Coaching – a gendered guise?
In today’s corporate milieu, we can summarize the differentiation between the masculine and the feminine as Doing versus Being. This may be one of the more important polarities that do get played out more visibly. In this distinction between the masculine and feminine, I have highlighted the assets embedded in the lost feminine orientation and the limitations of our culture’s dominant masculine approach.
Our resistance to a feminine orientation is tremendous. For instance, we have imbibed from the social and family settings that we should be in control of our lives as it would help us move forward in positive directions. We are usually urged not to give in to depression and despair but to think positively and to be in control.
The above two orientations are not exclusive to each other nor is one loftier than the other; instead, they can very powerfully complement each other. Thus, when we become familiar with and increase our consciousness of the polarities, we can begin to undetectably outgrow any one way of being and possibly find that we can also live from a new location. We become better able to address life’s challenges as different tasks require different orientations to achieve optimal outcomes. In the coaching process, it may therefore be important for the coach to be aware of where the coachee is primarily operating from and what movement may be required for him to experience a sense of wholeness.
When either a man or a woman is straddled with a gender based stereotype, through personal history and socio-cultural conditioning, his or her humanness suffers. Neither the traditional man’s role nor the traditional woman’s role is desirable when one is trying to become a whole person with access to all of one’s potential qualities. It may mean that one has to struggle with the masculine and feminine parts of themselves and with the relationship between these two sides of their psyches. It may also be important to explore tendencies that are subjectively labeled as masculine and feminine and to see if they are either in a friendly or warring relation to each other.