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Yes, Coaching Can

You will face it when it's worth it to you

December 22, 2022

Christof Zellweger
7 minutes read

You know that thing in your life you keep avoiding right now? The thing that needs your attention, but you keep pushing it away?

Maybe it’s a conversation with your partner or spouse. Maybe you need to spend some time alone. Maybe you want to quit your job and travel the world.

Many of us have that ONE thing we’ve been carrying around but also feel fearful of facing it head on. 

Yes, THAT thing.

Guy Ritchie’s most underrated movie, King Arthur - Legend of the Sword, impeccably depicts the story of confronting our own shadows so that we can embody more of who we truly are. 

(Spoiler alert: Part of the plot will be revealed so if you want to watch it, I recommend you stop reading here. Also, for female readers, simply replace man with woman and king with queen, and the message will remain the same.)

How King Arthur relates to you

There is one particular scene in Guy Richie’s rendition of King Arthur which powerfully speaks to the heart of his transformation to becoming a king. 

As the story unfolds, whenever Arthur grabs Excalibur with both hands, he sees painful visions of his past and passes out, rendering the powerful weapon useless because he cannot yet wield it.

So the mage, Arthur’s guide in the story, meets him at the river after he’s had to face the Darklands alone, and challenges him to pick up the sword with both hands, which Arthur declines. So the mage says:

“Did you see everything you needed to see [in the Darklands]? Did you look away?
You want to know why you still can’t use Excalibur.
You will face it when it's worth it to you.
Don’t get me wrong, I look away. We all look away.
But that is the difference between a man and a king.

That’s so powerful! Does this resonate in terms of your own struggle right now? And if so, how do you understand it in a way that is useful and empowering?

To find out, let’s go back to your thing.

When does it become worth it?

Only you can know, and only when you become still can you hear the answer. It’s not an intellectual exercise but more of an intuitive guidance, a gut feeling.

If you haven’t faced your particular predicament yet, why do you think that is? What does your mind come up with when you challenge it with Let’s face it?

Why is it not yet worth it to you?

Is it fear? If so, what do you fear specifically? Can you become curious without resorting to self-judgment, guilt-tripping or shaming yourself?

Could it also be, that a part of you knows that by facing your fears, it will be temporarily uncomfortable, and you will have to change eventually? Change implies uncertainty and potential danger - to our mind anyways. It could also mean pure possibility.

Facing yourself will likely be the death of your old story. The old story that says you are not strong, pretty, smart, tall or good enough. Who would you be if you started telling yourself a different, a new, a more empowering and also truer story about yourself?

Stepping into your fullness might even bring up greater fears. If you do so, you will stand out, you won’t be fitting neatly into other people’s perception of “normal”, others will project their s*#t onto you and it will require you to be bigger than all of that.

It seems that there is a lot to be said against undertaking such an endeavor. It can feel daunting, even overwhelming. 

Yet also, the payoffs for honestly contending with your darker aspects are numerous and, in my experience, courage will always be rewarded.


The difference between a man and a king (or queen)

In mythology and storytelling, the mature king is not only a mere man and ruler of his kingdom, the king also stands for the "king archetype" within each of us. An archetype is an instinctual template, or pattern, that shapes the way think, feel and behave and are believed to reside in the unconscious mind of our psyche. We can make it conscious though.

The archetype of the mature king embodies leadership, vision and purpose for himself as well as his kingdom. (Rod Boothroyd’s book "Warrior, Magician, Lover, King: A Guide To The Male Archetypes" on this is phenomenal.)

Subjects in the kingdom rely on the king’s wisdom, his generative positive force, his capacity to bless and his ability to run the kingdom in the best possible way. They often project the good as well as bad traits of themselves onto their king. 

And because of that, the mature king must voluntarily “holds the wounds” of the kingdom which he can either face and confront in order to be free from them or become crippled and overwhelmed by their impact.

These wounds of the kingdom are a metaphor for our own emotional imprints that negatively affect and limit us in our ability to fully step into our greatness. They may even contain parts of our golden shadow.


Bringing it all together: the heart of your transformation

By mentioning the difference between a man and a king, the mage lets Arthur know that his inner king has not yet fully developed and that he must choose to face the dragon within. And it is the one thing he least wants to look at yet is absolutely necessary for becoming who he is meant to be. Not only does he need to face himself, but the fate of the kingdom hangs in the balance, and with it, everybody in it.

How does this relate to your current situation? Do you see any parallels, and can you relate to Arthur’s struggle?

Taking this apart a little further, what makes the honest development of our inner king (or queen) such a daring endeavor is that we are not guaranteed success. 

It is a true rite-of-passage which often involves a death-and-rebirth that frightens us the most because we must be willing to surrender completely. We must be willing to totally let go of all our personality aspects we worked so hard to develop.

We come face-to-face with our ego and are asked to transcend it in that very moment.

We must even allow for death to take us and trust that a greater force, such as God, the universe or infinite intelligence embraces us with love, and that we rise from the ashes like the phoenix, transformed and evolved into higher understanding and consciousness.

As you can imagine, this is not for the faint of heart, and it requires courage to face our own shadows. Yet, it is a necessary part of our life’s path if we want to come into our fullness and have access to more of our true potential. 

It starts by looking into the mirror, asking the right questions, and deciding to take the first step.

How a trained professional (coach, therapist, counsellor, facilitator etc.) can help

The reasons someone might decide to work with a trained professional vary from person to person. From my own experience, two important reasons include:

Bringing to the surface what is just below the conscious awareness of the client. 

It can be hard to ask the right questions and we tend to shy away from them. When we get to verbalize and explain our inner world to someone else, coupled with the techniques and methods by the skilled professional, we often gain more insights that allow us to shift our perception. With such a shift, a higher-level solution can become available that was previously not accessible.

Creating a nurturing and trusting environment where everything is allowed.

For the above to be possible, trust and rapport has to be established first so that the client can feel safe and relaxed enough to work through the challenging, and perhaps emotionally upsetting, parts. Experience shows that a mindset of allowing, accepting, and embracing whatever comes up helps tremendously. It is the job of the facilitator to provide this environment so that the client can be fully focused on his process and his inner work.


Here is a short and illustrative client story

Without being aware of it, a client I recently worked with was caught in strong victim mentality with regards to past events. This led him to hit rock bottom, where he closed himself off so much that he tried to numb any emerging emotion with whiskey on a daily basis, laying on the floor of the hotel he had stayed at for months at the time.

He felt devastated and hopeless.

In our first session, he mentioned how he felt nervous and that this was his first-ever coaching experience. So I made sure he felt comfortable and used a relaxation technique so he could fully commit without resistance or hesitation.

What he realized during the session was that he was missing the bigger picture of his story, what it was trying to show him and that he could move to a different perspective.

We used the metaphor of the hero’s journey to bring to light how his thinking and acting was that of a victim. His payoff for being the victim was feeling justified to pass blame and shame on others and his circumstances, without having to take responsibility for his own experience. This kept him in a loop of negativity and heavy emotions. 

By using a metaphor that resonated with him, I helped him bring to the surface what was already there but not yet available in a conscious manner.

If you connect with this client’s story, ask yourself what part you relate with. Then, start by being curious about what this might be trying to show you. Or get in touch with me, or another professional, to explore further.



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