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Snippets from the Lab "Jess"


Snippets from the Lab are excerpts taken from real Coaching Intake sessions and do not represent complete developmental coaching sessions. Names have been changed.



Jess came into Coaching with the problem of lacking confidence in social settings. For her it played out in large groups of people she did not know well, and it happened across contexts of work and social gatherings. It had been showing up lately as she was attending networking events to grow her new business and would feel resistance to the idea of approaching people and starting up conversations. Jess had known this about herself and had accepted this was how she was. But with her realisation this was going to not serve her very well when trying to grow a business, she decided to give Coaching a go.


We started to explore what stopped her from approaching people that she did not know when in large groups. Jess said it was because she got a feeling about the type of people she was considering approaching which made her feel shy and timid.


So we know this state of "shy and timid" is the result of Jess's processing what is infront of her through her unique map of the world. "What is the thought that comes before the feeling", we asked. "That people who look like they are confident are above me, like they are higher on the hierarchy and therefore I won't fit in with them or be able to hold conversation".


Now we have agreed that it is specifically people who look confident that Jess is avoiding, and that she is projecting onto them what she feels she is missing.


We discussed that seeing the world and others through a hierarchal view was a lens she adopted growing up. "What if there was no hierarchy at all, what would that change for you?", we asked. "I can try that on and imagine removing that lens, but I still feel resistance to the idea of approaching confident people", Jess said.


We chatted about the hierarchy she had constructed in her mind and what it meant. For Jess it meant the higher up the hierarchy the more capable someone is. And for Jess, capable = confident. So when she saw people who appeared confident that meant they must been very capable people and therefore above her and unapproachable.


All of this of course presupposed that Jess was not capable (or at least according to her system meant she is less capable than others) and therefore not a confident person.


As Jess was starting to get objective to the strategy she was running and as her highest frame how it was was subjecting her to the challenges she was having, we started to explore a different way. First Jess needed to accept that the strategy was not her but a coping strategy she learnt, and that in some way it had actually served her along the way.


"What would it mean for your life to make a change to this way of thinking and get a different result in how you show up?", we asked. "It would change the way I see myself and how I engage in the world. I wouldn't be so caught up in whether I am confident or not, and that being the excuse I keep telling myself to not do things", Jess said.


We worked on re-framing her view of people's capability and the need for a hierarchy, to that people are much more than their actions, words, and behaviours.


We spoke about what tools and resources Jess would need to try this new way out in her next networking event that was scheduled for the same week. "I would like to be able to initiate and lead a conversation instead of always letting others lead conversations and I just answer questions and speak when I am spoken to", She said.


Jess explained what stops her from doing that is she defaults to conforming to others and agreeing with what they say to keep the interaction peaceful and not to disrupt, even if on the inside she is not in agreement at all.


We looked to Jess's Identity Compass profile for guidance on what Cognitive Intentions might be playing out here.


Jess runs very high Partner and Observer perspective intentions but her Own is much lower. Meaning her primary perspective in these conversations is that of the other person and of the neutral observer.

We also note that Jess runs a Consensus primary reaction over Polar, meaning her default reaction is to conform and go with the group consensus instead of taking a polar view, even if she really wants to on the inside.

From these Cognitive Intentions (thinking shortcuts) that Jess is preferencing we can see how her experience in conversations is playing out. She allows herself to be lead by others in conversations (Consensus) to avoid any disruption that may be experienced by the other person (Partner) and how it may look (Observer).


Jess explained that she felt taking a polar view even though at times she wanted to would cause disruption and be seen as disagreeing.


Having found Jess's leverage points for change to get cognitive flexibility in the moments that count for her, we can continuing the Coaching program to ensure Jess achieves the change she needs to get what she wants.


Congratulations Jess on identifying that things needed to change for you to reach your potential and thrive!

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