Conscious relationships & personal growth

Our current featured member Grace Gedeon is an experienced and empathetic life coach, complementing her work as a business and executive coach. Here are Grace’s thoughts on conscious relationships and personal growth.

Executive Coach Exchange Grace Gedeon
Grace Gedeon

Grace writes:

“There’s a term I love to use called ‘nominative determinism’ which literally means name-driven outcome. Carl Jung put forward the idea that people are drawn to professions that fit their names. I also believe that the names we use to classify things, can be indicators of the essence of those things that we are naming. For example, what does the word relationship tell us about relationships? If we break that word down into two words: relation – ship, we can devise a metaphor that can be useful in guiding us towards a better understanding of relationships.

Let’s take a closer look at this…

A ship is a type of vehicle or vessel that takes people from one place to another across water.

Could a relation-ship be seen as a vessel, designed to take you and your significant other across the vast waters of your subconscious mind towards a new and wonderful destination of growth and transformation? This journey will likely involve travelling, at times, through storm and at times through magical beauty, depending on how you steer the ship and conquer the elements.

Let’s continue with this metaphor a little further.

What’s The Difference Between A Conscious And Unconscious Relationship?

A conscious relationship is one where the ship’s captain is awake, alert, engaged and capable of observing and navigating the deep unfathomable waters/emotions/subconscious terrains with mastery. There is no denial, avoidance, slacking off or ignorance.

An unconscious relationship by contrast, is like the Titanic – it looks amazing but doesn’t make the distance – it sinks. Why? Well, according to one theory, the sinking of the Titanic was attributed to a phenomenon known as thermal inversion that caused the light to refract in unusual ways. This distorted the size and distance of objects and created a false horizon. The mirage between the false horizon and the real one prevented the lookout from seeing the iceberg until it was only a mile away.

Aren’t human relationships much the same in that, to the extent that you disown or reject parts of yourself, you are basically operating your relationship through a series of mirages. You`ve now got your own version of thermal inversion! You can’t see clearly because your world is one of the projections of your subconscious issues onto those you are in relationship with and your own mirage now consists of mechanisms of avoidance, denial and deflection. Everything appears distorted, and before you know it, you hit an iceberg and your relationship is damaged or destroyed and it goes down.

Ways To Avoid Disaster

  • Play it safe. This would mean never venture out so that you avoid stormy waters or iceberg territory. OR
  • Take stock and ensure you understand how to be awake and alert and keep your relationship conscious.

To stay conscious, you must:

  • Engage in self- reflection to ensure that your childhood issues and past hurts do not become destructive projections on to your partner but instead opportunities for healing and connection with them.
  • Chose partners well and leave soul destroying relationships in the most loving way possible.
  • Look at your relationships the way A Course in Miracles describes them: as assignments – part of a vast plan for your enlightenment, the blueprint by which each individual soul is led to greater awareness and expanded love.

What Are Relationships Here To Teach Us?

Our relationships with others mirror the relationship we have with ourselves. Conflict with others mirrors the conflict we have between the persona we show to the world and our shadow self. So, the people who have the most teach us are often the ones who reflect to us the limits to our own capacity to love, those who consciously or unconsciously challenge that which we fear and are ashamed of within us.

In a conscious relationship, you and your partner learn how to move towards the goal of wholeness by fostering each other’s psycho-spiritual growth. You accept each other’s humanness and support each other’s growth towards wholeness.

In an unconscious relationship, there is no fostering of mutual growth. You and your partner are seeing mirages because you are unaware and resisting or denying the universal will for your mutual soul growth. You are stuck on the level of projection; your learning is limited.

Unconscious relationships often end over the obvious while being completely oblivious to the deeper lesson that the relationship was designed to help you learn. If you haven’t learnt the lesson intended by that relationship assignment, you won’t evolve to a higher vibrational relationship – perhaps you’ll create a different one but it won’t be a higher one.

I hope this helps you understand the importance of staying conscious and conscientious in the pursuit of a deep and profound relationship that expands your heart and consciousness. There is work involved. These relationships, by their very nature, take you on a journey, they are not the destination, but rather the vessel that you can embark with another, to travel to a place of higher consciousness and expanded love, through the way you relate. What is required of you is that you stay true, not to the pursuit of power within the relationship, but rather to a deep desire for your mutual soul growth.”

Contributor:  Grace Gedeon is an international life coach, business coach and executive coach.  You can find more posts from Grace at www.gracegedeon.com and her radio show at News for the Soul.

What to do when you don’t get along with your boss or a team member

Marg Lennon, Executive Coach
Marg Lennon, Executive Coach

Often, although we judge ourselves by our intentions, we judge others by their actions. How can we slow down enough to try and understand the intention behind other people’s actions, particularly when they upset or annoy us?

