I happened to hear on a radio show this quote – ‘Love art in yourself, and not yourself in art’ by Konstantin Stanislavski who is a prominent theatre practitioner. In particular, he is widely recognized by his theories on actor training and preparation. Though this quote is more for the actors in the theatre business, I felt it super relevant for coaches and facilitators. Specifically, the quote is a great reminder to us.
One of the biggest challenges (probably THE biggest) in the business of coaching and facilitation is the practitioner himself / herself. (Of course, equally, it is the biggest asset as well) It is a challenge often because we often unconsciously focus on ourselves rather than the work, especially when things does not go well. For example, in coaching, when the work actually needs us to keep silence to provoke thinking, we keep on talking in order to ‘appear’ helpful. Another example in facilitation / group coaching, when the work actually needs to allow productive conflict, we say something to pre-maturely harmonize the exchange.
Often, we take care of our own psychological need rather than doing the work.
I also recall an exchange with my fellow coaches in a program. This was basically a condensed action learning program. We were pondering when we should intervene as the coaches. I said probably we should only intervene if we have YES to the following two questions:
- Are the participants STRUCK enough to have emotional attachment to the experience?
- Am I sure it is not my own anxiety that drives me to intervene?
‘Love art in yourself, and not yourself in art’ (or in Chinese愛你心中的藝術，而非藝術中的你)