Growing up we have all these nonsensical expectations to be “perfect” which can cripple us for life even though we may become successful individuals.
This client was referred to me by a colleague. He wanted to receive coaching in order to do some “everyday practice” in order to keep and improve his skills. The client had chosen to indefinitely put a pause to a psychotherapeutic relationship and wanted some coaching sessions on the side. We agreed on an initial contract for ten sessions and then extended it for ten more sessions.
Working with this client had its challenges. Sometimes, executive clients want to test the coach in order to know they receive the “best” they can receive and are equally demanding to themselves to be “perfect”. This seems to be a culturally ingrained characteristic. If you are a part of a western type of society, as an individual that wants to succeed, you must always strive to improve and deliver the best that you can (and demand the same from others). Well we should do that, shouldn’t we?
Well, there is a long and a short answer for that. I’ll stick to the short answer and develop the long one in a post at a later date. The short answer is that we all need to take some distance from this culturally ingrained characteristic by deciding what our true goals are, what we want to achieve at a deeper or soul level and differentiate ourselves from other people’s expectations from us. Growing up we have all these nonsensical expectations to be “perfect” which can cripple us for life even though we may become successful individuals.
So we worked on the client’s goals. I maintained professional distance so as to differentiate myself from the other “voices of the past” that appeared to be plaguing the client, who was in great need of being seen for who he was, and not only for what he could do. This professional distance was especially useful when tension in our relationship developed and his criticism was directed at me; I understood this to be part of his inner work and process. As an individual he expressed himself in such a way that indicated he was highly critical of those around him as he was of himself. As a coach striking the balance between providing support for his choices and maintaining professional distance was crucial.
We were able to have a full circle with beginning, middle and end and indeed work on that initial goal of doing some “everyday practice” to improve his skills. The course of the coaching sessions with this client was brought to a harmonious close, which in itself provided a healing experience.