Coaching for pragmatism with emotions?

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.