Coaching As A Privilege

As a Co-Active Coach, I benefit from being a part of the Co-Active Training Institute’s world-wide community of legendary coaches, leaders, and instructors, many of whom have been putting on webinars, workshops, and conversations to empower coaches across the world to use their skills to help communities in these times. Throughout these conversations, an image keeps creeping up which is that Covid-19 is a magnifying glass both on personal experience and global structures. Today, as we discussed how to help our clients use the pandemic as a place to create from, I couldn’t shy away from the magnifying glass on issues of privilege. As a coach, the bulk of my work involves helping my clients empower themselves to be an active change agent in their lives. We do this by addressing what’s holding them back and by strengthening what is authentic to them so that they can be clear on their mission. We focus on values, on life-purpose, and on building a set of tools from which to work. Equally important is that we also do this by encouraging a shift in perspectives in order to see what else is possible when we move beyond the beliefs that shape our reality. I couldn’t help but wonder: what if your reality is shaped by things that are out of your control and that directly impact your everyday life because of how the world sees you? Like being born a woman or a man, having black or white skin, being gay or straight? The reality is that the world dictates so much of what we experience based on factors that we have no control over. What power then, does my client have in shaping their reality? What power do I have in helping them? What work can we do together to combat the feeling of helplessness that arises from believing that you have no control over how the world will treat you or what opportunities are available to you?

Perhaps my role here as a coach is to provide the space for that client to feel their pain, truly, and deeply. To acknowledge their power in simply choosing to work with a coach because that in itself is a declaration of choice and commitment to a different life. Maybe it’s in celebrating even the littlest wins that they’ve created for themselves in a world giving them so little space, and even punishing them, when they’re their authentic selves. Or perhaps it’s in making room for other coaches, coaches who have shared those experiences, who themselves have lived that pain, to lead the charge. Right now, I’m not sure. Right now, I’m a pendulum swinging between regarding the work I do as a powerful force of change and as a band-aid on a worldwide wound; I’m sitting where most of us sit, straddling a duality as vast as a canyon.

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Justine Mulliez

Certified Professional Co-Active Coach

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