Friday, May 13, 2011

"We Don't Talk About That"

Bill Karlson, a career coach, presented a program at the Tennessee Coaches Alliance meeting today.  As he explained the process he uses in working with clients, he posed an interesting question.  He asked, "In dealing with career change, what do you address first--resume, goals, feelings, or skills? 

Although I will not share my response, my choice was not Bill's.  He believes that it is important to get the client to deal with his or her feelings first.  Feelings can be a stepping stone or a stumbling block.  The person must process feelings--anger, hurt, sadness, shame, or even joy--associated with the present or previous position before considering the next career move.

In the discussion, someone pointed out how difficult it is to get men to discuss their feelings in the workplace (or anywhere else for that matter!).  Karlson acknowledged this and spent some time talking about how to get around this reticence.

This incident caused me to think about feelings in church staff settings.  I am convinced that spiritual and relational issues are at the core of a healthy church staff team but it is difficult, especially in a male-dominated team, to get relational or feeling concerns on the table.  Men will go to great lengths to avoid discussing feelings and have developed elaborate systems to keep this from happening.

Since all of supervisors have been male, I have pretty much bought into this system and have few alternative models at my disposal.  This awareness challenges me to consider processes and exercises to deal with feeling issues in groups as well as becoming more vulnerable about my own feelings.   Not a bad insight.

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