Why in this day and age would an educated black person use the offensive term ‘coconut’, (black exterior, white interior)? Shirley Brown, African-Caribbean Lib-Dem Councillor did when she insulted her Asian Tory counterpart during a council meeting. Look where it landed her…. in court, accused of racial harassment and with a criminal record.
But shouldn’t someone of Shirley Brown’s status know better than to use a term of abuse in a public council meeting? She clearly wanted to register her political objection and her sense of betrayal but seems to have had a problem with her personal and professional boundaries and allowed the two to blur. But what else was going on?
Let me offer a coaching take on this: Could it be that despite her professional success, her ‘Gremlin’, (a term coined by Rick Carson), that undermining, fault-finding inner voice was waiting to sabotage her achievements? Of course, only Ms Brown could say whether this was so. In coaching, self sabotage is recognised as springing from the inner voice’s negative self talk, related to self-limiting beliefs, which act as obstacles to success by adversely affecting behaviour. We all have self-limiting beliefs which we can identify through the inner voice that tells us we’re not good enough or that we’ll fail. Coaches work with people to overcome self-limiting beliefs that prevent goal achievement.
Women of whatever ethnicity, seeking success need to find a way to switch off that self-destructive inner voice of self-limiting beliefs so that emotionally charged public incidents can be effectively handled. Also, as members of an oppressed group, when we succeed our behaviour attracts greater scrutiny than that of white men. This may be one of the reasons why the matter became newsworthy, ending up in court funded by public money rather than being dealt with by way of an inexpensive private apology. It puts a certain pressure on us that white men seldom face. And we know it’s down to us individually to handle such pressure. But more to the point, how can we most effectively overcome our self-limiting beliefs, silence our gremlins and avoid self sabotage when facing challenging public incidents?
Coaching with Winning Pathways Coaching can help you to overcome your self-limiting beliefs at those critical moments when it matters most. Contact Claudia here for a chat about how a coaching programme can benefit you.