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Volume IV, Issue II                                                                              Spring 2011 
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Leadership Coaching
Organizational Development
About Kerry

Quarterly Quote:




"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."  


-Carl Jung




Excellent session! Kerry was a very interesting speaker. Engaging, knowledgeable, communicated very well to the audience. Excellent speaker!  


-reviews from SHRM Keene, NH presentation on Coaching Your Team Through Organizational Stress



Great Link:


I was at the TEDxSIT (Brattleboro, VT) conference recently and I was moved by the singer, Victoria Vox. An upbeat catchy song perfect for spring. 3:30 min.


Click here  



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Engaging in dialogue


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Planting flowers in garden

Happy spring! Up here in Vermont, the season has burst forth into all its glorious color and vibrancy. I feel alive and itching to get my hands in the dirt.  The quality of the soil that lies beneath the surface is what allows or prevents growth, and so I invite you to delve into messy, hidden assumptions that get in the way of our own growth  Great time to dig a little!



Commitment vs Competing Commitment

A Distinction
On Change Part 2

So often it happens that we put a goal out there, direct our full energy toward it and then for some reason, in spite of our best intentions, we find we can't sustain the change. When this happens it's not that we really aren't committed (which we sometimes beat ourselves up for), but rather that we have a hidden competing commitment that we're actually more committed to, and our actions support that goal rather than the former.


Let's say I want to work out more, but I'm not doing it- I don't bring my exercise clothes to work, I forget to tell my spouse he'll need to make dinner, I don't call my girlfriend who said she'd join me at the gym. Underneath, I discover there's really a competing commitment- which when I dig deeply- I realize that I'm more committed to being home with my kids after work. So of course I don't work out more, I'm actually behaving in alignment with a deeper goal around my family. And finally, when I look at the core assumption that leads to that competing commitment I can see that I believe that I'm not a mother if we don't eat as a family together every night, or more directly, "I'm not a good enough mother."  And my competing commitment actually serves to compensate for that core assumption.  Hmmm.  


Once these competing goals and assumptions are uncovered, they can be dealt with.  Having realized that my assumptions of motherhood were holding me back, I can question those assumptions.  I might consciously decide that I can be a good mother even if I'm not at every meal; and that shift might give me the freedom to go exercise.


 So there you have it. It's a big topic, much more than this space allows for, but I hope it gives you some appreciation that often when we want to question why we're not taking actions we say we want to, sometimes the answer lies a little beneath the surface, and by exposing it to fresh sunshine, we can get some growth we seek.

Reflection Exercise
Moving from Theory to Action 


This is based on the four-column work by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey to support you in uncovering your competing commitments. Please consider the following questions:


  • What is a goal you have for yourself now?
  • What are the behaviors you're doing or not doing that are not in service of that goal?
  • What do you worry would happen if you did the opposite of those behaviors?
  • What is the hidden competing commitment those behaviors are supporting? (often around protection)
  • What is the core assumption driving that competing commitment? (it's usually the bad news stuff we think about ourselves).
  • What are ways I can loosen this core assumption's grip on me?
Book Review

Immunity To Change
How To Overcome it and Unlock the Potential in Yourself & Your Organization
Immunity to Change bookRobert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

I am a huge fan of this work and I highly recommend it if you're at all interested in this topic and learning more. The book gives lots of examples in both personal and professional situations, and demonstrates its applicability for both individuals and organizations. (Yes, organizations can have immunity to change problems). Fair warning, it does have an overarching business tone, rather than that of your average self-help book, but this is the book if you want to get your head around this distinction. I have seen many huge breakthroughs with clients using this methodology. It's worth diving into if you're feeling stuck on your goals.  

Kerry HeadshotKerry Secrest is a leadership coach for individuals and organizations who inspires the best in individual and organizational performance.  For more about Kerry, click here:

Please feel free to contact me with comments, questions or to find out how I can help you or y
our organization!

Watershed Coaching, LLC
904 Upper Dummerston Rd.
Brattleboro, VT 05301 802-254-8505