Julie Starr has just delivered a session on the ego and its influence on coaches. She started by asking delegates to split into pairs and each answer the question ‘Who are you?’

There then followed a discussion about the challenges of answering the question. Many found it difficult to answer or said it was dependent on other factors such as context ie we are different people at different times.

Starr drew the discussion to an end by suggesting that there is never a real you. There are always different narratives. We in effect construct who we are and this construction is our ego. Starr provided this quote from Brandon Boys to illustrate her thinking.

Your ego is a false identity that your mind constructed and then you took up residence in.

Starr said that it was important for coaches to develop self-awareness of the construct of their ego and how that might be getting in the way of their coaching practice.

For example, she said, a life coach might not see themselves as an executive coach. But why not, what stops us, she asked. Our ego limits our sense of identity, she said.

She said that ego works for and against you and it is a potentially powerful influence on your thoughts and behaviours and can limit your free choice in situations i.e. choices that are not limited by who you think you are or indeed who others think you are (and who you are not).

Ego, she said, impacts your emotional maturity, and so your ability to create the results you want over time.

She told coaches that the conversation is not about them – facilitate a conversation, create a clean space for listening, she urged.

In the final panel discussion, Catherine Sandler reflected on Starr’s session by saying that coaches need to be self-aware and that they need to be able to tune  into the moment – not judging. This is when you pick up on other less obvious signs being shown by the client, she added.