What a Spaghetti Western Can Teach Us About Untangling Ourselves

Author : Sam Green

21st June 2021

17th – 23rd May was International Coaching Week, and during this weeklong celebration of all things coaching, we decided to create our own theme for the week: The good, the bad and the (subjectively) ugly in the coaching industry. As part of this we held dedicated discussion spaces for our community to explore the good, bad and ugly that we each see within the coaching profession, as well as inviting them to contribute articles on this theme for a community competition to win a free spot on an Animas CPD.

We received 9 brilliant articles and will be sharing each of them on the blog for you to enjoy, starting with the winning article by Sam Green…

"Be the twinkle in each other's eyes, be the fortune that paints the skies."

Coaching is lifting the curtain on a bright new frontier. Supporting transformational change in others empowers our organisations, and cultivates the courage necessary for individuals to move forward with clarity and confidence.

More people than ever are turning to coaching as a way to find space and time to think deeply about what’s really important to them. Often, this search begins when the realisation dawns that you’re not living your own script. That you feel like an extra in your own life.

In a coaching session, you can be whoever you want to be. Imagination can soar and new ideas are welcomed in like old friends. The present becomes illuminated by the glow of what is possible in the future. These realisations can wash over the mind like the sweet elixir of freedom.

Is it little wonder that treasure has been the goal for so many adventurers in stories over human history? It is a symbol of possibility. Whether it is winning the lottery, finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or diving deep into the ocean to surface the sunken loot.

These days ‘the treasure’ is sought in launching a business, building a family or following one’s dreams. Whether the payoff is hard or soft, external or internal, each reward multiplies the possibilities that exist in the future. Victory is the sweet cheer of amplified autonomy.

If the treasure we seek is buried deep inside us, coaching brings it to the surface so it twinkles in our eyes.

If Life were a stage...

In the film The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, three very different people are searching for hidden treasure.

Since the film was released in 1966 and has proven to be such an enduring success, I would posit that the desire to find treasure, either a physical reward or a prism of possibility, is equally long-standing in the narrative of humanity.
I invite you to step into the film as a lens to lend perspective to the real treasure that coaching can stand and deliver.

I must confess, I have written one character out of the casting before the movie has even begun. Let me share what happened at the audition.

Audition: The bad

The Bad turned up with all the answers.

In the eyes of The Bad Coach, the client knows nothing, they need to be told. The Bad Coach trawls the internet and stalks their prey, aiming to exploit weakness for financial gain. With no ethics to speak of and minimal training, they have no qualms selling themselves to everyone and everybody. Self-respect is but a distant lighthouse in the foggy malaise of narcissistic egotism.

The Bad Coach forces their own narrative. Rather than respecting the garden, they trample through the blooms with their heavy boots. Where the garden just needed some love and attention for thoughts to blossom, the Bad Coach has ploughed the fields and tried to plant some magic beans.

The Bad Coach is giving this flourishing industry a bad name and unfortunately, many stories of exploitation at the hands of such snake oil lip service have been rife throughout the wild west of the pandemic.

In an effort to mitigate this negative typecasting, institutions, organisations and teaching academies are shooting forth to equip aspiring coaches with the tools to grow into greatness.

Certification and gold-standard training providers are building a benevolent bevy of coaches that subscribe to nothing less than changing the world one conversation at a time.

Since there is no place for The Bad coaching, from here on in we shall focus on just The Good and The Ugly

change is ugly

Change is ugly. So ugly that most times we don’t want to look at it, even when it’s staring us in the face.

It’s uncertain, it’s uncomfortable, it’s messy. But change is inevitable, whether we instigate it ourselves or wait for the universe to take the reins.

Either way, at some point it’s going to get ugly. For change to take place, some parts of us have to die.

They could be those little voices that say, “You can’t do it.” They’ll be first up against the wall.

Next, it’s the things we do that we know aren’t serving us. They’ll be shot down next.

How will you take aim and fire? You might have the wanted poster (new job, clarity, better relationships) but can you follow the stars when you feel lost in the desert yourself?

What makes a good coach?

A good coach believes in the ugliness of change. A good coach knows that in order to be authentic, they have to own every part of their character, even the unsavoury outlaws that challenge reason to a duel.

A good coach knows these things because they have picked up the gauntlet of change in their own life and they live to help others do the same.

The good coach knows they are not equipped to help everyone. They understand that coaching is a collaboration and the depth necessary to collaborate fully is not possible with everyone. In the same way that we feel closer to some people than others in our circle of friends and acquaintances.
The good coach knows that the person they’re talking to is the star of the show.

The final showdown

In the climax of the film, ‘The Good, The Bad & The Ugly’, The Good and The Ugly travel to a graveyard to uncover the buried treasure.

They vanquish The Bad and start digging in a clearly-marked grave. But they realise they are digging in the wrong place. The Good reveals that the treasure is actually located in the grave marked ‘Unknown’, next to where they are digging.

Upon digging down into the unknown, the real treasure is revealed.

The Good and The Ugly reluctantly work together to uncover the treasure, but they go their separate ways at the end of the film. The Good knows they can only hold half the treasure, the other half belongs to The Ugly. The Good makes peace with The Ugly, knowing that there is a little Good in all things Ugly, and a little Ugly in all things Good.

Or, perhaps the good parts of ourselves have to outwit the ugly parts in order to take control of our lives? For all the time the ugliness of unconscious reaction calls the shots behind the scenes, we will struggle to live the life we know brings us the greatest joy and satisfaction.

Make peace with ugly, for it is just a word; the dark shade of misunderstanding before the shroud of dawn reveals the beauty of new possibilities.

The twinkle is awareness. Find the treasure within and you’ll never be without.

Sam Green

Sam Green

Transformational coach and musician

Visit Sam's Website

If you would like us to help tell your story or you would like to share your coaching niche, philosophy or agenda in the form of a blog, like this one – contact Sam to express your interest: [email protected]

Categories: International Coaching Week  

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