How to reach your objectives. Employee development with classical coaching or kinesiology?
The holidays were great and we are still daydreaming, trying to keep relaxed and calm for as long as possible. But work routine soon takes over.
Until year end we have effectively only 3,5 months to reach the agreed targets. One of them could be personnel development which is usually part of the Manager’s year end targets. How can we achieve the desired changes in the team and/ or for ourselves? Which methods are available? Is coaching the right means? Or shall we try something new this time? Which alternatives are there?
Every year companies spend millions on coaching of employees, based on different motives or objectives: on one hand group coaching to increase motivation, team-building and identification with the company. On the other hand, individual coaching sessions support employees to (hopefully) enable them to resolve stress and conflict situations in a more efficient way. Often, coaching of individuals is also the last measure before companies resolves their contracts.
Sustainable employee development
Let me expose a real example to show alternative methods: Some 3 months ago J. starts to observe on herself a change in behaviour that she experiences as unwanted and disturbing. She details that every time she has to engage with a person that is unknown to her to that point, she cannot look the person in the eyes. Her eyes search the ground, her voice trembles. She transpires and starts to feel an undefined anxiety and sense of shame. She would love to “disappear into the ground”. The bigger the group of ‘strangers’ she faces, the stronger her reaction.
For somebody who works in Sales, Purchase, Marketing or PR, this situation mounts to very high stress level. If J. cannot get a grip on her reaction, her budget targets are in danger. Under stress she does anything but to think of her objectives. The only thing in mind is how to reduce, evade or avoid the current stress situation. Additionally, she pressures herself by thinking that in the mid-term she could lose her job.
J. is a long standing and successful (= valuable) employee. She has the desire to do something to bring the situation under control and to continue to work “as before”. She trusts in her manager and the latter decides to support J. and put the costs for the employee development on his budget and cost-centre.
Behavioural change with coaching
In this example, with a classical coaching approach, one would work with J. to help her define what exactly she wants to change, what she wants to achieve. A detailed analysis is necessary on how she behaves & reacts in any given situation and what thoughts are produced around that situation and in how far these thoughts influence her behaviour. Finally, a target analysis is defined on the desired behavior and a list of process steps is elaborated on how to achieve every target. With the help of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) we would try to de-program the negative emotions that lead to the undesired behavior and reinforce positive emotions with the desired behavior. The coach helps J. to help herself and accompanies her during the process of defining, learning and putting into practice all the defined steps. The aim is to have J. identify and learn new behavioral options so that she has additional alternatives to choose from when the stress situation arises. Finally, J. ‘practices’ the situation in a controlled environment until she feels confident again to face the real situation.
It’s all very rational, structured, understandable and reasonable. With Coaching we use rational analysis and strategies to solve problems or change behaviors which are deemed disturbing, unproductive or eventually irrational.
You carry the solution already within yourself – listen to your subconscious
But, what if you cannot measure the problem on a rational basis? The change in J.’s behavior cannot be explained rationally on first sight. This is because what is really driving J.’s reaction has nothing to do with logical reasoning – it is an emotion that controls her reaction. This emotion lies so deep in the subconscious that you cannot reach it through “reason” (neo-cortex).
However, there is a way to recall information from the subconscious. It takes a little detour to do so: via the body. When the subconscious feels stress, even though very subtle, it produces a momentary and minimal physical change in the body. The method to detect this stress reaction is called Kinesiology.
With the help of specific protocols, the kinesiology-coach can call up the information related to the stress situation. This means that the subconscious of the consultee “leads” the session, not the coach.
In this case, what really triggers J.’s fear when she sees herself exposed to the looks of persons of whom she doesn’t know what to expect, lies in her childhood. At the age of 5 she struggled with a vital conflict: her parents were fighting each other during a marriage crisis and both tried to use her little daughter to play her off against the other. For the child this was an insolvable trauma – J. was completely alone and without support. If she took the support from one parent, inevitably she got the rejection from the other parent. Both parents failed as reference point – for a child that age this represents an existential crisis.
J. experienced then an intense sense of guilt on one hand and a strong rage on the other hand – both emotions coming from her helplessness which she could not express and thus, she could not look her parents in the eyes. These feelings came afloat again some 3 months ago (as described above).
An existential conflict (stress), that cannot be resolved consciously at the time of occurrence, is stored in the subconscious for as long as necessary until it can be solved. If it remains unsolved the subconscious will express it at some point through physical symptoms. In J.’s case, the above mentioned emotions are newly expressed through the initial contact with strangers.
The underlying conflict was not identified through long-lasting psycho-analysis, but within one session during which an experienced kinesiologist applied the corresponding protocols and experience. The conflict could be resolved within a few sessions at the subconscious level of the 5-year old child. Applying elements of Gestalt- and Constellation-therapy, as well as NLP and Acupressure the child was able to “return” his emotions to the parents. This means she could first express her unresolved emotions and then actively distance herself from the conflict. From there, she took the resolved situation with her until her present age.
Today, J. has no more symptoms when she encounters with a stranger because she does this now as an adult, without being conducted emotionally by her childhood trauma. As well, she is not afraid of the situation to come back upon her. She does not only have a deeper understanding of herself now, but she was also able to make peace with her past through the above described method. She feels grateful to her manager for his support and is working highly motivated to achieve her year-end objectives.
Decision-making aid to choose the right method
Classical Coaching, which is a derivative from behavioral psycho-therapy, tries to achieve a rational-cognitive behavioral change via the consciousness. The approach strictly follows up the principle of causality. The basic assumption is that a specific behavior is a result of a learned reaction. Like this, desired behaviors can be learned and undesired behaviors can be un-learned.
Kinesiology aims for the same goal, but the path is different. Kinesiology reaches to the subconscious to resolve the underlying conflicts or resistances at the root. By achieving this, the person is free to choose on how to react to a given situation. As long as the person was driven by a subconscious emotion, she had no choice – the emotion is stronger than her own conscious will.
One method is well-known – as much on how it is practiced, as well as the results it is able to produce. The other method is new and maybe (still) unfamiliar but promises much more sustainable results.
In any case, the budget responsible must weigh up which costs are incurred to invest in the development of an employee on one hand and which of the two methods are more efficient to achieve the set goals. If a manager finally has to let go of an employee, one has to add the ‘social’ costs that this represents. On the other hand, there is the ‘asset’ value that a centered employee represents that feels really supported in his personal development by his manager or company.
So far, the options lied in the number of people that offered coaching. With kinesiology, any manager now has a true option what the method is concerned.
I add this photo that could represent symbolically the situation described above: