myths are “they way things are” – the unquestioned assumptions which put the client’s self-leadership in conflict with his or her capacity to define and achieve “more.” Coaches must advocate for their client’s whenever “more” seems like an impossible presumption. Coaches must look past the various myths of limitation so the client can learn to take chances. “More” is no guarantee, but it is an area of growth always the outer edge of whatever the client is capable of right now.
Let’s look at an example: John has money problems. He is having great difficulty saving. He has fallen into a habit of buying things spontaneously. He wants the comfort of getting whatever he wants right now. The challenge is to find the self-leadership that realizes “saving” while also alleviating John’s need for “comfort.” But John can’t do that without vision and self-awareness: Vision about what he genuinely wants, and a new sense of self-awareness around “comfort” and how it can be achieved without spending a lot of money.
Old patterns give way to new ones once the need of the moment is seen from a self-motivated place. That’s where “more” happens.” “More” is the place where now becomes the future. And to get there, John must find the alternatives which can make that happen – for him. John becomes naturally creative, resourceful and whole by making “more” the focus of his self-leadership; John must define “more” for himself and challenge the myths that hold him in a pattern of repetition.
Often coaches must advocate and build capacity — just when it feels inaccessible — just when the myth of “less” overshadows the “more.” To push past the mythology of “less,” John must be reminded about what is “more” and about its connection to self-leadership. Growth is the expansion of capacity. It is the willingness to rewrite the myths which have brought us to the present moment.
In my last blog (“…nature and nurture…“), I look at the four endowments that Stephen Covey identifies in his book “The Seven Habit of Highly Effective
People.” In that blog, I endeavored to compare Covey’s four endowments with Freud’s four parts of a drive. My material might have been difficult to understand; however, what that blog did for me, was clarify four distinct areas of capacity. Places where coaches and clients can really dig in and discover how “more” becomes tangible, practical and achievable.
And for most of us, the “more” which is available to us — as creative imagination, conscience, independent will, and awareness – is often overshadowed by the mythology of “less.”
Over the next several blogs, I want to look at each of Covey’s four endowments and at the they way they harness the capacity for “more.” With luck, we can begin to unpack the various myths which limit our definition of “more.”
Thanks for listening!