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My awkward relationship with Reflection

Reflection has always been with me in both my personal and professional life, they have been there in the background, watching over me, providing gentle background guidance, though sometimes unwanted and not always useful. Although I have to say the ‘not so useful’ part is when I have only been willing to half listen to the lessons they wanted to teach. Reflection was the type of friend who wanted me to engage and could only hold my attention long enough to get me to glance through a single lens. At that time, I would go for what was quick and easy, the old ‘What Went Well? Even Better If…’ to reduce the amount of time I had to spend with Reflection and remain in the safe realms of the cognitive world. This approach worked, to avoid the full experience, get them off my back as quick as possible and go to spend time with theory, practice, and other members of the in crowd.


I am honest about my relationship with Reflection, honest with regret. I wish I had spent more time in my early professional life getting to know them better, to spend dedicated time and listen to the many voices they were able to present. Even in my early days as a coach, my time with Reflection was patchy and I only listened to the single story they were giving; I still didn’t spend enough time with them exploring other stories. Maybe, I was afraid, afraid they might tell me a story that I didn’t want to hear, tell me something that shook the fabric of my practice and forced me to double down and learn more. I should have known better; Reflection never forces anything. They offer subtle invitations to hear, see and experience more.


Maybe, I was afraid, afraid they might tell me a story that I didn’t want to hear, tell me something that shook the fabric of my practice and forced me to double down and learn more.

In the early days Reflection bored me, I struggled to connect with them in a way that was meaningful. Writing down our conversations in a journal just left me feeling static. Over time I have found novel ways of documenting our conversations and learning. Art in the form of poetry, movement, music, dance, mark making have become regular features in my time spent with Reflection and our time is better for it. Reflection will ask ‘if the client relationship was a dance what dance would it be?’ ‘If your role in the session were a piece of art, who is the artist what is the picture?’. Reflection has taught me to explore the experience with my all my senses. They would invite you to ask yourself, what did your last coaching conversation smell like? If it were a bodily expression, what would it look like? What is Reflection trying to teach you at this point?


It is in this moment of rebellion against what we believe to be true that Reflection supports the work, knowing equilibrium will appear.


I now, spend dedicated time with Reflection, they are one of my greatest friends. I spend time with them every day, I take longer breaks with them every month and even take their learning to supervision. They don’t tell me what I want to hear, they do present challenge and the light and shade of life and coaching. They invite me to look through a range of mirrors, knowing that the truth is out of reach, but learning is in every view. Each new lens is more beautiful than the one before, beautiful in its shade and light, beautiful in its struggle and resolve, beautiful in its confinement and liberation. Knowing and trusting the process, the process of what it means when Reflection presents disequilibrium, turning our map of the world upside down; knowing the wrestle is about to begin. It is in this moment of rebellion against what we believe to be true that Reflection supports the work, knowing equilibrium will appear. Here suspended in this moment we have to let patience prevail, this can take some time and a whole boat load of grappling.


Over the years I recognise that Reflection is a good friend to others too, and some describe them as a set of mirrors on a car, with a rear view, left wing and right wing. For me, they are far more beautiful, for me they are a glitter ball. Reflection is three dimensional, multifaceted, intriguing, with shade, light and still moments, but the music starts, the ball spins and when the light hits, they illuminate the room and make you want to dance your ass off.



To my beautiful partners of Reflection: The light to my shade, my children, grandchildren, those close, to my professional buddies Beth McManus, Carole Whyley and Auriel Majumdar

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