My coaching collaborators are helping me recognize that my bias as the coach is towards the pragmatic. My coachee may want to sit with his affective truth for a while and unearth cognitive roots: “I feel…because…” Usually I resist going into that pasture because I aim to keep the focus foward-looking.
Clearly there is a core tension around affect for me in coaching practice. I am not against emotions and affect — they interest me intellectually and coaching is helping me be more aware of them in myself. But I cringe when coaches lead with questions about feelings.
Thinking about this brings me back to Silvan Tomkins, who I read at UBC, and some remarkable passages in Shame and Her Sisters :
For me, talking with emotion and affect is one kind of interpersonal interaction in which I vary from many people.
If one ideal in coaching is mutual freedom of expression (Flahrety) than not only do I have an obligation to let the coachee explore affects and emotion if that is where a person wants to go, but I must invite coachees to intervene when I push too hard to the practical.