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Coaching

Beware the victim…and the rescuing hero

Beware the victim…and the rescuing hero

by Moyra Mackie on July 10, 2016

What happens when you experience conflict at home or at work?

If you’re directly involved, do you feel helpless and put upon; pretty certain that there’s nothing you can do?  Or do you feel angry; blaming the other side for everything that has happened?

Perhaps you’re slightly outside the direct conflict – a concerned friend, family member or manager.  Do you jump at the chance to help solve the problem?  This might mean taking sides or taking responsibility for coming up with a solution that seems right to you.

If any of these sound familiar, welcome to the Drama Triangle

Conflict is something that very few of us feel comfortable with.  Our emotions – whether we acknowledge them or not – are heightened. Dr Stephen Karpman,  a psychologist as well as an amateur actor, observed in his research that people in emotionally charged situations often feel they have only three positions open to them.

Karpman called the framework that emerged from his research the Drama Triangle, when it might well also be called the Conflict Triangle.

We choose an approach that feels instinctive but is learnt

Karpman’s research showed that when we feel under pressure we step into the triangle, rather as an actor steps onto the stage.  We play a role.

We may be entirely unaware it’s a role that we are choosing, because it’s a role that we feel strongly attached to.  It’s hard to recognised the choice we have because we’ve likely been responding to challenging situations in similar ways since we were very young.

The Victim

Victims believe they are not in charge of the speed or direction of their own choices.  They feel oppressed, helpless, hopeless, powerless and ashamed.  They seem unable to make decisions, solve problems or achieve insight. They are stuck.

Significantly, if Victims are not being persecuted, they will seek out a Persecutor and a  Rescuer who can save the day. This serves to preserve the Victims’ negative feelings and give them some kind of unconscious reward for staying stuck. read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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What is coaching?

What is coaching?

by Moyra Mackie on June 4, 2016

Coaching can be a powerful catalyst for personal and professional growth.  The challenge is that there are so many people calling themselves coaches, and probably as many definitions of coaching as there are coaches.

What is the purpose of coaching?

Coaching encourages deep thinking and strengthens self-awareness and insight.  It’s a form of courageous, high quality conversation.

So what is coaching?

As an Executive Coach, who has worked with individuals and teams for over eighteen years, here is my definition. read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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How do we get to trust?

How do we get to trust?

by Moyra Mackie on April 23, 2016

“I don’t trust you”, she said.

A colleague and I were working with a group to understand more about their responses to an employee engagement survey.  We’d been hired by the management team because we had coached them and they, well yes, trusted us.

So how would you respond?

When it comes to trust words don’t work

I could recite the code of ethics I sign up to as an Accredited Coach.  Or I could point out that we wouldn’t last very long in this business if we couldn’t keep what we were told confidential.

I begin with the truth.

“Thank you.  That must have taken  a bit of courage to say that to us and in front of the group”

Don’t get me wrong, as she had said those words, I feel a sharp pain in my stomach, as if she’s physically punched me.  I’m aware my chest is tight and my palms are sweaty.

This person, who I will call Verity, had struck at the heart of who I believed myself to be.  As a coach, building and maintaining trust are essential for my work.

Yet feedback is always a gift.

What gets left unsaid is more toxic than what is brought into the open. Raising tough issues, especially about negative feelings, takes courage.

As I say those words of thanks I can feel my stress reducing.  I now process the thought that something about how we are as coaches and how the group is, has allowed Verity to take a risk and speak out.

Trust requires personal risk

read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Beth had signed up for coaching because she was leading a transformation project fraught with politics and big egos.  Despite her experience and the faith that had been placed in her, she was concerned that she would “drop some of these moving pieces.”

Like a lot of my clients she was afraid she might fail

Today that fear seemed close to the surface. When I asked her what she would like to think through in our session, she seemed startled.

“Well,” she said. “I guess I just want to talk it out loud…if that doesn’t seem too self-indulgent?”

The value of just talking to someone who is really listening without judgement is often a way clients begin to make sense of their jumble of thoughts and feelings.

But clients also bring their inner critics with them

I could hear her inner critic loud and clear.

“Self-indulgent?”

Beth told me that she felt that she should just get on with it.  She was a master of planning; used to this stage…..etc….etc.  And then she was off into the detail of the project.

She really did need to talk this one through.

And it was helpful for me to listen less to the deep content of what she was saying and more to the emotions that lay beneath the words. A pattern began to emerge:

“If I don’t….”

read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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The perils of perfectionism and other life stealers

The perils of perfectionism and other life stealers

by Moyra Mackie on February 4, 2016

My name is Moyra Mackie and I’m a recovering perfectionist.

