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CHAPTER FOUR

Halina Brunning Karnac Books ePub

Frames for thinking within the role of the executive coach

The purpose of this chapter is to affirm the importance and to situate unconscious and infinite thinking in the context of executive coaching.

In her clear exposition of executive coaching, Halina Brunning shows the multi-factorial holistic process whereby individual clients identify the resources to pursue their goals and enhance their potential for attaining them. The areas of counselling, qualification, professional development, business context, organizational dynamics, psychotherapy, and personal development are identified and elaborated in her seminal article (Brunning, 2001). These domains are systemically inter-related and, while they are not addressed directly, like a checklist, they form the background to the actual conversational field that the coach and client evoke in the course of the coaching sessions. These domains constitute the basis for the explicate conversation that evolves between client and coach. At the same time, there will be an implicate—below the surface of consciousness—conversation that, one hopes, will also be attended to and addressed. Indeed, one could go as far as to say this exploration must be addressed as well if the coaching process is to have a lasting effect on the inner conceptions of the client.

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SCENE NINE. Images of leadership

Halina Brunning Karnac Books ePub

Susan Long

Leadership is one of the most widely explored roles in social science. The role holds a certain fascination, perhaps because it is often sought but not always achieved; but most likely because leadership and authority draw on both aggressive and sexual phantasy; on power and passion. The idea of a leader evokes a mixture of emotions and attitudes. On the one hand is the presence of authority, power, heroism, and celebrity: the image of a commanding, attractive, perhaps even fierce god-like figure. On the other hand are ideas of service, loyalty to a task or cause, and care of followers: the image of the dependable, good shepherd or loving parent. Further, there is the image of the lonely philosopher leader who has a vision for the future not yet fully comprehended by others.

This is not the place for a review of leadership theories taken from social science. Theoretical reviews abound as do reviews of the often made arguments about whether leaders are born or made; or whether leadership is the result of personality traits or the environmental context; or whether indeed leadership is situational, dependent on the right mix of person, time, and task. In this vein, it seems that the most sophisticated current theorizing sees leadership distributed throughout a community or organization: leadership exercised at all levels and in many different ways in many organizational systems, including task, socio-emotional, political, economic, management, technical, and socio-technical. This line of thinking about leadership is primarily in terms of leadership as a function, whether or not one is constitutionally predisposed or whether one learns to lead on the job or in a management education programme. It is one of many roles in a group, taken up by many people. I would add that leadership occurs between roles; between leaders and followers and exists in the relation and the associated relationship between the role holders.

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SCENE ONE. A beam of darkness—understanding the terrorist mind

Halina Brunning Karnac Books ePub

H. Shmuel Erlich

Nowadays not even a suicide kills himself in desperation. Before taking the step he deliberates so long and so carefully that he literally chokes with thought. It is even questionable whether he ought to be called a suicide, since it is really thought which takes his life. He does not die with deliberation but from deliberation.

—Søren Kierkegaard (1846)

Terrorist violence has increasingly become part and parcel of our everyday life. Different world areas feature daily in the news and have become associated in our mind with terrorism—to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East—but the phenomenon is undoubtedly much more widespread and no one anywhere is immune to it. Recent terrorist attacks in India and Indonesia followed on the heels of those in the West: Great Britain had its share with Sinn Féin in Ireland and London, Germany coped with the Baader-Meinhof gang, Italy with the Red Brigades, Spain with ETA, and the United States was catapulted to the top of this list by the attack on the World Trade Center twin towers, which came only a few years after the Oklahoma City bombing. World-wide security precautions, personal searches, and careful baggage scrutiny are constant reminders of the prevalence of terror and the fear it inspires. In many ways, terrorism has succeeded in changing—perhaps forever—our feeling of personal and social security and our accustomed mode of life. The fact that we have become blasé about it and willingly submit to intrusive scrutiny is testimony to the extent to which terrorism has become an integral global component of our daily lives and cultural experience.

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CHAPTER FOUR: Money as a phantastic object

Halina Brunning Karnac Books ePub

Claudia Nagel

As a former banker, and by now also a trained Jungian psychoanalyst, I have found that there is a “natural” attraction to money and its meaning for the individual and society. Furthermore, I think that this attraction can also be seen and understood from a psychoanalytic standpoint. In this chapter, I shall describe the results of my ongoing reflections and will share a number of insights about the archetypal nature of money. This analysis is based primarily on the history of the origin of money and ascriptions found in mythology and fairy tales. The recent financial market crisis of 2008 has led me to take another look at the phenomenon of money. I have found it far too simplistic to blame the investment bankers and their greed solely for this rather complex psychological development within the society. One of the outcomes of the financial crisis has been that the bankers served as scapegoats for a broader societal phenomenon which could be identified as a perverse attitude or a perverse state of mind in which they were not the only actors. The logical conclusion was that money was (and is) a fetish of this perverse attitude in society. Instead of using the term “fetish”, it could also be termed a “phantastic object”. There are some differences between these two terms which will be discussed at a later stage. However, the questions remain: what makes money so special to us, and why does it tend to polarize people’s views?; why is it that we either renounce money or want more of it?; what is so fascinating about it?

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CHAPTER THREE

Halina Brunning Karnac Books ePub

“A state of being neither in the boundary of one’s own culture, nor fully a member of other, but always on the boundary”

Sitaram & Prosser, 1998

I choose to open with this quotation as it encapsulates the dilemma that women have in achieving recognition at senior levels in organizations. I want to reflect on matters that affect the inclusion or exclusion of women in senior executive roles. I would like to examine what aspirations women might have, any barriers that might limit their success and explore this in the context of institutional sexism. These issues have to be raised as part of the landscape when working with women in a coaching role. In thinking about the organizational environment I am writing this chapter not as a guide to coaching, but taking a reflective stance and asking “why”, and “what” does that mean for a coaching relationship, given the current societal pressures on women’s performance and careers.

Current issues related to seniority, promotion, and board profiles

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