This article presents a methodology from systemic individual coaching, the so-called “internal team”. The aim is to make the coachee aware of his or her different inner parts and develop a resource and strength from the often existing heterogeneity of this team.
To illustrate the principle, I would like to present a coaching process as an example. This was carried out as an accompanying measure of a leadership development project. The client wanted to reflect on a decision with the coach.
His concern was to “tap” again the decision he had already made to get a better feeling. During the clarification of goals and assignments (one of the essential elements in individual coaching), the client expressed inner indecision and different “inner voices” about his decision.
When the coach asked who the voices belonged to, the following three players of the internal team were identified:
The host finally wants to move on. For him, everything is already taken far too long. He wants to take the next step and puts speed before quality.
The perfectionist doubter
The doubter always speaks up when a decision with far-reaching effects is about to be made. She doubts that all aspects of the decision have already been considered and analysed. Her motto: “Better think again”.
The optimistic pragmatist
The pragmatist does not believe in a lengthy analysis but trusts that things will turn out well. He focuses on the action and its effects. He relies on his gut feeling.
When asked who from this team was in charge, the client precisely replied the problem. Sometimes the doubter gets the upper hand, sometimes the pragmatist. And the host creates a constant inner turmoil because nothing is going on. When the coach asked what the three of them needed to agree, the client said: “a coach”J. The coachee gladly accepted the invitation to slip into this role and coach his “inner team”.
In the next phase, the client succeeded in identifying the needs and goals of the individual players through a dialogue with his inner team:
- The doubter’s primary concern was to protect the client. It was essential to her to be heard. In particular, she felt threatened and ignored by the host.
- It was then exciting when the host revealed that his goal was also to protect the client.
The identification of this common goal was finally the breakthrough in the coaching process. The coachee suddenly became aware that precisely the combination of doubter and host, which he had previously found rather harmful and “annoying”, had often been one of his greatest strengths in the past.
Together with the pragmatist, who contributed the necessary portion of (self-)confidence, the client ultimately developed a good feeling for the decision, which had been lacking until then.