Here is yet another anecdote from my Coaching archives. This one is on the impact of ‘feeling hurt’.
I was coaching Bala (name changed), a senior IT professional.
Bala confided in me that when he receives tough feedback from his Manager, he retreats into a shell, feeling hurt. Once within the shell, he creates and recreates scenarios that pull him into a downward spiral making him feel very weak and powerless…and further hurt.
By the way, the Manager was also not known to be empathetic or sensitive. In criticizing, he often went ballistic and public.
As we went over the different scenarios, I wanted to explore if Bala would like to offer feedback to his Manager on the impact of his actions on Bala. In the call, Bala looked at me in shock & disbelief.
I could understand. At the stage at which he found himself now, he just could not imagine such a possibility.
I thought, maybe I could work with Bala in 2 phases.
Phase 1 would be for Bala to steel himself, to gradually develop what I often refer to as a Center of Gravity. We could look at Phase 2 – communicating to the Manager of his suboptimal approach of delivering feedback – later.
Center of Gravity
A Center of Gravity comes from the intrinsic value that we bring into this world.
I have always believed that each one of us is special and unique. A healthy view of one’s value in this world is extremely important. Apart from the other obvious benefits, such a view puts any ‘tough feedback’ in perspective – not allowing the impact of such feedback to shatter us. After all, with all due respect, feedback is just another point of view. Even if we do crack under pressure at that time, our Center of Gravity builds us back to become still stronger and better.
The concept of Center of Gravity is not limited to our work-life alone. It applies to life. Further, the sooner we locate our Center of Gravity, the better.
It is like the Japanese art of Kintsugi where a broken piece of pottery is repaired with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum making the repaired product more valuable than the original.
In a Kintsugi sense, even if we crack, using the feedback, we build ourselves back making ourselves more valuable than before.
It took me a couple of calls to help Bala appreciate his intrinsic value. I could tell that the Manager’s feedback had taken a toll on him. I worked with him showing him the ‘mirror’, offering my perspectives, and connecting the dots of his value in this world. I could see that he had begun appreciating himself – a key to developing a Center of Gravity.
A month later I received a Whatsapp message from him.
Impact of coaching
Another round of ballistic feedback had happened. But things were different this time.
In Bala’s words, ‘I knew that his feedback was just another point of view. My Center of Gravity held me in place as I considered only the essence of what he was trying to convey to me. For the first time, I did not go into a shell. Thank you!’
I was smiling. I was imagining the lines of gold on this particular piece of pottery.
It was obvious that Bala was now ready for Phase 2 of the exercise.
What about you? Do you wish to bring up any issues or challenges of your career or life? Reach out to me at [email protected]. Let’s create your Kintsugi!