Which direction is right for me?
Which path should I follow now?
I imagine our life as a journey. At decision points, at crossroads, it gets exciting! They are points at which we have to decide – decide on one of the alternatives visible to us.
For one only!
Some of these decision-making processes also occur in coaches‘ counselling rooms.
The basis of the decisions made at the crossroads are needs, external influences, world views and thus also value systems. Yet, in coaching, it is taken for granted that only the coachee’s value systems come into play.
Today I would like to discuss whether this is true without any restrictions.
The incompatibility of our value systems became problematic for me in some family and couple coaching sessions involving physical violence. I remember most clearly a man who told me with conviction in the family session that he had beaten his granddaughter with a belt because she absolutely did not want to learn. Other examples were less blatant but always involved violence.
As clear as it was in these cases that I was taking a one-sided position and thus in conflict with the value system of one of the participants, I find the following situation more worthy of discussion.
In supervision for a coaching colleague, I see that he is reinforcing his client’s tendency, a department head, to assert himself against the dissenting opinion of a co-worker forcefully.
For myself, an intervention in exploring the difference of opinion and in the direction of persuasion is closer, as I find it more humanly desirable and economically viable. However, there is an apparent conflict of values between the clients‘ value system and mine. So I have to resolve the dispute within myself between what I think is right and my mandate to support my colleague in implementing his ideas.
In such cases, I increasingly decide to expose and discuss the conflict of values. In doing so, I try to convince my client of the correctness of my orientation and, as far as possible, to support my view with facts. I did this successfully in the case of the belt. If this is not successful, I end the counselling relationship.