coaching practice, Coaching Research

Coping With Blame

By Prof. David Clutterbuck


Coaching and mentoring conversations frequently run into the brick wall of blame, most often in one of two common forms: self-blame (assuming responsibility for one’s own or other people’s misfortunes) or other-blame (protecting one’s own self-image and reputation by blaming others).

Both forms block the client’s ability to be authentic and to make progress.

Blame arises from an instinctive need to attribute causation to a negative event – with the underlying assumption that assigning culpability will reduce our anxiety. Frequently, this means shifting causation from ourselves to another identifiable source.

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