Posted by: wellness training services | September 4, 2012

Coaching Reflective Work – Month 6


The Coach’s Journey – Task #6“If you bring forth what is within you, what your bring forth will save you.  If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” Jesus – The Gospel According to Thomas – This task reflects on our shadow side – those parts of ourselves that sit in the unconscious and because they are unknown parts of ourselves, can trip us up and take us by surprise.  We project our shadows onto others and when we keep the shadow in the dark, it takes our energy and blocks us or sabotages us when we least expect it. Asking ourselves how we contribute to our own dilemmas and our own inner struggles is part of the journey to self discovery and to wholeness. David Whyte says: “The antidote to exhaustion is wholeness.”

Some shadow archetypes to watch for are: the Judge who is overcritical in place of loving; the Wise One who is intellectually superior rather than empathetic; the Manipulator who labels, diagnoses, and stereotypes rather than empowers others; the Scoundrel who seduces and abuses rather than respectfully accepts others as they are.

The goal of coaching is to display respect, provide opportunities for growth and to openly and transparently share useful information.  Often the Competitor attitude of creating defensiveness in others can be linked to the shadow side as defence mechanisms that through others off guard.  Watch what we attack and what we do not like in others – that tells us more about ourselves and how we can expose and learn more about our inner worlds.

Rate the following questions on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is completely true for me and 10 is completely not true for me and 5 is somewhere in between.

RATING — 1 (completely true for me) to 10 (completely not true for me) and elaborate on your ratings.

1. When I see a tendency in me to be overbearing and over-controlling with someone, I check myself and unless completely necessary to be that way, I balance the tendency with love for the other.
2. When I neglect myself and give too much of myself away for free, I balance this tendency to over please by creating better boundaries that put me in the equation.
3. When I come across as a know-it-all, I soften this tendency by striving to keep my mind open to learn and to love.
4. When I notice the manipulator in me, I balance this tendency by tapping into my creative higher self.
5. When I am not transparent, I question and explore my behaviours in order to become more conscious so that I can make better, more conscious decisions.
6. I ask for what I need without blaming others for not willingly giving it to me.
7. I honour everyone’s journey and I keep my opinions and biases to myself.
8. I stay away from judgements and criticisms of other people’s lives.
9. I share my skills willingly with others and strive always to empower any one I encounter.
10. I am aware of my shadow tendencies and patterns and I continuously strive to surface them and bring them into the light.  I recognize that this is a life-long pursuit and I love my efforts – there is no judgment, only feedback.
  1. Elaborate on your ratings and give examples if and where it helps to understand the patterns.
  2. Write a couple of sentences on your thoughts to the following:
    1. Patricia R. Adson quotes Ken Willber: “Ken Wilber differentiates between what informs us and what affect us. He says that if something informs us it is not a projection and that which affects us is a projection.”  Please elaborate on what this means to you drawing on your own experience in life.
    2. Make a mental list of those things that you do not want to talk about or think about. Was this insightful? If so, how and if not, why not?
    3. How much energy is tied up in avoidance of topics?  How much potential is tied up in closing off parts of ourselves?  Please elaborate your thoughts on these questions.
    4. How can you use these insights in your coaching sessions with others?

Main point:

We all have shadows and parts of ourselves that are in the dark – that is what shadows are.  Those parts can take our energy and zap our strength and cause us to trip up and hurt others.  We need to shed light on those parts and decide what we can do about them in order for us to be better guides to others as well as not be triggered by our clients when and if they tap into our shadow side and throw us off guard. By uncovering what is uncomfortable in ourselves we can make better decisions on what to do about those parts of ourselves. If we don’t shed light on our coldness and cautiousness or if we continue to pretend that life is one big bowl of cherries, for example, then those defence mechanisms can creep up and surprise us when we least expect it.  Often people say that wiith so much stored up hidden energy tied up into a defence mechanism against a world inwardly that we may feel is hostile these energies can come out like a raging bull and hurt people which is a misuse of the shadowed tendencies that hadn’t seen the light of day – the opposite side of the ‘smiling one’ for example or the martyred participator in life. What a surprise and frankly speaking, what a relief to free this part of ourselves from its darkness and what a challenge to learn to live with it! 

Patricia Adson goes on to say that balance is a conscious act that requires attention and intention; balance and harmony do not happen when we don’t play our parts. And, she says, we, the fortunate ones have an obligation to be generous with our gifts, to use them and share them with others.  

But always remember: Compassion for yourself is the most powerful healer of them all. – Anonymous

Note: The Competitor/Controller is related to the FIRE/REALIST/SOCIAL-MENTAL sides of ourselves.




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