Internal struggles are tough because of the push and pull between intellectual, emotional, moral, and ethical considerations. Inside those are financial, relational, and even physical elements. They aren’t easy, that’s way we call them “struggles”, but dealing with them effectively, and sooner than later, usually saves us from unnecessary drama and negative consequences.
I’m suffering with an internal struggle today, and I invite you to walk through it with me. Maybe analyzing mine will help you develop a process for solving your own…
My internal struggle is work related. A fairly long-term coaching client isn’t being honest with me. I’ve known it for a little while, but I keep seeing glimpses of authenticity, which gives me reason to keep trying. This client is smart and articulate, even charming at times. I am befuddled by the energy he pours into trying to get what he wants through manipulation. I feel certain pouring the same level of energy into developing authentic working relationships, implementing strategies, and following through on commitments, would turn this client into a well-respected leader and colleague, as well as a huge success.
My internal struggle is this: Do I keep working with this client, or do I cut him loose?
These are some of the issues I am considering as I work through my struggle:
- I know this client doesn’t really want to develop new skills, try new approaches, or be helped, but he is a great challenge, and I love a challenge.
- I know leadership coaching is part of his IDP. He is simply checking off a box, but Sr. Leadership wants me to work with him through this reporting period.
- I feel insulted by his attempts to manipulate me, and my personal feelings are making it difficult to work with him objectively.
- If there is a chance I can encourage more productive and positive behaviors, I want to.
- It is important my services provide a substantial return on investment for clients. I can’t deliver an adequate ROI under the circumstances.
- Again, Sr. Leadership wants me to work with him through this review period, and I have a contract to do so.
- Authenticity is a core value of mine, and I believe my efforts are in vain. Every session feels like a game of pretend, which is clearly not authentic.
- Integrity is necessary if there is any chance for improvement, and I know he is not being honest with me. If I continue to listen and attempt to coach the dishonesty, at what point do I, too, become dishonest?
When clients are working through an internal struggle, I suggest they write down things to consider (like I did above) and then determine alternative decisions, with corresponding pros and cons. Considering the above statements, I see I have two choices:
- Continue to work with this client, which will require new agreements (with regard to expectations) between me, him, and Sr. Leadership.
- End the contract by explaining to Sr. Leadership, and him, I don’t believe further sessions will be beneficial.
I’ll spare you my pros & cons and leave you wondering which decision I chose, as I close with this:
Moving through an internal struggle can be difficult. However, peace is often found through methodology. If you are facing an internal struggle, I encourage you to seek to understand the elements creating the struggle (intellectual, emotional, ethical, and moral), develop alternative choices and identify the pros and cons of each, and make a decision followed by swift correlating action.
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