Even though I know that perfect is not possible, I hear the siren call of perfectionism whenever I’m under pressure.  This might be a tight deadline when I’m tempted to research one more fact or fine tune (again) the design of a slide deck or report.  Or it might be when I’m facing a stressful situation like negotiating a contract, presenting to a large audience or going to a networking event.

The upside of attempting to be perfect is that I will prepare.  Really, really well.  The downside is that I will over-work or become paralysed by doubt and fear or hyper critical of myself and others.

Perfectionism is rightly described as a life-stealer

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”
Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

We all have Drivers (and potential life-stealers) 

read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Calling all managers: how not to suck at coaching

Calling all managers: how not to suck at coaching

by Moyra Mackie on August 22, 2014

How many times in a week do you get asked for advice?

If you’re half-way good at your job, I’m going to guess that the answer is “frequently”.  If you’re quick to offer your advice I’m going to be blunt:  you’re not helping.

I’m going to argue that most people who ask for advice are really asking for clarity and for the confidence to make a decision.

And by clarity, I don’t mean clarity about knowing what you think or what you think should happen.  I mean clarity in the asker’s own mind.

Advice doesn’t give clarity or the confidence to act

These things are not in our power to bestow on others – they come from within.  Clarity and confidence come when new insights emerge, motivating the asker to act from their own conviction.
read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Coaches are not cheerleaders

Coaches are not cheerleaders

by Moyra Mackie on August 9, 2014

Disappointment is never a great emotion to experience.

A week or so ago I signed up to a webinar by a rather famous author and “life coach”.  More about those inverted commas later.

For $39 I was promised that I would find out what might be holding me back in my goal setting and career direction. O,r as she put it, “how to steer my career with purpose and passion”.

Whilst the realist in me knew that sitting listening to a motivational talk was highly unlikely to help me steer anything, the coach in me was curious about her promise that she would coach people on that call.

The chance to experience another coach – especially such a high-profile one – working with someone’s hopes, fears and doubts was tantalizing.

What kind of questions would she ask, how would she use silence and reflection, and what kind of presence would she bring to the encounter?

Most importantly, how would this coach help people to gain new insights to their familiar problems?

read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Coaching encourages courageous conversations

Coaching encourages courageous conversations

by Moyra Mackie on May 10, 2014

What kind of coach do you aspire to be?

What kind of coach are you?

How can you close the gap between the ideal and the reality?

 

So began an exercise on the last day of my second workshop in year 2 of my Masters in Coaching program.

The tutors took advantage of a suddenly sunny break in the weather and suggested we worked in pairs whilst we walked around the grounds at Ashridge.

This is what I felt – and only half articulated – as my answer to those questions.

Companies are human

For me, organisations are not sets of reporting lines or processes or hierarchies, but groups of people who need to talk to each other.

The quality of those conversations will dictate how motivated, innovative, productive and profitable that organisation is.

“Organisations are interpersonal places and so necessarily arouse those more complex emotional constellations that shadow all interpersonal relations: love and hate, envy and gratitude, shame and guilt, contempt and pride…the emotional choreography each of us weaves, consciously or unconsciously” – David Armstrong, Emotions in Organisations

Trust is the key

I believe the secret to efficient organisations lies in reducing FEAR and increasing TRUST;  in improved leadership and open, constructive conversations.
read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Why we all (still) need a dream

Why we all (still) need a dream

by Moyra Mackie on March 15, 2014

Do you have a dream?

I’ve come to believe that we all need to have a dream if we are to make the right choices for ourselves and those we care about.  This is what life coach and writer Martha Beck calls Finding Your Own North Star.

Here’s why I think we all need a dream before we can succeed.

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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What got you here, won’t get you there

What got you here, won’t get you there

by Moyra Mackie on February 22, 2014

“Coaching and counselling are really for losers”, said a forthright friend of mine the other day.

“I know it’s what you do but I don’t believe in this coaching stuff.  If people were just a bit more resilient… I guess if you’re a bit of a loser it might help, but otherwise I don’t believe in it.”

And with friends like that you might think…

But I really didn’t take offence.  I’ve been hearing echoes of that statement for a long time.

The myth that coaching fixes problems

This idea is still widespread.  How else do we explain that two thirds of CEOs understand the value of coaching, yet 90% of them don’t have a coach?

It’s not lack of budget or sign-off power that is holding them back.  It’s the idea that they might have a problem that needs to be fixed, or some trait that needs to changed.
read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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