What is it?
The search for identity begins the moment an infant looks into its mother's eyes and experiences her touch and scent. From that first moment of mortal connection we begin the lifetime search for self which involves forming, founding, and transitioning an identity that will ultimately lead us toward a growing sense of permanent identity or as Erik Erikson, the creator of Psychosocial Development Theory, calls it, Integrity; a sense of wholeness or completeness that one can experience towards the end of mortality.
Identity Coaching is inspired by the theories of Erik Erikson and seeks to help adults of all ages to establish (Foundational Identity) or reestablish (Transitional Identity) a sense of self that will allow them to experience healthier, more intimate relationships and live a more meaningful and generative life.
How does it work?
Each client's experience is uniquely created to meet their individual needs against the common framework experienced by all human beings; childhood, adolescence, relationships with parents, family, friends and society, aging, common societal experiences and of course the positive and negative events that inevitably occur throughout life. All these experiences and relationships help us define who we are and who we choose to be. Knowing who we are makes it possible to engage in life and relationships with greater confidence and clarity. It allows us to create our own distinct "branded" identity which can be carried forward in all aspects of life. Whether our discontent surfaces in personal or professional relationships, individual achievement or internal peace, knowing who we are will add direction, purpose and confidence to our life journey.
For identity development to be life changing however it must be brought forth for the world to see; that's where the coaching comes in. Once identity is established or reestablished then a plan is created with specific goals and milestones that reinforce the chosen identity and allow that same identity, your identity to have an impact on the world around you. In other words, you become an agent of change in your world.
The work of the identity coach in this phase of the coaching relationship is to help the client develop creative ways of expressing their newly created or recreated identity and holding them accountable to get the job done.
As this is an individualized journey, no universal timeframe can be placed on how long the process will take, however it is suggested that the client make a commitment of at least 3 months (12 individual sessions) to see progress in both creating and manifesting their chosen identity.
Why does identity matter?
I'll make my case by sharing some of my favorite quotes, by individuals of varying degrees of notoriety and credibility on the subject.
Who am I anyway?
Am I my resume?
That is a picture of a person I don't know.
What does he want from me?
What should I try to be?
So many faces all around, and here we go.
I need this job, oh God, I need this show.
A Chorus Line
Right after 'Raymond' I had a world-is-my-oyster attitude, but I found out I don't like oysters. I had this existential emptiness. 'What is my purpose? Who am I?' I had a big identity crisis.
"I have called the major crisis of adolescence the Identity Crisis; it occurs in that period of the life cycle
when each youth must forge for himself some central perspective and direction, some working unity,
out of the effective remnants of his childhood and the hopes of his anticipated adulthood; he must
detect some meaningful resemblance between what he has come to see in himself and what his
sharpened awareness tells him others judge and expect him to be."
"Mature, healthy identity must be both found and created, as well as fixed and flexible."
So, if what you've read thus far resonates with you, I invite you to reach out, so we can begin the dialogue and help you on your way to finding and creating the self you want to be.