Jennifer Garvey Berger and Keith Johnson, in their book “Simple Habits for Complex Times”, encourage us to take multiple perspectives and to remember that, whatever others do, they tend to do it because they think it’s the right thing to do. They ask us to remember that, in real life, each of us is the hero in our own story. No matter how challenging or difficult someone else’s behaviour may seem to us, the odds are quite good that they might see their behaviour as perfectly reasonable, even heroic.

If we can accept this view, then it might cause us to ask ourselves about their motivations and the rationale for their behaviour. We might ask, “What might be going on for them that I didn’t know about?” or “How am I making sense of this?” and even, “Could I possibly be wrong?” By constructing a number of potential stories to help widen our perspective, we may find we improve our problem-solving ability and our relationships.

Contributor: Our current featured member, Marg Lennon, is an executive coach who provides coaching, mentoring and leadership development consultancy services to clients across a variety of industries, including Health, Financial Services, Insurance, Pharmaceutical, Mining, Telecommunications, Education, Architecture, Medical Devices and Public Relations. Marg’s measured approach and insight coupled with her innate ability to build rapport readily enable her to help others minimise risks, operate more strategically and gain critical perspectives to make significant positive changes.

Conscious relationships

Most of our posts focus on executive coaching and workplace issues; but sometimes the most pressing concerns are life issues rather than work issues.  Our featured member Grace Gedeon’s focus is on life coaching and she has recently written this insightful article on conscious relationships and personal growth.

Executive Coach Exchange Grace Gedeon
Grace Gedeon

Grace writes:

“There’s a term I love to use called ‘nominative determinism’ which literally means name-driven outcome. Carl Jung put forward the idea that people are drawn to professions that fit their names. I also believe that the names we use to classify things, can be indicators of the essence of those things that we are naming. For example, what does the word relationship tell us about relationships? If we break that word down into two words: relation – ship, we can devise a metaphor that can be useful in guiding us towards a better understanding of relationships.

Let’s take a closer look at this…

A ship is a type of vehicle or vessel that takes people from one place to another across water.

Could a relation-ship, be seen as a vessel, designed to take you and your significant other across the vast waters of your subconscious mind towards a new and wonderful destination of growth and transformation? This journey will likely involve travelling, at times, through storm and at times through magical beauty, depending on how you steer the ship and conquer the elements.

Let’s continue with this metaphor a little further.

What’s The Difference Between A Conscious And Unconscious Relationship?

A conscious relationship is one where the ship’s captain is awake, alert, engaged and capable of observing and navigating the deep unfathomable waters/emotions/subconscious terrains with mastery. There is no denial, avoidance, slacking off or ignorance.

An unconscious relationship by contrast, is like the Titanic – it looks amazing but doesn’t make the distance – it sinks. Why? Well, according to one theory, the sinking of the Titanic was attributed to a phenomenon known as thermal inversion that caused the light to refract in unusual ways. This distorted the size and distance of objects and created a false horizon. The mirage between the false horizon and the real one prevented the lookout from seeing the iceberg until it was only a mile away.

Aren’t human relationships much the same in that, to the extent that you disown or reject parts of yourself, you are basically operating your relationship through a series of mirages. You`ve now got your own version of thermal inversion! You can’t see clearly because your world is one of the projections of your subconscious issues onto those you are in relationship with and your own mirage now consists of mechanisms of avoidance, denial and deflection. Everything appears distorted, and before you know it, you hit an iceberg and your relationship is damaged or destroyed and it goes down.

Ways To Avoid Disaster

  • Play it safe. This would mean never venture out so that you avoid stormy waters or iceberg territory. OR
  • Take stock and ensure you understand how to be awake and alert and keep your relationship conscious.

To stay conscious, you must:

  • Engage in self- reflection to ensure that your childhood issues and past hurts do not become destructive projections on to your partner but instead opportunities for healing and connection with them.
  • Chose partners well and leave soul destroying relationships in the most loving way possible.
  • Look at your relationships the way A Course in Miracles describes them: as assignments – part of a vast plan for your enlightenment, the blueprint by which each individual soul is led to greater awareness and expanded love.

What Are Relationships Here To Teach Us?

Our relationships with others mirror the relationship we have with ourselves. Conflict with others mirrors the conflict we have between the persona we show to the world and our shadow self. So, the people who have the most teach us are often the ones who reflect to us the limits to our own capacity to love, those who consciously or unconsciously challenge that which we fear and are ashamed of within us.

In a conscious relationship, you and your partner learn how to move towards the goal of wholeness by fostering each other’s psycho-spiritual growth. You accept each other’s humanness and support each other’s growth towards wholeness.

