What’s in the gorge?


My coaching supervisor and I were grappling with something I had raised relating to one of my coaching clients.

It shouldn’t really have been a surprise. We know, don’t we, that in the most impactful coaching sessions, the ones where we really get into that state of ‘flow’, that what is happening over here for the coach is inextricably linked to what is happening over there for the player. And vice versa.

It’s why it is crucial for the coach to be mindful about why is going on for him/her before they enter the coaching session. Interference for the coach will lead to interference for the player. For example it’s why I am always early for sessions, why I walk around the block a few times, allow space between a coaching session and any other meeting beforehand and afterwards. If I am not at my best then the coaching session will not be my best.

Usually the “over there/over here” approach is associated with following interest. But also it can be noticing physical or emotional sensations. If I am feeling this what does this tell me? Where do we go now?


Back to the story…..I was feeling an unusual sense of nervousness about the sessions with this client. Not overpowering but certainly evident. But why? Yes they are senior but that’s bread & butter for me as an executive coach. No more senior than many people I have coached.

What my supervisor suggested, and this is the value of objective coaching supervision, was that the nervousness I was noticing in myself was reflecting unexpressed nervousness within the player. And this took me to a different place in how to move forward with the sessions.

For the player was grappling with a major career change – and we were just approaching the point where we would be really exploring Inner Game elements. And their interference can be well summed up with this analogy: in career terms they were effectively about to cross a narrow bridge over a steep, deep gorge.


And the nervousness at play was linked to what was in the gorge. What was at play? Fear of a possible drop, had we built the bridge in a sufficiently sturdy way, would they make it across, was the destination worth the risk, which monsters might be lurking, would there be deep regret on the other side and so on?

Fairly profound stuff.

So ask yourself? Are you being honest with yourself with that current career or business challenge? For until you recognise that the gorge exists, and confront your emotional response to whatever lies within it, you will not be working properly on your interference. You will not be at your best. You will not be realising your potential.


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