“The Inner Team” is a powerful tool that enhances the coaching process. Its purpose is to disentangle the babble of inner voices that affects and constraints clear, effective and positive communication in our daily and professional life. It also helps to develop awareness of our emotional and mental structures that influence our behavior and attitude.
2. What is “The Inner Team”?
The model of “The Inner Team” refers to the babble of voices that we hear in our mind, some more frequently and persistently than others. Our mind does not necessarily speak to us in just one clear and congruent voice. Usually, there is a whole chorus of voices, in all kinds of pitches, melodies and sounds. Some voices are female, others are male, some are children, some adults’ voices, some are shy and soft, other voices are self confident and harsh.
These inner voices come from deep inside us, from our subconscious, our mind or our soul. They speak inside of us, like messengers delivering information from our profound inside to our consciousness. Regardless of our will power, they have their own energy and strive. They speak up when our mind is preoccupied with solving problems, making decisions or considering choices. Usually, these voices create an inner dialogue, discussing, debating, analyzing, or fighting the issue of consideration.
A renowned German communication scientist and coach Friedemann Schulz von Thun created the method of “The Inner Team”. Since he introduced the tool to public in his book “Miteinander Reden: 3” in 1998 and in his lectures, it has claimed a lot of success and praise. Schulz von Thun developed the method of untangling the babble of inner voices and creating the dialog with “The Inner Team” in order
to solve internal and external conflicts and to clarify difficult decisions.1
According to Schulz von Thun, this
inner plurality 2
can lead on one side from torturous see-sawing to being totally paralyzed, on the other side manifests the broad spectrum and complexity of our personality,
a fascinating inner group dynamic.3
Furthermore, Schulz von Thun points to the resemblance of this inner dialog with a group and team dialog; hence,
the metaphor of ‘The Inner Team’.4
A team of people consists of a plurality of personalities, of gender, styles, emotions, challenges etc. just like the team of our inner voices.
3. The Team Conference
In order to understand the dynamic of “The Inner Team” and to apply it in coaching, Schulz von Thun developed the idea of the team conference. The purpose of the team conference is to provide an inner forum where every voice can speak up and where a dialog can take place. The team conference is
the conscious meeting and debate of all inner members, who speak up to the raised question….in order to find an answer that is based on an inner agreement…
This inner agreement of all members is more adequate and authentic than the decision of a single member or a group of members.5
The right moment for launching a team conference is when we realize that we are stuck in a certain situation, we are blocked to make a decision or we find ourselves irritated, helpless and confused in regard to a situation or problem. The team conference is being set up at the moment, when we start listening to our inner voices and become aware of the process within ourselves.
The model of “The Inner Team” requires deep listening to the inner voices. At first, we might not recognize an individual voice; we just perceive “thoughts, emotions and impressions”6. The information we receive is diffuse and blurry. As we listen more accurately, we differentiate various voices, a plurality of voices.
Now begins the process of identifying these voices. Since every voice articulates a particular message, they are recognizable. Once they are identified, every single one of them receives a name. Each voice gets a unique and specific name. The naming helps to realize where a message is coming from and to comprehend its origin and source.