For coaches, thinking in terms of polarities and examining which parts are more in the foreground than others, is a useful tool in establishing a diagnosis.
When one part is more developed than the other, the cause can often be found in our childhood; a certain type of behavior has been applauded and rewarded, to the detriment of other types of behavior. Consequently, we develop the behavior that was rewarded, and we apply it in our lives with success. In this way we ‘survive’ difficult situations and protect ourselves and our vulnerability. Sometimes, we base the choice for our professional lives on it. The disadvantage is that the opposite of the developed behavior hardly comes into the picture.
By becoming aware of this, we create more opportunities for choice, and energy is released; we develop less allergies and therefore encounter less conflicts in life.
Which are the questions we should ask?
- Which side is developed, and is it possible for the person concerned to become aware of it, experience it?
- Can we see the underlying vulnerability that is being protected by the developed side, and accept it?
- Can we put the less developed side in the picture?
- Can we subsequently take care of our vulnerability and choose out of awareness between both sides of a polarity, instead of being controlled by an unconscious but predominating pattern?
This type of ‘personal coaching’ is aimed at the development of the personality, at the balance within a person, at his motives to do something or to refrain from doing it, and at improving his vitality. It is a suitable form of coaching for people who dare look at themselves and do not find this threatening. We have discovered that there is no connection with the level of education of the persons concerned. We always start with someone’s strongly developed parts. It provides a feeling of security, and makes it easier to look at less developed parts later on. This form of coaching is by itself not suited to learning new skills, but the persons concerned do appear to start acting differently because of a new awareness. It was already present in the person, but can now find its way out, as it were.
In our experience, people typically need two to five sessions, each session taking between one and two hours.
This method of working with people makes specific demands on the coaching. Because a facilitator is required to give space to each voice in the other person, we, as facilitators, must be aware of the fact that similar parts in ourselves will be touched upon during a session. Sometimes we embrace those parts and recognize them, but at other times they are our own ‘disowned’ selves. We must be very aware of this, otherwise transference will take place. Working with Voice Dialogue requires additional training, apart from professional experience as a trainer or coach.