Thinking Triangles in Coaching

Apr 5, 2018

Years ago, when I was leaving a position I’d been in for almost ten years, I was given an interesting gift at my going away party: a triangle. You know, the musical instrument in the shape of a triangle. This simple instrument is a part of the percussion family. About 14 years later, at another job, a committee I’d worked closely with dedicated the Easter Orchestra’s percussionist chair to me, They even wrote in a part for the triangle, which was played with great enthusiasm!

If you’re wondering why the triangles keep popping up in my workplace, it’s because I talk about triangles all the time. All. The. Time. So, the triangle becomes a joking gift, but also acknowledges what the concept of an emotional triangle has taught us all about working together in a healthy way.

The concept of an emotional triangle is found in the work of Dr. Murray Bowen, founder of Bowen Family Systems Theory. In conceptualizing relationships within the context of a larger system, Bowen said that we are always engaged in the dance of togetherness andindividuation. This dance of closeness and distance is always at work as we seek to live our goals and aspirations while staying connected with others. Triangles are the basic building block of human relationships. Having a good understanding of this concept can help us become more fully who we are, as we live and work in the systems to which we belong.

For the upcoming Mindfulness Coaching Call, I’ll be discussing the concept of emotional triangles and exploring ways they might be useful to “think triangles” in our coaching relationships. We will talk about how an understanding of triangles can help us clarify our role as coaches and invite our clients to take ownership of growth and change in their own lives.

Join me for an hour of stimulating conversation on Monday, April 9th!

All best,
Meg Hess, ACC, D. Min.
Mindfulness Coaching School Faculty


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