A Format for Growth
(for ourselves and our ACO community)

I have a theory and premise that I stand upon, ‘first inside me, everywhere else next’. What this means to me is that I MUST be doing my internal growth work…diligently, continually, deeply. And then, I may reflect it outward, towards my family, friends, colleagues, and, ultimately, clients.

In my own personal growth work and as a coach I use significantly a relationship model called ‘The Victim Triangle’, also sometimes called ‘the victim trap’. There are many renditions (I have an extensive one of my own) of the model, and, one of the better writers is Diane Zimberoff who wrote ‘Breaking Free from the Victim Trap’. The foundation of the model is that as humans we all have within us a Victim, a Villain/Persecutor and a Martyr/Hero/Rescuer. The goal is ultimately to regain personal power and decline all these roles as they detract from personal power.

If Only I Had Been Helped…

Today I’d like to talk about the Rescuer role, one which I have previously owned completely, and have also seen a high prevalence of in coaches in general. Most of us became coaches because we wanted to help others. The story we might hold is: “if I had such help when I was a kid…” The gift in this is it gives us passion and compassion to create change in others. The curse is, if we’re not aware of it, we can carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. The main reason the Rescuer or Hero holds this position is to get love or validation (read Knight in Shining Armor, what does he get for rescuing the damsel in distress?). Again the goal of the model is to decline the roles, which means stepping into ‘Wisdom’ or ‘Truth’ or ‘Leadership’.

One example of this is an experience from a couple of weeks ago. I had a teenage client and his mother in my office. We were working on an agreement around a ‘locker system’ when Mom needed to ask a question. Her question to her son was: “Do you think this would work for you?”

Now we enter the model. Interestingly, Mom was very clean when she asked this question even though Son heard “You’re going to fail” and reacted with anger. To map it out: Son felt victimized by statement Mom made, reacted by persecuting Mom. Mom then (being drawn into the triangle) tried to explain/justify (rescue son) her intent and round and round they went, until of course, I held up the stop sign. Interestingly, I had an overbearing desire to ‘make it ok’, to (rescue) Mom because I could feel her pain and see that she was completely blindsided by her son’s reaction.

At this point they separated to cool down a bit. It was everything I could do to allow her (allow her to empower herself) to be where she was and find her way without me ‘helping’ her. You might read into this that I was abandoning Mom, which is not true. What I am talking about was staying out of my compulsion to ‘help’ which would have had me in the triangle with them and perpetuated the situation. Ultimately, because I stayed ‘clean’, they each got clear about the stories they were making up and were able to come back together.

Empowerment Underlies Personal Growth

You might ask why I share this. What am I saying about our personal power? Ultimately, I apply this same format for growth to our ACO community:

• I see our community coming together in empowerment and
• I see each of us, all of membership passionately being solutions.
• I see our community growing and thriving worldwide.
• I see the ACO prominent in the Marketplace.

It’s already happening and it will continue. So in this proposal I am making for growth is the foundation that all of us in the ACO are empowered, actually are the ACO, and have extraordinary gifts to share. As we together, both inside our community and outside of it, decline the roles of the Victim Triangle, we will create the culture shift that I believe all coaching is aimed at.

We each hold the power and responsibility for creating all our impacts, desires and outcomes. No one else, no person, no organization and no group holds this power. We do.

I will continue to empower myself, step out of my own triangles and step into continual growth relationships, Raising the Bar with all of you at our upcoming conference. Don’t miss it; amazing things are happening!

Ian King