Our Chairperson Kim Morgan and Creative Director Adam Goodman-Smith presented a session at World of Learning in London, based on my book The Coach’s Casebook: Mastering The 12 Traits That Trap Us.
The book covers 12 traits, which can be overdone, underdone, or in balance. It looks at the effect which habitually overdone or underdone traits can have on our performance, stress levels and happiness.
Delegates in the session were each given a Trait Card, indicating that they had been trapped by a particular trait. Traits include perfectionism, impostor syndrome, people-pleasing, going to excess, ostrich syndrome, fierce independence, cynicism, and procrastination.
Everyone was invited to mingle in the room introducing themselves in an exaggerated representation of the trait which was on their card.
The game is a way of presenting the liberating idea that we may already have a greater range of behaviours available to us than we typically use.
According to fashion experts, we wear 20 per cent of the clothes in our wardrobe 80 per cent of the time. Maybe the same is true of our behaviours?
Kim believes that we can get used to operating in a narrow behavioural bandwidth, often until something happens which forces us to access behaviours we don’t typically use. For example, Kim believes she saw her overdone people-pleasing tendency disappear in an instant when a family member was in hospital and not getting the treatment they needed. She did know how to be assertive, and she did not always feel the need to appease others.
With a card in our hand telling us to behave in a certain way, we can do it. Also, exaggerating or parodying a behaviour you already overdo can be an eye-opener and make you realise that the parody is not that far from reality.
Coaching to enable change is rich and varied work. Coaches use a range of techniques and approaches to uncover and understand the many factors which either enable or obstruct the changes their clients want to make.
These may include looking at early life conditioning, long-held belief systems and/or psychological and social obstacles to change.
Inviting clients to try out different behaviours in the safety of the coaching room can be a playful approach to enabling change.