In an unconscious relationship, there is no fostering of mutual growth. You and your partner are seeing mirages because you are unaware and resisting or denying the universal will for your mutual soul growth. You are stuck on the level of projection; your learning is limited.

Unconscious relationships often end over the obvious while being completely oblivious to the deeper lesson that the relationship was designed to help you learn. If you haven’t learnt the lesson intended by that relationship assignment, you won’t evolve to a higher vibrational relationship – perhaps you’ll create a different one but it won’t be a higher one.

I hope this helps you understand the importance of staying conscious and conscientious in the pursuit of a deep and profound relationship that expands your heart and consciousness. There is work involved. These relationships, by their very nature, take you on a journey, they are not the destination, but rather the vessel that you can embark with another, to travel to a place of higher consciousness and expanded love, through the way you relate. What is required of you is that you stay true, not to the pursuit of power within the relationship, but rather to a deep desire for your mutual soul growth.”

Contributor:  Grace Gedeon is an international life coach.  You can find more posts from Grace at www.gracegedeon.com and her radio show at News for the Soul.

Respectful listening

Executive Coach Exchange Gustav Vigeland
Gustav Vigeland, The Vigeland Installation, Frogner Park

Following on from our recent posts about meetings, this week we are looking at the concept of respectful listening.

A leader in a difficult meeting said, “If I’ve listened carefully, I heard you say…”. Notice how the leader took responsibility for listening carefully to the speaker.

At a basic level, respectful listening involves maintaining focus and avoiding distractions.  Using the time while others are speaking to check emails or hold side conversations does more than distract the speaker and other listeners – it also defeats the purpose of your own presence in the conversation.

Some people see the time when others are speaking as an opportunity to plan their next comment. This means they are not part of the conversation because they are not truly present.

The result is they don’t actually hear what others have to say. Even if they catch the broad message, they will almost certainly miss:

  • the subtle nuances of what others are saying;
  • their implicit messages; and
  • the emotional content.

All these, of course, give powerful clues to what the speakers really care about, what they are worried about and what they really need to win in a negotiation.

To listen respectfully, you need to attend to what people are saying and what they mean. Try using these five steps before you respond with your own comment:

  1. Focus on the person and what they mean.
  2. Concentrate on what lies behind their comments as they speak.
  3. Consider their meaning before replying.
  4. Pause and take a breath before you respond.
  5. Then summarise what you’ve heard to make sure you’ve really understood them.

Associate Professor Will Felps of the University of NSW Business School has carried out research into what he calls ‘respectful inquiry’, which has a strong component of respectful listening and also flows from it.

‘Respectful inquiry…involves asking questions in an open way then listening attentively to the response. “These communication behaviours combine to signal the degree to which someone is encouraged to continue to share his/her thoughts on a subject during a conversation,”‘ he says.

Felps says there are three barriers to a “healthy level of questioning and listening”:

  • simple egotism, or thinking about issues only from one’s own perspective;
  • an old-school model of leadership, based on the idea that the job of a leader is to direct; and
  • ‘threat rigidity’, or “the idea that when we are under stress we lose our will to explore”, which means that the time when respectful inquiry is most essential is also the time it is least likely to be utilised.

Listening respectfully and making respectful inquiry takes time, commitment and practice. It’s a more challenging way to have a conversation because it requires so much more attention. With practice, though, you will find the results far more rewarding, both at a personal and a professional level.

Mindfulness and executive coaching

Executive Coach Exchange mindfulnessIn this article, Dr David Brendel writes about how executive coaching can help clients to enhance their capacity to manage their emotions more effectively, particularly when they are under stress.

He comments that emotional outbursts “can render a company’s culture toxic, damage its reputation, and impair its productivity and profitability…” as well as “…derailing their career growth, perhaps irreparably.” To counter this, he proposes that coaches work with executives using mindfulness approaches, “which involve development of non-judgmental self-awareness of mental and physical experiences in the moment.”

“People can only think clearly and positively when they are calm and emotionally grounded. Research shows that mindfulness strategies, such as meditation and controlled breathing, can help clients immensely.”

The research he refers to was reported in the Harvard Business Review, which states:  “The research on mindfulness suggests that meditation sharpens skills like attention, memory, and emotional intelligence. … Multiple research studies have shown that meditation has the potential to decrease anxiety, thereby potentially boosting resilience and performance under stress.”

Dr Brendel notes that “Executive coaching and mindfulness coaching can reinforce each other in powerful ways”, and concludes his article by proposing that executives who can regulate their emotions well have higher prospects of success in meeting the demands of a competitive, globalised economy.